Skip to comments.'Green Eggs and Ham' Put Into Latin
Posted on 09/25/2003 4:03:59 PM PDT by nickcarraway
NEW YORK - "Green Eggs and Ham" is an easy read. After all, the late Theodore Geisel, belovedly known as Dr. Seuss, wrote it after his editor challenged him to do a book in just 50 words.
But have you tried to read it in Latin?
Retitled "Virent Ova! Viret Perna!!" the Seuss classic has been rendered into Latin by Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers Inc. of Wauconda, Ill. The target audience is "people who took Latin in school and have fond remembrance of it, teachers and students who take Latin and, of course, Seuss fans," Kelly Hughes, a spokeswoman for the publisher, said Wednesday.
Two Seuss books that were translated earlier, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "The Cat in the Hat," have sold a combined 60,000 copies in Latin.
Translators Terence and Jennifer Tunberg, husband and wife professors in the Department of Classical Languages at the University of Kentucky, did not aim for a literal interpretation of the tale, in which the character named Sam-I-Am tries to get a friend to try green eggs and ham in a box, with a fox, in the rain, on a train, etc.
Instead, they went for a Seusslike rhythm of the eight-syllable lines.
In English, you get, "I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am."
In Latin, you get, "
Sum 'Pincerna' nominatus, Famulari ... nunc paratus!"
Sharon Kazmierski, a teacher of Latin and columnist for "The Classical Outlook," the journal of the American Classical League, reviewed "Virent Ova!"
"Instead of literally translating the classic, Jennifer and Terence Tunberg have written this book in the same style that Theodore Geisel might have if he were fluent in neo-Latin. This book doesn't just look like a Seuss book. It sounds like a Seuss book," Kazmierski said.
"Virent Ova! Viret Perna!!" is accompanied by Dr. Seuss' original whimsical drawings. A glossary of Latin-to-English vocabulary and a note on "How to Read These Verses" appear at the back of the book.
Whichever recipe one chooses, of course, the result is the same.
Sam's once-defiant sidekick concludes:
"Mihi placent, O Pincerna!
"Virent ova! Viret perna!
"Dapem posthac non arcebo.
"Gratum tibi me praebebo."
In other words:
"I do so like green eggs and ham.
"Thank you, thank you Sam-I-Am!"
Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit....
I remember that well. Must have been 12-15 years ago.
He read that straight-faced with perfect comedic timing and never cracked a smile or came out of character. It was brilliant.
I've always admired him for being able to laugh at himself like he did that night.
That was the same show where he "serenaded" Jean Kirkpatrick.
Sadly, Jesse ain't making anyone laugh anymore.
We gave one to a friend of ours who spent time at a hard-core Catholic school.
He never DID say "Thank you", now that I recall......LOL!
Was that the same episode where Jesse kept going up to the control booth, and before he could get there they'd scramble to replace all the white people with black people?
I'd like to find a copy of Tom Lehrer's Latin translation of The Wizard of Oz.
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