[ Andrew Alexander, Professor of Greek in the University of St Andrews. ] Autograph Letter Signed ('Andw. Alexander') to Major R. G. Macgregor

Andrew Alexander (c.1787-1859), Professor of Greek in the University of St Andrews, Fife, Scotland [ Major Robert Guthrie Macgregor (1805-1869) ]
Publication details: 
St Andrews [ Fife, Scotland ]. 15 December 1855.
SKU: 20400

4pp., 12mo. Bifolium. In fair condition, aged and worn. A good long letter, full of content, thanking him for a presentation copy of his 'Translations from the Greek Anthology' (published without date in London by Nissen and Parker). He has perused most of Macgregor's translations 'with great pleasure, & several with a sentiment which the word pleasure too coldly expresses'. He has not 'examined them critically, comparing them minutely with the Greek text, in order to satisfy myself, whether the meaning of the Authors was faithfully rendered. I have thought it better, & more consonant with your professed design, to look at your translations from your own point of view, and judge whether you have clothed the spirit of the original in the dress, which the Authors themselves had they written not in Greek but in English, would probably have employed.' An interesting discussion of the difficulties of translating from Greek ('the most flexible of all languages') into English ('its structure singularly devoid of flexion') follows. He praises some of the work of the Greek and Roman poets as 'literary gems, polished to a finished perfection, & with a chaste beauty of setting which leaves nothing to be desired'. On the final page of the letter he has, as he explains, 'jotted down a few words phrases, & lines, which, by a careful elaboration, you may perhaps amend', although he considers that 'all in all your translation seems to me to be in general remarkably well, & sometimes felicitously rendered'.