With growing impatience I have been translating into English an article by a well-known Greek literary critic whom I shall not name for fear of being drummed out of such Greek literary circles as I’ve managed to get into. (Oops! ‘Into which I have managed to get.’) It seems to me that most Greek lit. crit. is full of bullshit. I wrote to the person I think is the best English translator of Greek literature and was relieved to find he agrees.
So I tried to work out what it is I so much object to; ‘Full of bullshit’ will hardly do as a considered literary opinion. (Well, I don’t know though…) I think it’s that personally I try in everything I write to use the simple short everyday word rather than the complicated long learned one, whereas far too many Greek writers, at least of criticism, seem to operate on the opposite principle. This results in a teetering pile of dictionaries cluttering my desk, and the feeling — justified, I do believe — ‘This guy is just a smart-arse trying, and failing, to impress me with his cleverness.’
Anyway, here’s a picture of a Greek writer who is by no means a smart-arse: