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Greek Lyric Poetry: The Poems and Fragments of the Greek Iambic, Elegiac, and Melic Poets (excluding Pindar and Bacchylides) down to 450 BC (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

M. L. West
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

11 Sep 2008 Oxford World's Classics
The Greek lyric, elegiac, and iambic poets of the two centuries from 650 to 450 BC - Archilochus and Alcman, Sappho and Mimnermus, Anacreon, Simonides, and the rest - produced some of the finest poetry of antiquity, perfect in form, spontaneous in expression, reflecting all the joys and anxieties of their personal lives and of the societies in which they lived.

This new poetic translation by a leading expert captures the nuances of meaning and the whole spirit of this poetry as never before. It is not merely a selection but covers all the surviving poems and intelligible fragments, apart from the works of Pindar and Bacchylides, and includes a number of pieces not previously translated. The Introduction gives a brief account of the poets, and explanatory Notes on the texts will be found at the end.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Greek Lyric Poetry: The Poems and Fragments of the Greek Iambic, Elegiac, and Melic Poets (excluding Pindar and Bacchylides) down to 450 BC (Oxford World's Classics) + Theogony and Works and Days (Oxford World's Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (11 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019954039X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199540396
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.9 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"West shows...ingenuity and resourcefulness at bringing across the complex linguistic, generic and social nuances of the originals....West's book should be the translation of choice for students and general readers, whatever their motive for reading this poetry may be, and even experienced scholars will want to see what West has made of the difficult and controversial passages they encounter in their own study of Greek....By all means acquire this beautifully produced volume."--International Journal of the Classical Tradition "Clear, modern translation free of the defects of both literalism and unnecessary paraphrase. A very useful book for a survey of Greek lit course."--Douglas Domingo Foraste, California State University at Long Beach "A representative and entrancing collection faithfully rendered with musical elegance and, when the occasion demands, frankly lucid."--E.N. Genovese, San Diego State University "Finally an affordable replacement for Lattimore! This selection is enormous, the notes are generous in scope. I will adopt this next time I do Greek lit."--D.W. Tandy, University of Tennessee "While translation always pays a price, this one can boast a language vigorous and frank, and above all, readable."--Donald L. Jennermann, Religious Studies Review

About the Author

Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, M. L. West is formerly Professor of Greek at the Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, London. His many books include

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for academic purposes 28 April 2013
Format:Paperback
Poetry, as Robert Frost said, is what gets lost in translation. Of no poetry is this truer than ancient Greek poetry, and Greek lyric poetry is especially difficult to bring across. But most people nowadays who read ancient Greek poetry in translation do so in connection with college classes in such fields as Classics in Translation, Western Culture, or Women's or Gay studies. This book is clearly aimed at this student market. As such, it's about as good as such as book can be. Put together by a distinguished classicist, it features a clear, jargon-free introduction concisely giving an overview of the nature of Greek lyric in its social and historical context, serviceable verse translations in contemporary diction, sticking closely to a literal reading of the originals, and brief notes explaining some of the more obscure allusions. Included are translations of virtually all extant ancient Greek lyric, including many fragments (fragmentary because they are either quotations from lyrics by later Greek authors or verses found on scraps of papyrus.) The main fault of the book is the frankly ugly typographic layout, which ill serves the poetry and is surprisingly and disappointingly amateurish-looking for a press as respectable as Oxford. All in all, I'd recommend this book strongly for college classroom use or for the general reader who wants to gain some exposure to this sort of poetry. What the book won't give you is any feeling for what it's like to actually experience Greek lyric, or any explanation of how delightful that experience is: there's no other way to get that than to learn Greek. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Greek Lyric Poetry 27 Feb 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent book, a comprehensive collection of fragments, some big some small, of poetry from the classical age in Ancient Greece . My only criticism is that I found the valuable notes at the end very difficult to relate to the poems.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tired, Dry and Stiff, but complete... 10 Nov 2008
By Ryan Kouroukis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It's always a toss up when it comes to translations of Greek lyric. either you get an edition that is beautifully wrought but incomplete OR dry and complete!

Well, that's what you get here! It is as concise and complete as you need it for studying but as art to love and enjoy...the translations by West are tired, monotonous and stiff...I almost like Lattimore's stiff translations of Greek lyric more!

The print is also un-aesthetic and poems are so close next to each other (in order to fit them all), that it strains your eyes to read them.

A useful text for people in school but not for those to be truly inspired by...though I wish I could say the opposite.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Greek Poetry 31 Oct 2000
By ed jenkinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
M.L. West is one of the finest classicists today dealing with Greek poetry. He knows this subject better than most and you can tell with the selection of poets he chooses to elucidate. The years he covers are not the only years Greek poetry was written, but the poets are among the most famous: Sappho, Alcaeus, Archilocos (my favorite) and many more. I believe this book will give you enough overlay of Greek Lyric poetry that you wouldn't have to read another one. Perfect for the average reader, or the classicist who wishes to experiment in what they are reading.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for academic purposes 28 Nov 2012
By Jon Corelis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Poetry, as Robert Frost said, is what gets lost in translation. Of no poetry is this truer than ancient Greek poetry, and Greek lyric poetry is especially difficult to bring across. But most people nowadays who read ancient Greek poetry in translation do so in connection with college classes in such fields as Classics in Translation, Western Culture, or Women's or Gay studies. This book is clearly aimed at this student market. As such, it's about as good as such as book can be. Put together by a distinguished classicist, it features a clear, jargon-free introduction concisely giving an overview of the nature of Greek lyric in its social and historical context, serviceable verse translations in contemporary diction, sticking closely to a literal reading of the originals, and brief notes explaining some of the more obscure allusions. Included are translations of virtually all extant ancient Greek lyric, including many fragments (fragmentary because they are either quotations from lyrics by later Greek authors or verses found on scraps of papyrus.) The main fault of the book is the frankly ugly typographic layout, which ill serves the poetry and is surprisingly and disappointingly amateurish-looking for a press as respectable as Oxford. All in all, I'd recommend this book strongly for college classroom use or for the general reader who wants to gain some exposure to this sort of poetry. What the book won't give you is any feeling for what it's like to actually experience Greek lyric, or any explanation of how delightful that experience is: there's no other way to get that than to learn Greek. If you want more creative poetic translations which might give you glimpses of various facets of Greek lyric poetry's genius, though always at the expense of straying rather far from the literal meaning of the text, you could try supplementing this book with something like The Oxford Book of Classical Verse in Translation (Oxford Books of Verse), which includes a number of English versions of Greek lyric, often by great poets.
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