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The Iliad (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 29 Apr 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (29 April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140275363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140275360
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 4.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 437,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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"

About the Author

Homer (8th century BC), Greek epic poet to whom are attributed both the Iliad and the Odyssey. Robert Fagles was awarded the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Art and Letters. Bernard Knox is a renowned classicist.

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First Sentence
"Iliad" is a word that means "a poem about Ilium" (i.e., Troy), and Homer's great epic poem has been known as "The Iliad" ever since the Greek historian Herodotus so referred to it in the fifth century B.C. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wells Glueck on 29 Jun. 2002
Format: Paperback
Robert Fagles's translation of Homer's Iliad is spiritually if not literally true to the original. Both versions repeat set speeches and descriptions in precisely the same words, and the translation exhibits a fairly regular rhythmic beat. But Homer's Greek was chanted, and the set passages were like refrains in which listeners could, if they chose, join in as a chorus. In English, the repetitions sometimes become tedious, especially when the same speech is given three times in two pages, as in the relay of Zeus's orders in Book II. Especially noteworthy is Bernard Knox's long and fascinating Introduction, a masterpiece of literary criticism and scholarship which conveys Homer's grim attitude toward war, the interplay of divine and human will, and the ancient concepts of honor, courage, and virility in the face of the stark finality of death. Knox also includes a succinct explanation of the quantitative, rather than accentual, basis of Greek (and Latin) verse. For easy readability, Fagles's translation is without rival. For elegance and poetry, however, I recommend Richmond Lattimore's older but still gripping and fluent translation.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Jun. 1998
Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this translation of the classic Homeric epic. I have read many fine translations of this work, but Robert Fagles' translation is by far the best I've seen. Fagles manages to bring the story to life while still maintaining a sense of the poetic beauty of the original. Far from being a dusty and archaic rendition, this translation is instead very much "alive", and truly captures the excitement and beauty of this classic tale. I discovered many new insights that I had missed in my earlier readings of Homer's Illiad, and Robert Fagles' translation makes it clear why this is such a long-standing literary classic.
Also, the "introduction" by the well-respected classicist, Bernard Knox, is a great source of additional,up-to-date information about both the Illiad and the Homeric period of Ancient Greece.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By bernie VINE VOICE on 23 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover
With many books, translations are negligible, with two obvious exceptions, one is the Bible, and surprisingly the other is The Iliad. Each translation can give a different insight and feel to the story. Everyone will have a favorite. I have several.

For example:

"Rage--Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles,
Murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many souls,
great fighters' souls. But made their bodies carrion,
feasts for dogs and birds,
and the will of Zeus was moving towards its end.
Begin, Muse, when the two first broke and clashed,
Agamemnon lord of men and brilliant Achilles."
-Translated by Robert Fagles

"Sing, O Goddess, the anger of Achilles, son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a heroes did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures for so were the counsels of Zeus fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles first fell out with one another."
-Translated by Samuel Butler

"Rage:
Sing, Goddess, Achilles' rage,
Black and murderous, that cost the Greeks
Incalculable pain pitched countless souls
Of heroes into Hades' dark,
And let their bodies rot as feasts
For dogs and birds, as Zeus' will was done.
Begin with the clash between Agamemnon--
The Greek Warlord--and godlike Achilles.
Read more ›
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wells Glueck on 26 Jun. 2002
Format: Paperback
Robert Fagles's translation of Homer's Iliad is spiritually if not literally true to the original. Both versions repeat set speeches and descriptions in precisely the same words, and the translation exhibits a fairly regular rhythmic beat. But Homer's Greek was chanted, and the set passages were like refrains in which listeners could, if they chose, join in as a chorus. In English, the repetitions sometimes become tedious, especially when the same speech is given three times in two pages, as in the relay of Zeus's orders in Book II. Especially noteworthy is Bernard Knox's long and fascinating Introduction, a masterpiece of literary criticism which conveys Homer's grim attitude toward war, the interplay of divine and human will, and the ancient concepts of honor, courage, and virility in the face of the stark finality of death. Knox also includes a succinct explanation of the quantitative, rather than accentual, basis of Greek (and Latin) verse. For easy readability, Fagles's translation is without rival. For elegance and poetry, however, I recommend Richmond Lattimore's older but still gripping and fluent translation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What can one say about Robert Fagles scholarly translation of one of the world’s most famous poems? The story of Achilles heated dispute with Agamemnon together with its tragic consequences all set against the background of the Trojan War is a story known, at least in outline, to most of us. The particular arrangement of words in in early Greek epic poetry, the dactylic hexameter, determined by the kind and number of metrical units in a line cannot however be retained in translation, even though it is necessary to obtain a complete understanding of Homer’s work. Fagles has attempted to retain some flavour of it, while still giving an accurate translation of the text. Those of us unprepared to learn the language in which this poem was written, should read, I think, several eminent translations, among which Fagles’ would feature, in order to get the best impression of the original work.
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