Über den Epigraph zur Satire I von Durs Grünbein (Juv. 3, 235–236)

As an epigraph to his Satires Durs Grünbein suggests the above-mentioned Juvenal’s lines in his own German translation. He translates morbus as Übel, not as more appropriate Krankheit, and what is worse, Juvenal’s statement that pain (disease, evil or whatsoever) comes from the lack of money (inde caput morbi) happens to be of no significance for the German author. Still, in his comment to the epigraph he insists on the opposite, though not giving any reason for it hereafter or in his other texts. As Übel Grünbein translates morbus in two more works i.e. in the essay “Sleepless in Rome” (2001) and, quite logically, in his translation of the third satire (2010). Whereas for Juvenal the sources of sleeplessness are definitely external (health problems caused by the discomfort of life in the big city), in Grünbein’s description these factors become rather metaphysical. Man is bereft of sleep because of his eternal fight against some demon called properly insomnia “which is more obsessive than any tweedledum” and “makes of a city-dweller the chronic invalid”. That should be the meaning of Übel. Grünbein comments that the key motive of his Satire is die Schlaflosigkeit, insomnia, as well as durchwachte Nacht, vigilia which is lacking in Latin, though Juvenal uses vigilare once in gerund form. Vigilia comes from emotional disorder for which every city-dweller is inevitably destined, even if he is not affected by the harmful impecuniousness like Juvelnal’s hero.

 Rubtsov. Über den Epigraph zur Satire I von D. Grünbein (Juv. 3, 235–236)