- Publisher: D. Appelton and Company (1899)
- ASIN: B000NWS7JQ
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (779 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,513,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Iliad of Homer Hardcover – 1899
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
I guess I have a bit of a problem with Fagles' translation. When I read Homer, I want to read Homer, not Robert Fagles re-writing Homer. This version reminds me of the comment made to Alexander Pope after he published his version of "The Iliad" - "a pretty poem, Mr. Pope, but you must not call it Homer".
This translation is kind of a modern play on the Fitzgerald - something of an "artistic" version rendered into a kind of de rigeur semi-elliptical poetry-speak, relying on a reconfiguration of lines and sentences, replacement of Homer's own phrases, etc. If that's your bag, by all means get this.
But for me, the best translation out there is that which translates Homer as faithfully as possible consistent with comprehensible English. Fagles' cavalier handling of the source text eliminates this as the "best" translation for me.
Both the Loeb and Lattimore versions are very faithful, but I think some readers may find them fairly difficult, and then stop reading the book altogether, which would be a great shame since The Iliad is well worth reading even in the worst translation.
My two cents is that the translation out there which does the best job of combining fidelity to the original with readability is the Jones/Rieu put out by Penguin. It doesn't have the packaging of the Fagles nor the great essay by Bernard Knox in the front, but I think it does the best job at maintaining transparency, really letting Homer shine through. (But if you have the stomach for the Loeb, you could go hardcore and try that, too. But don't try this unless you're familiar with the entire story first...).Read more ›
What I will say is this. I SAW Book I of Lombardo's translation enacted on the stage in New York about a year and a half ago. If EVER one needed a reminder that the first auditors of this tale were listeners and not readers and that the Iliad was composed first and foremost FOR listeners, actually seeing Book I brought to life was it. It was magnificent. I had read Lombardo in preparation for the play. I LOVED it -- the immediacy of it, the currency, the urgency, the sheer page turning pace into which he rendered the Iliad. But actually seeing it? It is something I shall never forget. The audience was actually laughing outloud at certain points -- and we forget, don't we, that there is much humour in the Iliad? That laughter brought a sense of community. And it was actually possible, closing your eyes, to imagine yourself transported back in time, listening to a retelling of the Iliad -- so very, very long ago.
Traditionalists will no doubt have MAJOR problems with Lombardo. I consider myself to be reasonably traditional, but I fairly EMBRACED this translation. But I can imagine many will, like my father, run with horror from lines like:
"Now get this straight. I swear a formal oath:
.......Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The best book by Homer! I love the Iliad and getting to read it again in as an adult is very fascinating. It is super interesting to pick up on allusions and subliminal messages. Read morePublished 14 hours ago by Sarah
Review for the Kindle edition only: Those hoping to acquire a Kindle edition of the Fagles translation or the Lombardo translation by ordering the 99 cent Kindle paired with this... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Kindle Customer
This book is very interesting at times but there is a lot of irrelevant information that come before the meat of the issues actually come about.Published 6 days ago
Set during the Trojan War, tension brews between Achilles and Agamemnon on the Greek side. Agamemnon steals Achilles’ war prize, Briseis, and Achilles then refuses to fight. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Ami | luvtoread
Ummmm.... could we get anymore classic that the Iliad written by Homer??? The epic about Achilles and the siege on Troy.Published 11 days ago by Jennifer Cosgrove
I liked this product because it was in good condition and was delivered exactly as it was describedPublished 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
Homer was a bore, and he did not know how to pace stories. This epic seems to go on forever, and it's littered with horrible similes that take up entire paragraphs and function as... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Dr. Limfoma Mbweebwee