There are 3 thoughts on ““In This Batter’d Caravanserai””.

  1. I will admit I never thought I’d be interested in ancient Islamic poetry. Although as DCP questioned, is it really ancient Islamic or less-ancient English? I need to go read it all again, when I have had more sleep. Anyway, on my mission in Brazil in the late 1980s, I was amazed at how well the translation of the English language into Portuguese carried the original meaning, but at the same time, still rhymed. I thought clear back then that the translator ought to be credited along with the author because I think it takes at least as much talent to convey the same meaning, while still making it rhyme. So kudos to FitzGerald, whether or not we call his translation “good.” (That was a funny story about those two professors who had a different take and expressed it on the same day.) Likewise, I (no artist) have thought for years that an expert art forger may not have the creativity of the original artist, but must have even more technical skill. The original artist might not be able to put onto canvas the exact image in his head; but we wouldn’t know the difference—we can’t see what he meant to put on canvas. So, any mistakes are undetectable. Whereas the forger must be able to exactly replicate the original. And in a related vein I think it takes far more skill to draw pretty scenery than to produce “abstract” art, and I’d rather have the scenery on my wall anyway. The same with music. I guess some of John Cage’s “compositions” were “creative” in a sense, but they don’t require much talent.
    Ps As a biologist I enjoyed the references to Darwin, and to Watson/Crick/Franklin and Wilkins.

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