The Classical Wizard / Magus Mirabilis in Oz


Scripsit L. Frank Baum, Picturas addidit W.W. Denslow
in linguam Latinam converterunt C.J. Hinke et George Van Buren
Berkeley & London: Scolar Press, 1987

ISBN: 0-85967-723-0; Library of Congress CIP Data: PZ90.L3B38 1986;
British Library CIP Data: PS3503.A923

The Classical Wizard : Magus Mirabilis in Oz.pdf

Vocabulary: Index Verborum Selectorum

Konrad Gries, Professor Emeritus, Queen’s College, New York, USA

Reviews, announcements and previews for THE CLASSICAL WIZARD / MAGUS MIRABILIS IN OZ have appeared in “Hermes Americanus” (Bethel, Connecticut,), “The Classical Outlook, Journal of the American Classical League”, (Oxford, Ohio), “Rumor Varius” (Zurich), “Akroterion” (South Africa), “Bulletin of the Classical Association of the Pacific Northwest” (Boise, Idaho),  “The New England Classical Newsletter” (Amherst, Massachusetts), “Tessera” (United Kingdom), “Omnibus” (London), “The Los Angeles Times Book Review”, “The Baum Bugle, Journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club”, (Kinderhook, Illinois), “The California Canadian” (San Juan Capistrano), “The Westerly News” (Canada), “A Common Reader” (Pleasantville, New York), “Verbatim, The Language Quarterly”, (Old Lyme, Connecticut), and has been made a selection of The Common Reader, the Verbatim Book Club, and the Teaching Materials and Resource Center of the American Classical League.


Sunday, August 2, 1987:

The mention is in Latin, followed by its English translation:

[Behold the fable, translated into Latin, of a girl named Dorothy, her dog Toto, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Woodman and her other well-known friends, but also the Wicked Witch of the West and the Great and Terrible Oz himself.  Why all this in Latin?  Why do you ask?  Does something tell you we aren’t in Kansas anymore?]

VERBATIM, The Language Quarterly

Winter, 1988:

…Magus Mirabilis  is the child of two unlikely parents: the rise of interest in Latin education and the perennial popularity of the Wizard of Oz story, both in book and movie form…The translation is absolutely thorough, including title page, Baum’s original introduction and dedication, and the 24 chapters of the text…

…The translation itself was done with great diligence by people well versed in classical rules of composition, with a style that is true to the folksiness of Baum’s English without doing violence to Latin syntax or word selection…Detailed examination shows that the translation is generally quite sound and readable…the story comes through very faithfully, and with economy of language.  We are spared torturous circumlocutions or recastings into sonorous Ciceronian periods.  The orginal narrative is presented plainly in Hinke and Van Buren’s Latin prose…

…Altogether a solid effort on the Latin, and, indeed, a reflection of the high quality of the entire package.  The Classical Wizard  is likely to appeal to avid fans of Oz memorabilia…its mere existence may bode well for the continued vitality of lingua Latina  in America.

THE BAUM BUGLE, Journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club, Winter, 1987:

…When the translation of Winnie-the-Pooh  became a surprise best-seller in 1961, Life  magazine quoted a Minneapolis Tribune  critic’s suggestion that Alice in Wonderland  and The Wizard of Oz  were the next candidates for Latin translation.  The two parts of Alice   appeared in Latin in 1964 and 1966, but the Wizard had to wait until 1987, published by Scolar Press simultaneously in the United States and England.

Was it worth the wait?  For both the Oz collector and the student who wishes to brush up on (or learn) classical Latin with an enjoyable, familiar story to help over the difficult spots, the answer is “Yes.”…

With color on both the dust jacket and cloth cover, and with the Denslow illustrations sharply reproduced throughout in black and white, this edition parallels the first American edition page-by-page…Although the current revised edition of Winnie Ille Pu  has notes and glossary bound in as an appendix, I suggest that both Ozophiles and Latin students will appreciate that Magus Mirabilis in Oz  follows strictly the American first edition from endpapers to endpapers, with the glossary available separately from the publisher if requested.

