Tales of Diyonsus: An Evening of Reading and Translation with Stanley Lombardo, William Levitan, et al.

About the Event

Tales of Dionysus is the first English verse translation of one of the most extraordinary poems of the Greek literary tradition: the Dionysiaca of Nonnus of Panopolis. This title brings together forty-two translators from a wide range of backgrounds, with different experiences and different potential relationships to the text of Nonnus’ poem. All work in their own styles and with their own individual approaches to the poem, to translation, and to poetic form. This variety turns Tales of Dionysus into a showcase of the multiple possibilities open to classical translation in the contemporary world. Now, the authors are bringing their varied perspectives on this classic epic poem to a live audience. November 17, 7 p.m., at the Raven, 7 of the translators who worked on Tales of Dionysus will read from and discuss their approaches to the text, with time for an audience Q&A at the end. Presenters include Stanley Lombardo, William Levitan, Joseph Harrington, John Gronbeck-Tedesco, Catherine Anderson, Jonathan Mayhew, and Cyrus Console-Şoican.

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About the Book

Tales of Dionysus is the first English verse translation of one of the most extraordinary poems of the Greek literary tradition, the Dionysiaca of Nonnus of Panopolis. By any standard, the Dionysiaca is a formidable work. It is by far the longest poem surviving from the classical world, a massive mythological epic stretching to over 20,000 lines, written in the tradition of Homer, using Homer’s verse, Homer’s language, his narrative turns and motifs, and invoking his ancient Muses. But it is also the last ancient epic to follow a Homeric model, composed so late in fact that it stands as close in time to the Renaissance as it does to archaic Greece. Like its titular hero, Dionysus, with his fluidity of forms, names, and divine incarnations, the poem itself is continually shifting shape. Out of its formal epic frame spills a tumult of ancient literary types: tragedy, elegy, didactic, panegyric, pastoral idyll, and the novel are all parts of this gigantic enterprise, each genre coming to the fore one after the other.

Tales of Dionysus brings together forty-two translators from a wide range of backgrounds, with different experiences and different potential relationships to the text of Nonnus’ poem. All work in their own styles and with their own individual approaches to the poem, to translation, and to poetic form. This variety turns Tales of Dionysus into a showcase of the multiple possibilities open to classical translation in the contemporary world.


About the Speakers

Catherine Anderson’s recent memoir is My Brother Speaks in Dreams: Of Family, Beauty & Belonging. She has published four full-length collections of poetry including Everyone I Love Immortal (Woodley Press), Woman with a Gambling Mania (MayapplePress), The Work of Hands (Perugia Press), and In the Mother Tongue (Alice JamesBooks). She works in Kansas City with the region’s refugee interpreters and translators.

Cyrus Console-Şoican is Professor of Creative Writing at the Kansas City Art Institute. Learn more about his work here.

John Gronbeck-Tedesco is Professor Emeritus of Theatre at The University of Kansas. Learn more about his work here.

Joseph Harrington is Professor of English at the University of Kansas. Learn more about his work here.

William Levitan is Professor of Classics Emeritus at Grand Valley State University.

Stanley Lombardo is Professor Emeritus of Classics at The University of Kansas.

Jonathan Mayhew is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Kansas. Learn more about his work here.

Event date: 
Thursday, November 17, 2022 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
809 Massachusetts Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Tales of Dionysus: The Dionysiaca of Nonnus of Panopolis By William Levitan, Stanley Lombardo Cover Image
$39.95
ISBN: 9780472038961
Availability: This book is in stock at our warehouse and will be at the Raven within 3-5 Business Days, once they've shipped it to us.
Published: University of Michigan Press - August 15th, 2022

Tales of Dionysus is the first English verse translation of one of the most extraordinary poems of the Greek literary tradition, the Dionysiaca of Nonnus of Panopolis. By any standard, the Dionysiaca is a formidable work.