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He knows the sources of knowledge

Reussbühl near Lucerne, eighth floor, balcony: Kurt Steinmann pulls with the Arm in a wide arc over the countryside. At the very back you can see into the Entlebuch, among us, before the next high-rise bars, a lot of Green. On the slope to the left to graze cows, and at the other end of the apartment, from the work rooms, the view to the cemetery. "Memento mori," says the classicist.

The cycle of nature and the inevitable death: the two sources of Inspiration for the soon to be 74-Year-old. Not inappropriate for the most recent book from his workshop in the late ancient novel, "Daphnis and Chloe", which is just published by Manesse.

For the love of discovery novel, it's about 160 pages, that's why, Daphnis, a 15-year-old Goatherd, and Chloe, a 13-year-old shepherdess, in love, but don't quite know what to do with their feelings and especially what to start your body. Kissing and Hugging, clearly, that is not the True. On the island of Lesvos was at that time no Instagram-tips, but for Daphnis, a dear teacher and otherwise, the Dealings of Almighty God Eros, the adds finally together, what belongs together.

Eight years of "Ilias"

It's a delightful book, full of simplicity and innocence is, bluntly and without any prudishness. Goethe recommended to read it once every year. In him the love of those forms of expression that will shape all of the upcoming literature , up to a Hollywood film. Because love is not only a natural Instinct, he doesn't find his cultural framework, the ritualized soon: The Lovers are pale, eat and sleep. We love today, as the ancient Greeks have invented.

For Kurt Steinmann of the small novel was the pure recovery after eight years of "the Iliad". Homer's epic, the battle of Troia, which he had translated before, was not only because of the introduction to word accuracy, rhythm, and verse mass is a Herculean task. It is also the brittle epic compared to the "Odyssey", with its fantastic adventures. Presented by Steinmann in 2007, many considered the most successful version of the work.

"translation is a pleasure, not Drudgery," says Steinmann.

For the two Grossepen, but ultimately for the whole of his Translations from the Greek and the Latin, which also includes the dramas of Aeschylus and Euripides, receives Steinmann is now at 25. May in Zurich, the Johann-Heinrich-Voss-prize of the German Academy for language and poetry, to a certain extent, the Büchner prize for Translators.

Voss, a contemporary of Goethe, has produced the first viable Homer Translations. Winners Steinmann appreciates the performance of the predecessor high, conceals, however, the weaknesses and the need for him to go out. From the head he quotes a Hexameter of Voss – the sounds wonderful, but it is "word-for-word is wrong". Of course, the modern Translator has the advantages of scientific and editorial progress. You have to make use of but also. Does Steinmann: "translation is a pleasure, not Drudgery."

Parallels to the present day

He raved about the luck, to have direct access to the sources from which our culture feeds: "Without sources have no knowledge of the rivers." The knowledge does not help, to put that into perspective, to take some of the current excitement too seriously. So going to now always used the adjective "apocalyptic". Steinmann has translated the Apocalypse of John, this horror vision of the New Testament by the end of the world. "The pictures are, great. And striking: As the poisoning of the waters will be announced, with the plastic garbage in the oceans has become a reality."

Since you already answered the crucial question of the classics: Where is the Benefit for our presence? Steinmann is not embarrassed to answer. He is called the "Persians," the oldest extant Greek Drama. It represents the Triumph of the Greeks over the invaders, but without the victory pose, all in the awareness that it can be used also Vice versa, would be that everyone is prone to hubris, for Arrogance.

Or the "Antigone": the Urkonflikt between law and Conscience. Or, in the "Iliad", the figure of the ugly, the despised Thersites: for Steinmann, the first embodiment of the courage of his convictions. This unsightly soldier dares to set the whole campaign in question: The leaders are corrupt and only on enrichment.

Convey he wants to, and enthusiasm for his authors.

Thersites he is Kühnert suddenly Kevin, the German Juso: "a Verfemter of our days". Na – something you can overdo it with the Parallels! Quite sure anyway, Steinmann is no world stranger bookworm. The of the guard a view over the wide muzzle of the contrary. Wants to convey, he and enthusiasm for his authors. You revive.

Lucerne was Steinmann, for many years, Greek and Latin teacher, before he devoted himself entirely to the translation. A special teacher was also aroused his enthusiasm. The Director of the prog ymnasiums in Willisau only had three Greek students. "The teaching was monstrous, he demanded much too much", but he put it with a gluten, which is also mediokre teacher in high school and professors at the University are not cleared.

manic readers

Breaks away from this Tradition, this passing on of the fire, the enthusiasm, now? Steinmann regrets that there are in the Canton of Lucerne is no Greek classes that the Latin lessons. But the year is a long time to Learn dead languages still useful, to be neglected only then by an original text?

books have conquered all of the five rooms of the apartment.

Steinmann is not a Doctrinaire. He knows even a little Better. "My school of the future," continues he, "consisted of a course "world literature in Translations", four hours a week, from Sophocles to Philip Roth, with Ibsen and Dostoyevsky, Don Quixote and Manzoni, Molière, and Shakespeare." Because Molière and Shakespeare, he adds, will not be read on the school in the Original. From ancient times, the springs, the rivers, the great European, North and South American masters he values not lower.

Ever Steinmann is a manic reader, the books have conquered all of the five rooms of his apartment witnesses. They are in the shelves, lie on tables and couches, on the floor. Even the guest bed is covered. Just a half-table for the Interview. Translators to connect for Jerome, iconographic with a Hermitage. Kurt stone's books to spread the Kingdom, but in the airy heights, and his view is two thousand years in the past, and many miles in the Distance.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 12.05.2019, 18:11 PM

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