The image of the world´s most famous wizard is about to take a step toward the classics.
“Harry Potter and the Philosopher´s Stone,” the first book in the Harry Potter series, is to be published in Latin and ancient Greek, reports the Telegraph newspaper of London.
J.K. Rowling and her publishers hope that the translations will help children overcome the common dread of studying the two ancient languages.
For the Latin edition, Bloomsbury, the publisher, has hired Peter Needham, who taught Latin and Greek at Eton College for more than 30 years.
The classics master had not read the best-selling books before. Now retired, he has been chipping away at his task at the rate of a page a day and expects to finish well before his deadline in August. Publication will be in 2003.
The Greek edition is also due to be published then but Bloomsbury said it was having difficulty finding a translator.
Emma Matthewson, Rowling´s editor at Bloomsbury, admitted: “We aren´t under any illusions that Latin and Greek will be best sellers but we think that it will mean much more fun lessons for anyone studying Latin and Greek.”
Needham, the translator, said: “I´m calling Harry Harrius Potter. Arrius is a Latin name — there´s an Arrius in a Catullus poem — and it declines perfectly well so that, for example, we have Harrium Potterum. The literal translation of Potter would be Figulus but I very much hope that Potter will survive.”