Later this month, in a publishing event unlikely to be marked by midnight release parties or round-the-block lines of adoring fans, a new Harry Potter book is due out from Bloomsbury--in Ancient Greek ("Hareios Poter Kai he tou Philosophou Lithos").
Why did they do it? "Well, the Latin translation was such a success," a Bloomsbury spokesperson deadpanned, that they thought they'd give Greek a try as well. That's right. There's a Latin version already ("Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis"). In fact, over the past few years, Harry Potter books (especially the first) have been quietly translated into scores of languages, some of them obvious and sensible, some of them, like the Welsh version, downright odd.
For his part, Andrew Wilson, the retired British secondary-school teacher who translated "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (as the first Harry Potter book is titled outside the U.S.) into the language of Plato for Bloomsbury, wouldn't be surprised if J.K. Rowling, the author of the best-selling series, was behind the decision to translate it into Ancient Greek, a language so dead that modern Greeks are fond of saying of it, "It's Greek to us!"
Ms. Rowling, according to Mr. Wilson, "was so thrilled with the way that kids who had never read anything before read Harry Potter" that she hopes Master Potter's exploits will have the same effect on dead or dying languages that its promoters claim they have had on reading in general.
Read the entire article on the Wall Street Opinion Journal website.