Magazine article The Spectator

The First Winner of the Spectator Classics Prize

Magazine article The Spectator

The First Winner of the Spectator Classics Prize

Article excerpt

P. and B. Johnson were your favourite choices of author to translate, with P. Wyatt pressing them hard. The verse offerings were of a uniformly superb standard and one of them wins this time. Of the prose offerings, Jessop C., Kaye E. and King G. were all excellent, and Lyons S. the best of the lot, reading so smoothly and with such graceful Latinitas that consulting the original was quite unnecessary.

The winner is Shaw-Smith R. with a piece of Ovidian brilliance translated from Petronella Wyatt's column of 17 April; he beat Leach C. (Virgilian ditto) by a whisker:

Here is the original:

I speak from experience, alas. A good many years ago I met a charming, handsome young man who kept on asking me out. After roughly six dinners nothing had happened. At first I suspected he was just terribly well brought up or cripplingly shy. But after a few months and a couple of meals under the seductive Italian skies, I began to think something else. That I totally and completely lacked sex appeal.

Then hope resprung when he suggested we go on holiday to a place that might be described as 'exotic'. We arrived at the hotel, where the manager naturally assumed that we were somewhat friendly. He was surprised, therefore, when he discovered that two rooms had been booked, albeit next to each other. …

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