Winner in the nomination Classical Foreign Literature in Ukrainian Translation

On September 17, the 27th Lviv BookForum announced the winners of the Best Book Award 2020 online.

The book “The First Poetesses: Code of Ancient Greek Women’s Poetry” produced by the Astrolabe Publishing won the nomination Classical Foreign Literature in Ukrainian Translation — “for the harmonious combination of sublime poetry with high publishing culture.”

Indeed, these are the pinnacles of poetry from which all European written lyric as such originates. But although the canon of ancient Greek poets was first outlined at the late 1st century B. C., the Ukrainian reader still had only a few translations of these literary treasures. And only last year, at the late 2019, this pattern anthology was published by our publishing house within the framework of the project “Classic and Modern European Literature in Ukraine” (with the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Commission). Although in fact it is a complete corpus of all known works of all known ancient Greek poetesses, and there are 18 of them, from Sappho (7–6th centuries B. C.) to Eudocia Augusta (5th century A. D.). The texts were translated and edited by the prominent translator, poet and philologist Taras Luchuk, and in fact it is such a great work that borders on a feat. For Taras Luchuk’s merits include not only his masterful, artistic translation, but also the impeccable scientific apparatus, detailed commentaries, bibliography, indexes of works and fragments, names and titles, as well as his fundamental and systematic preface.

The book also deserves the thesis mentioned in the nomination concerning its design: it is really a phenomenon of high publishing culture. The illustrator Olha Shynhur designed the edition in the style of red-figure vase painting, the imaginary portraits of all eighteen poetesses are made in two colours — black and orange-terracotta. And the designer of the publication, Halyna Hinailo, managed to inextricably integrate the aesthetics of the edition into its ideological content. Holding the book, flipping through it, it is as if you are holding a precious ancient Greek cylix offered by one of those sweet-voiced priestesses-poetesses, admiring its beauty and at the same time being drunk with its contents.

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