Or where I try not to bore you to death with something I could talk on, and on, and on, for a very long time.
The guiding reason is that many authors, many books, are more than stories lines, but it is the language, the way they are written, what carries on their value, and that language and book in its original conception it's what makes our children grow, love, understand, and make the classic their own.
Then we have authors that write in a language different to our mother tongue (or tongues). If we are, say, in the States, and our children are learning and studying with English as their language, Homer and Cervantes, to mention some titans, are books our children will not be able to read in the originals, and it is not that important they read even in a translation. Other authors take priority when it comes to grow through the means of language. But those two authors well deserve some attention, if in the form of abridgments and/or translations.
If we lived in Spain, for example, my goal for my girls will be to read Don Quixote in the original, but, like with Shakespeare, I will start with quality abridgments, even cartoons, some comics too, why not? I will want us all to immerse ourselves into this book in varied forms (as opposed to boring them to death, or killing them with over exposure in the manner many of us had to suffer in schools), and work our way up to the original.
I think that, because Homer and Cervantes, being the classics they are, did not write in English, Miss Mason thought it was important to nonetheless know and experience The Iliad, The Odyssey, and Don Quixote, and that is why she had her students read a quality abridged version, and that was enough (if you wanted to stop there, that is, :)).
Don Quixote is a very long book (about 1,000 pages), for us, Ambleside Online users, it is a proposed free read four our seventh graders. An abridgment is all we need, unless we develop a special devotion for this book, and our children or ourselves, desire to read it in its entirety. Then we should look at what the different translations have to offer us.
For Homer, there are multiple options for abridgments, and translations, of course, LOL.
These are some of the abridgments:
Rosemary Sutcliff, Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of 'The Iliad, and The Wanderings of Odysseus: The Story of The Odyssey. -I don't own her titles, but they have wonderful reviews.-
The Children's Homer, published by Padraic Colum and written by Willy Pogany, (orange book in the top picture)
The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, retold for children by Picard, (not Captain Picard, I know you!, Barbara Picard) -this is the one used by Charlotte Mason-, (yellow thick book to the left of The Children's Homer)
Any of these are wonderful first approaches and reference books to Homer's work.
And then we have translations.
Do you see the size of that book by Picard? I got thinking that maybe a translation is as fine an attempt as some abridgments, lol, which makes me think if it will not be best just to read a translation. And knowing that a translation will never be the original, (or so they say some, that it is never quite The.Experience), there is much to be said about what is that we then get when we read a classic translated? -since some claim it is NOT the book, or not the book in its fullness, richness, beauty... Is there any value on reading translations? Are all translations created equal? If not? how to choose which one?
Any classic is meant to have so many translations, editions, -sometimes even the author wrote a book and edited a substantially changed second version-, that it can be paralyzing, or crazy, or FUN!
I will write about all this in another post soon.