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War Music: An Account of Books 1-4 and 16-19 of Homer's Iliad Paperback – October 12, 2003


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War Music: An Account of Books 1-4 and 16-19 of Homer's Iliad + Cold Calls: Volume 1: War Music Continued (Vol 1) + All Day Permanent Red: The First Battle Scenes of Homer's Iliad Rewritten
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (October 12, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226491900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226491905
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

George Steiner, praising Christopher Logue's brilliant reconstruction of Homer's work, writes that this book has the "mystery of a creative echo," that it is a "translation of genius." Some combination of a translation, an adaptation, and a new poem inspired from an old wellspring, War Music is violent, beautiful, hypnotic, and terrifying. This is Homer for the era of Stephen King and Quentin Tarentino. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

In his brilliant rendering of eight books of Homer's Iliad, Logue here retells some of the most evocative episodes of the war classic, including the death of Patroclus and Achilles's fateful return to battle, that sealed the doom of Troy. Compulsively readable, Logue's poetry flies off the page, and his compelling descriptions of the horrors of war have a surreal, dreamlike quality that has been compared to the films of Kurosawa. Retaining the great poem's story line but rewriting every incident, Logue brings the Trojan War to life for modern audiences.

Customer Reviews

What stands out is the utter beauty of Mr. Logue's language.
Bruce Crouchet (bcrouchet@bos.co.la.ca.us)
He's gotten into the ring with the likes of Fagles, Lattimore, Fitzgerald, Pope, and most courageously, Homer himself - and acquitted himself well.
Richard Wells
In creating his own account of Homer's Iliad, Logue has in fact succeeded in creating very much his own poem.
M. Heintz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Wilbourg on December 27, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a flat-out triumph. Logue fills his take on Homer with dazzling imagery and stunning word-music. The Iliad falls right into our laps because Logue has given it a mighty shove. Only Professor Fagles' recent translation of the poem betters it and that is because Dr. Fagles has actually rendered the WHOLE poem in crisp, biting English that for the first time actually walks Homer up to our faces. In Fagles we can smell the breath of the blind poet, Logue brings us to the sweaty armpits.
As a styling, however, "War Music" has no peer and if Dr. Fagles has a slight edge it is because he has, after all, wrestled with the Greek text and got us into Homer's world all the way. Logue brings into the world but chooses to give us a whirlwind tour while Fagles allows us to slum awhile.
Still as much as I adore Dr. Fagles now celebrated translation, I am haunted. Logue's great re-imagining has left me shaken. The worship scenes are boffo and the Pax chapter that ends this fine "War Music" contains some of the sharpest, most moving, most eloquent, most rugged, and most manly, epic English verse since Marlowe's majestic "Tamburlaine" made kings into footstools.
And finally, there is this: As a work of English poetry, leaving Homer on the rocks for just a moment, "War Music" stands as one of the great collections of modern verse in the 20th Century.
"War Music" turns staid old men like me into groupies.
Bravo!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Richard Wells on October 17, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Christopher Logue has a lot of guts. He's gotten into the ring with the likes of Fagles, Lattimore, Fitzgerald, Pope, and most courageously, Homer himself - and acquitted himself well. Mr. Logue has pulled "The Iliad," into the 21st Century with less a translation than a re-write. It appears there are numerous volumes containing sections of Mr. Logue's work, and it's a little hard to keep track, but two editions offered on Amazon.com's website, "War Music," and the wondrously titled, "All Day Permanent Red," seem to contain it all.
Mr. Logue writes in a robust verse form that retains the epic language while exploring possibilities for a cinematic look on scenes and situations, as well as opening the field to modern metaphor. Unlike Barry Unsworth's interpolations in "The Songs of the Kings," Mr. Logue's don't jar, but rather deepen. A sample line, "Ajax, grim underneath his tan as Rommel after `Alamein..." lifts the story from some mythical past to something that is played out continually. A great device considering "The Iliad" is arguably the blue-print for every war story ever written.
When "War Music," opens outside the actual text of "The Iliad," and introduces us to Achilles - angry, petulant, bent on revenge, summoning his mother and laying grief for Agamemnon - Mr. Logue provides character depth missing from the original, and immediately lays out his plan to re-write and enrich rather than re-tell. His plan unfolds magnificently through both books.
I think "War Music" would work for readers with no pre-knowledge of the source, and I know it worked beautifully for me, and I've been through at least three previous translations.
Five Stars!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Crouchet (bcrouchet@bos.co.la.ca.us) on September 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
What stands out is the utter beauty of Mr. Logue's language. He creates images that resonate within the reader long after the book has been put down. Far from being an empty exercise in post-modern hipness, "War Music" is a new classic that manages to bring Homer to life again for the contemporary reader. It can proudly take its place on the bookshelf right next to the Fitzgerald or Fagles translation of Homer's "Iliad." Indeed, my only regret is that Mr. Logue has not seen fit to reinterpret the remainder of the "Iliad" for those of us who fell in love with his fierce, but lovely "War Music." Hint-hint.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joe Kenney on July 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
I've only recently become aware of Christopher Logue's retelling of Homer's Iliad. Logue's been working on his translation for decades, though. This volume collects all of his Iliad material from 1962 to 1995, which is a measly three books. Chronologically, these books are "The Kings," which is the first book in this collection. Published in 1991, it covers the first two books of the Iliad. Next up is "The Husbands," from 1994, which covers books three and four. Finally there is "War Music" itself, originally published in 1980, and comprised of books 16 through 19. This includes "Patroclea," written in 1962, "GBH" (a British legal term meaning "Grievous Bodily Harm"), apparently written in 1980, and "Pax," written in 1967.
As you can see, Logue takes his time releasing books. This collection came out in 1997, and since then he has published only one further volume, "All Day Permanent Red," which came out in February 2003 and covers books 5 and 6; the first battle scenes in the Iliad. Being that Logue was born in 1926, I'm really hoping he'll live to re-write the remaining books of the story. But judging from his past rate of output, I'm afraid it's not very likely.
The problem with Logue's Homer is that there's no turning back. After reading this, even in its unfinished state, all other translations of the Iliad pale in comparison. I even read the Penguin book "Homer in English," which features samples from the majority of English translations of Homer, and Logue's struck me as better than any of them. The reason he excels over others is that Logue jettisons all parts of the Iliad that are not cinematic, that are not moving, and that are repetitious.
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