A considerable challenge was presented in translating into another language Baum’s wonderfully effective, no-frills way of telling an absorbing story with memorable characters.  The rare reader who knows Latin intimately as well as the (hopefully) many who will use The Classical Wizard   in studying Latin will find [the] translation a delight in its treatment of both the action and the characters…

The many additional pleasures of paging through and using this unique volume can best be left for discovery by the fortunate possessor, now that Ozites finally have their own classic available in Latin.

THE CLASSICAL OUTLOOK, Journal of the American Classical League, March-April 1988:

…It is good fun, re-reading the Wizard of Oz , especially in Latin.  This is a pretty book, well printed and reproducing illustrations from the original edition in English; it may well become a collector’s item for Oz buffs.  In general, the translation is faithful and idiomatic, but also quite literal and this involves some oddities…, occasional inventions…, and the use of rare words which you may not find in an abridged Latin dictionary.  But a separate glossary is available from the publishers.

There are some ingenious solutions to the problems of vocabulary…[and] minor failures…

I commend the translators on a big task nicely completed: Dorothy gets home, and–for some reason–the Tin Woodman never returns to his girl friend, even in Latin.  This will make delightful auxiliary reading for pupils already nostalgic about their childhood…

Dr. Douglas G. Greene, Director, The International Wizard of Oz Club, 1986:

…Baum was the most important American writer of books for children, and THE WIZARD OF OZ is not only the greatest but the most popular children’s book of the 20th century; it has sold more than ten million copies.  The continuing success of the MGM movie starring Judy Garland testif[ies] to the appeal of this enduring fairy tale…I can think of no better way to learn Latin than from reading a familiar work like THE WIZARD.

Dr. Sheila Egoff, Professor Emeritus, School of Librarianship, University of British Columbia, Canada, 1986:

…It is not only an important book in American children’s literature, but its popularity around the world can be attested to by the numerous translations into foreign languages.  It seems appropriate, therefore, to have it available in such a basic language as Latin.  I also suggest that it would give great pleasure to the new wave of students studying Latin–not only a change from Caesar’s GALLIC WARS or Vergil’s AENEID, but an indication that Latin is not dead.

Dr. Bernice L. Fox, Professor Emerita, Department of Classical Languages, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois, 1987:

…Although I was a personal friend of Dr. Alexander Lenard, I must admit that this is a much more readable book than his WINNIE ILLE PU.  The Latin is so much simpler to manage…providing the beautiful experience of reading a book like this in such comfortable Latin…I sincerely feel that [the] book is the best Latin translation of a “classic” story that I have ever seen.

AKROTERION, Quarterly for the Classics in South Africa

December 1986:

…American Latin, and I know other like it.  The grammar and syntax are accurate; the diction is fluent and sensitive; but the sentence structure and word order are those of the original…that is, Mid-Western.  This American flavor, combined with an occasional touch of Apuleian panache-cum-alliteration, gives the translation genuine charm and genuine sparkle.

2 Responses to “The Classical Wizard / Magus Mirabilis in Oz”

  1. Mary S Tiene Says:

    Carl Hincke was a student of my Husband’s, Guy J Tiene, at Nutley High School, Nutley NJ. Carl did send his translation into Latin of the Wizard of Oz, unfortunately my husband was not well and could not cope, I wanted to send a letter to Carl explaining this, I do not know whether Guy did, I apologise if he did not.
    If anyone knows Carl Hincke, please tell him Guy’s wife Mary remembers, I had Latin for seven years in England…and was fascinated by the translation. Guy had Winnie the Pooh in Latin, I gave it to my son John.
    Mary S Tiene

  2. Latin Chapter Books – Latin Storytime Says:

    […] The Wonderful Wizard of Oz […]

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