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The Iliad Paperback – June 28, 1989


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Paperback, June 28, 1989
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reissue edition (June 28, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385059418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385059411
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (530 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,178,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Fitzgerald has solved virtually every problem that has plagued translators of Homer. The narrative runs, the dialogue speaks, the military action is clear, and the repetitive epithets become useful text rather than exotic relics.” –Atlantic Monthly

“Fitzgerald’s swift rhythms, bright images, and superb English make Homer live as never before…This is for every reader in our time and possibly for all time.”–Library Journal

“[Fitzgerald’s Odyssey and Iliad] open up once more the unique greatness of Homer’s art at the level above the formula; yet at the same time they do not neglect the brilliant texture of Homeric verse at the level of the line and the phrase.” –The Yale Review

“What an age can read in Homer, what its translators can manage to say in his presence, is one gauge of its morale, one index to its system of exultations and reticences. The supple, the iridescent, the ironic, these modes are among our strengths, and among Mr. Fitzgerald’s.” –National Review

With an Introduction by Gregory Nagy


From the Hardcover edition.

Language Notes

Text: English, Greek (translation)

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

The character development in the story really helps you get attached and the action scenes keep you on the edge of your seat.
T Swift-Footed
For high schoolers, though, I would recommend reading one of the other translators first, as the first time one reads Homer, it should be for the story.
oh_pete
I have read several versions of the Iliad (both poetic and prose) and this version translated by Robert Fagles is the best I've read.
T. Lundregan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

334 of 363 people found the following review helpful By Esquire on June 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
I won't try to give yet another summary of the Iliad's plot nor give my insignificant opinion on the importance of Homer to Western Culture. More important is to discuss this translation and the translation of Homer in general.
When it comes to classic works of poetry in translation, such as those of Homer, Vergil, Dante and others, the translation makes all the difference. The type of translation, whether in rhyming verse, blank verse, prose etc., whether it is a strict line by line or more liberal translation, whether the wording and idioms are old fashioned or modern, can play such a great role that one translation may be completely different than another. This fact is probably often overlooked and attributes to the neglect of these classics, since a bad or difficult translation makes the poem seem tedious or dull.
Since Chapman's first translation of Homer into English in 1611 there have been dozens of others. Chapman's translation remains a classic, though its heavy and elaborate rhyming Elizabethan style and old wording make it quite laborious to read today. The next great translation was that of the renowned Enlightenment poet Alexander Pope; his Iliad was published progressively between 1715 and 1720. Pope's translation is in rhyming verse with his heroic couplet and is eminently poetic. It is considered the greatest translation of Homer into English (Dr. Johnson called it "the noblest version of poetry which the world has ever seen") but it is not as plain and straightforward as Homer apparently is in the original. It is mostly for this reason that Pope's translation has been critized as being more the work of the poet Pope than the poet Homer.
Of the more recent verse translations a few are worth recommendation.
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109 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Gerald L. Trett on June 10, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am a retired high school and college instructor who taught the Iliad many times at both levels. The Rouse version was always my translation of choice, and it was enormously successful. The complaints (or halfhearted commendations here) miss the point. Most seem to think that Rouse's "plain English" version is a diminution of the original. All translations are! Rouse merely eliminated many epithets and repetitions (necessary in the meter of the poem and unnecessary in prose). But Rouse is extremely accurate within his chosen limits and the result is a brilliant achievement: a fast-moving text (as is the original) that is colloquial where appropriate, noble sithout being stuffy when nobility is called for; the result is an always ongoing, rapidly moving narrative told in vivid, sinewy prose that simply hurtles you along. It does not attempt to give the more complex reading experience that Fitzgerald and Lattimore and Fagles achieve in their superb verse translations; but these are best reserved for second . . .or 17th readings, once the complex story and relations between characters are mastered. And indeed, none of the more famous verse translations (Pope's is to be avoided: it's a beautiful Augustan poem, not Homer)--none come close to Rouse's focused and frightening rendering of Achilles' on the battlefield, once he goes into action. In short, Rouse is in spirit thoroughly "Homeric"--by turns racy and funny, savage, noble, ultimately tragic as, e.g., the dreadful Victorian versions of Butler and Lang, Leaf, & Myers are not and should be avoided). Even with the small point-size in which the text was set, Rouse's Homer is not just a bargain: it's a treasure bought at a small price.
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97 of 103 people found the following review helpful By CranstonShenir on June 14, 2007
Format: Audio CD
The Iliad was meant to be heard rather than read. It's a cliche, but it's true. So an audio version of the Iliad can be a great thing; rather than just a secondary version of a published book, it can be in some ways a purer representation of the original work. This recording is an (abridged) reading by Derek Jacobi of Robert Fagles's best-selling 1990 translation. I'll deal with three different aspects of this product separately: the translation, the performance, and the abridgement.

THE TRANSLATION (5 stars):

Judging a translation is a hard thing to do, and a lot of it comes down to personal aesthetic preference. Remember, all translations are paraphrase, and each can capture different facets of an original but none can capture all of it. This is particularly true of poetry, where much of the artistic content of the original is not only in the meaning of the words, but the sound, shape, and rhythm of the words themselves in the original language. What many translations of the Iliad lose, regardless of their literal accuracy, is the feel of Homer's verse - its directness, the concreteness of its language, and above all the headlong momentum of the whole thing. Homer's hexameter verse is propulsive, pulling the hearer (note: not the reader) forward with an unstoppable 15,000-line drumbeat that leaves you breathless. (Well, it leaves me breathless, anyway -- your mileage may vary.) Fagles captures this feeling magnificently in direct, confident, robust English. True, Fagles is not always literally accurate in the translation of specific words or epithets, but he expertly recreates the vigor of the piece. Richmond Lattimore's excellent translation (
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