Academic journal article Seventeenth-Century News

Ubi Fera Sunt

Academic journal article Seventeenth-Century News

Ubi Fera Sunt

Article excerpt

Ubi fera sunt. By Maurice Sendak. Translated by Richard Lafleur. Mundelein, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc., 2016. Unpaginated. $24. By definition, Neo-Latin continues up to the present moment, which has spawned a cottage industry of sorts that in a sort of reverse translation process, renders works originally written in a vernacular language into Latin. One thinks, for example, of Cattus Petasatus, Quomodo invidiosulus nomine Grinchus Christi natalem abrogavit, Winnie ille Pu, Alicia in terra mirabili, and of course Harrius Potter et philosophi lapis. Now we have Ubi fera sunt.

Where the Wild Things Are was first published in 1963. The text and illustrations are by Maurice Sendak (1928-2012), who was generally recognized at his death as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, children's book artist of the twentieth century. He went on to write and illustrate many more books afterward, but Where the Wild Things Are is the work on which his reputation rests: it has sold over twenty million copies to date, won the 1964 Randolph Caldecott Medal for "the most distinguished American picture book for children," and in 2015, a half century later, was ranked first in Time magazine's list of the "100 Best Children's Books of All Time." Two film versions exist (the 1973 one with music and narration by Peter Schckele and the 2009 one directed by Spike Jonze), as do translations into French, German, Spanish, Hebrew, and even Finnish.

Ostensibly this is a story about a boy who gets angry at his mother because he got sent to bed without his dinner, but this catastrophe leads to an imaginary voyage and a menagerie of fanged monsters, here presented in the remastered images that were prepared for the fiftieth anniversary edition. …

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