English translation of The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville.
Library Assistant Wendy Lewis, along with three associates, has translated, with introductions and notes, The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville. Now available from Cambridge University Press, the work represents the first complete English translation of the Latin Etymologies. Compiled by Isidore in the 7th century, this early encyclopedia gives a fascinating glimpse into the range of learning at the time. It covers a wide variety of topics, from parts of speech to parts of the body, from angels and demons to pots and pans.
The translation had its start in an informal Latin reading group at UCI organized and led by Professor Emeritus Stephen Barney of the English Department. In 1996, Lewis and Barney, along with other members of the reading group, began work on a first draft. “The translation presented a number of challenges,” said Lewis. “Perhaps the most difficult was resisting the temptation to ‘correct’ Isidore when he distorts or seems to misunderstand the earlier authors he is drawing on. It was also a challenge in places to avoid referring to modern concepts that would have been unknown to Isidore.” Lewis has a Ph.D in Linguistics from Harvard University.