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The Iliad Kindle Edition

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Length: 710 pages

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek

About the Author

Alexander Pope (21 May 1688 – 30 May 1744) was an 18th-century English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer's Iliad (ISBN 9781480048348) and Odyssey (ISBN 9781490516424). Famous for his use of the heroic couplet, he is the third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson.

Pope had been fascinated by Homer since childhood. In 1713, he announced his plans to publish a translation of the Iliad. The work would be available by subscription, with one volume appearing every year over the course of six years. Pope was 25 years old. He secured a revolutionary deal with the publisher Bernard Lintot, which brought him two hundred guineas (£210) a volume, equivalent to about £26,000 as of 2012, a vast sum at the time.

Encouraged by the success of the Iliad, Pope translated the Odyssey. The translation appeared in 1726, but this time, confronted with the arduousness of the task, he enlisted the help of William Broome and Elijah Fenton. Pope attempted to conceal the extent of the collaboration (he himself translated only twelve books, Broome eight and Fenton four), but the secret leaked out. It did some damage to Pope's reputation for a time, but not to his profits.

By the mid-18th century new fashions in poetry emerged. A decade after Pope's death, Joseph Warton claimed that Pope's style of poetry was not the most excellent form of the art. The Romantic movement that rose to prominence in early 19th-century England was more ambivalent towards his work. Though Lord Byron identified Pope as one of his chief influences (believing his scathing satire of contemporary English literature English Bards and Scotch Reviewers to be a continuance of Pope's tradition), William Wordsworth found Pope's style fundamentally too decadent a representation of the human condition.

In the 20th century Pope's reputation was revived. Pope's work was found to be full of references to the people and places of his time, and these aided people's understanding of the past. The postwar period stressed the power of Pope's poetry, recognising that Pope's immersion in Christian and Biblical culture lent depth to his poetry. Maynard Mack thought highly of Pope's poetry, arguing that Pope's moral vision demanded as much respect as his technical excellence. In the years 1953–1967 the production of the definitive Twickenham edition of Pope's poems was published in ten volumes.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1004 KB
  • Print Length: 710 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1444469096
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: May 12, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0082TAAMO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,370 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Homer was probably born around 725BC on the Coast of Asia Minor, now the coast of Turkey, but then really a part of Greece. Homer was the first Greek writer whose work survives.

He was one of a long line of bards, or poets, who worked in the oral tradition. Homer and other bards of the time could recite, or chant, long epic poems.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A professor at Cambridge University summed it up quite nicely. He notes, "You could not memorize Fagles, or Lattimore - or Hobbes, a few phrases apart - while Pope, even at his least Homeric, is memorable." Compare the following VERY BRIEF excerpts to see what I mean. Iliad xxii (483ff.)
Robert Fagles:
The day that orphans a youngster cuts him off from friends. And he hangs his head low, humiliated in every way. . . his cheeks streaked with tears.
Alexander Pope:
The Day, that to the Shades the Father sends,
Robs the sad Orphan of his Father's Friends:
He, wretched Outcast of Mankind! appears
For ever sad, for ever bath'd in Tears;
Pope clearly conveys the emotion better, and as a poet rather than an academic, he is probably closer to Homer's original, at least in style, than most. It is only too bad that this edition is not available in hardcover, since I would like it to grace my library wall for years to come. Also, I do not know how Penguin can justify such an exhorbitant price for a paperback edition. Perhaps because it is the only edition currently available by Pope.
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Format: Paperback
The two classic verse (English) translations of Homer's Iliad & Odyssey are by George Chapman (1611) and Alexander Pope (1725). A classic prose translation of both works is the one by Lang, Leaf, and Myers (Iliad), and Butcher, Lang (Odyssey). A good, literal prose translation from the 1890's of the Odyssey is the George Herbert Palmer. Good literal, modern prose translations of both works are the ones by A. T. Murray. The better prose and verse translations of the latter half of the 20th century (E. V. Rieu, Fagles, Lattimore, Fitzgerald, Lombardo, Mandelbaum, etc.) are all, though they obviously have different approaches, pretty much at the same level of inspiration. To get most of Homer in English you have to first learn the poems from ANY translation that speaks to you (even starting with a paraphrased prose version for 'children' is a good idea), then you have to read the Chapman and Pope along with a good, literal prose version. This Penquin Classics edition of Pope's translation of the Iliad includes all of Pope's notes for each book as-well-as his Preface, Essays on the nature of Homer's battle scenes and on the Shield of Achilles, and the three remarkable indexes (Index of Persons and Things, Poetical Index, and Index of Arts and Sciences). The notes contain, along with Pope's original notes, numerous extracts from ancient and modern commentators of the poem including the allegorizing of the various scenes and events and so on. Pope's verse itself makes Homer a startling new experience for anyone only familiar with 20th century translations. Because the verse is in heroic, rhymed couplets each detail of the poem stands more clearly on its own. Details that get blended in and painted over in modern translations stand out in Pope's verse.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I have been reading two translations of Homer's Iliad over the past several weeks: Robert Fagles' 1990 translation and Alexander Pope's 1743 translation. I have read the two translations in tandem, one "book" at a time. I first read Mr Fagle's translation, then the notes of Mr Pope, and finally his translation.
I would call this one of the finest reading experiences of my life.
I read both translations out-loud, or at least in a whisper.
This winter-time reading experience has been, for me, a labor of love, a stimulating intellectual experience, a study in contrasts, and a return to the sources of Western Literature.
I find Homer as fascinating as Alexander Pope claims him to be. Although his long narrative describes only a few days of the ten years war between Greece and Troy, he makes it interesting by his variety of metaphors, his close description of characters, and his attention to detail. Every man who dies is a person, with family, friends, history, and personality. Some are likeable, others are not; but in any case there are no ciphers in Homer's war.
I am fascinated too by the developing theological issues of this six century BCE civilization. We might have to worship these meddlesome gods and their All-powerful Zeus, but do we always have to respect them? They seem to be all too human. In fact, the gods themselves seem to be trapped in an eternally frustrating struggle. Zeus is condemned to defend his sovereignty against a panoply of gods who must always resent his authority. Meanwhile, he is lonely, and he cannot stop himself from occasionally confiding in "that bitch" his sister and wife, Hera. She reminds me of a woman in a recent movie who said "Sometimes being a bitch is the only way a woman can save her self-respect.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pope's Iliad was published to great fanfare and is a tour de force today. I cannot read Greek, but the translation, almost directly line by line, matches well with the translations of Fagles, Lattimore and Fitzgerald. Pope writes in his accustomed heroic couplets with a clarity and skill really matchless. Despite his ability to vary the rhythm of his lines, most readers will find the iambic pentameter couplets a bit stultifying over time. For poetic power, for lines that recapitulate something of the Iliad's themes of war and death, of hacking meaning out of life, for drama and speeches, I prefer Fitzgerald.
That said, Pope's Iliad (I don't know how he does this while remaining faithful to Homer) communicates Pope's own opinion's on government and human relations developed as they were by 18th century England. He is an ardent monarchist, fears disorder and mob rule more than tyranny, has a gentle, almost finicky distaste for the rough and tumble of any sort of tumult. Pope's versifying is remarkable, his style and opinions will strike modern readers as old fashioned, even anachronistic, but this remains an interesting translation of Homer plus a revelation of Pope himself and a political snapshot of post-restoration England.
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