Lost in Translation
by Rosel George Brown

Review by
Robert Wilfred Franson
Fantasy & Science Fiction, May 1959

collected in —
A Handful of Time (1963)

October 2006

The time for Classics

"Lost in Translation" is a cute and funny short story by Rosel George Brown, an arch-humored Classicist herself. Her heroine, Mercedes, is inveigled into a brief time-machine trip back to the Greece of Aristophanes' plays and the courtesan Aspasia.

Mercedes had particularly preserved her chastity, as her adenoids, out of intellectual conviction. The difference was that she had had an opportunity to be rid of her adenoids. ...

When other girls were out experimenting with hasheesh, and swimming naked in mixed groups, Mercedes reclined neurasthenically on her violet plush sofa, reading the Bifurcate Review. In her adenoidal way, she was a Humanist, a Classicist, and a Graecophile (in translation, of course). As a further refinement, she read only Victorian translations from the Greek, a matter of keeping in step with the avant-garde neo-Victorian revival.

Brown weaves her own learning deftly into her plot. If you enjoy thinking about the influence of the earthy as well as intellectual Greek legacy in Victorian times — or upon neo-Victorian sensibilities — the small but delightful "Lost in Translation" is well worth seeking out.

The proposal by the time machine's co-inventor is not at first well-received by Mercedes:

"You like Greeks?" he asked innocently.

"Ancient Greeks, you ninny," she shouted and, like someone (probably Prometheus) suddenly released, she threw the paperweight. It missed him and demolished an innocent shepherdess.


© 2006 Robert Wilfred Franson

Antiquity at Troynovant
ancient times;
Classical world & worldview:
base and noble people, events, ideas

Time at Troynovant
temporal philosophy and travel


Troynovant, or Renewing Troy:    New | Contents
  recurrent inspiration    200 Recent Updates

emergent layers of
untimely Reviews
& prismatic Essays


Books by Author:  A-B   C-F   G-L   M-R   S-Z
   Books by Title:  A-B   C-F   G-L   M-R   S-Z
Pamphlets by Title   Stories by Author   Stories by Title

Strata | Regions | Personae

Share this item —

Bookmark & Share

© 2001-2023 Franson Publications