Propertius, Elegies

LCL 18: viii-ix

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an apt word or phrase when the alternative was to settle for something inferior; and on several occasions I have taken over renderings given by Camps and other commentators. But the basis of the translation was a complete version of my own made directly from the Latin.

In an endeavour to eliminate not merely slips and oversights but also aberrations of my own to which I was blind, I submitted parts of my work at various stages to a number of scholars for criticism and discussed sundry problems with others. If I have not accepted all their suggestions (Propertians, alas, do not yet speak with a single voice), I gladly thank them for freeing me from much damaging error and for effecting much improvement. I hope they will excuse me if I do not name them all. I must, however, thank by name Professor Otto Skutsch, who to my vast profit worked through the first draft of this book, and Professors Barrie Hall, John Morgan, Charles Murgia, Michael Reeve, and James Willis for significant assistance.

But my greatest debt is to Dr. Stephen Heyworth, editor of the forthcoming Oxford Classical Text of Propertius. In the hope that each of our editions would gain thereby we met in Oxford for long discussions in the summers of 1988 and 1989, and in correspondence have shared our views without reservation. He has unselfishly allowed me to make use of his dissertation and unpublished papers, and has studied drafts of my work. If his positive contributions are—as I trust—properly acknowledged, I must also record that he has in many places persuaded me out of deeply held convictions, apprised me of palmary conjectures of others that I had missed, and tightened the accuracy of the translation; on the fundamental question of


book division and the nature of Book Two, I follow him as a guide.

The genesis of this edition, which goes back to my undergraduate days, has been sketched in my 1987 article. In it, as in a later article (1989), I comment on the failure of scholars to admit and retract their mistakes publicly; I feel certain that it was a reluctance to do so which was chiefly responsible for Housman’s abandoning his Propertian aspirations. Let me not embark on self-criticism here, but simply emphasize that the judgements expressed in this edition supersede any contrary views which I may have published earlier.


Yale UniversityJune 1990