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The Iliad (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Homer , Bernard Knox , Robert Fagles
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

29 April 1999 Penguin Classics
One of the greatest epics in Western literature, THE ILIAD recounts the story of the Trojan wars. This timeless poem still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods battling amidst devastation and destruction, as it moves to its tragic conclusion. In his introduction, Bernard Knox observes that although the violence of the Iliad is grim and relentless, it co-exists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace.


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: 21.1 x 13.7 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 330,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A readable Iliad in modern idiom 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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A readable Iliad in modern idiom 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but maybe not the best 29 Aug 2012
By Mr. Christopher Harris VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
The work itself is perhaps the greatest poem ever written and if you don't know the story then you need to read it. This isn't in my opinion the best translation, that accolade goes to Lattimore in my opinion, but this is a perfectly good translation too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had not read the Iliad before and I was astonished and delighted at how vivid and action-packed it was. This translation brings it to life almost like a modern thriller. Not being a scholar of Ancient Greek I cannot tell whether this comes from the original text or it has been imposed by the translator.

The Kindle edition is shockingly full of misprints. If it had been a free download I might have been tolerant, but it wasn't. There are careless mis-spellings of words, including some hilarious ones such as 'tum' instead of 'turn'. The punctuation is bizarre: in particular, quotation marks are regularly printed the wrong way up. All of this is a disappointing distraction from the excellence of the translation.

Five stars for the text, only one star for the editing.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ground is dark with blood 23 Oct 2007
By bernie TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Hundreds of mistakes - do not buy
The print edition is superb - the Kindle edition is replete with errors (hundreds of typos, formatting errors, no line numbers). Read more
Published 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
As good as it gets. If you want to read Homer, this is definitely the version to go for. What an achievement by mr. Fagles! Pick up his translation of the Oddyssey as well.
Published 3 months ago by Mr Dust
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent translation
5 stars due to the pace and energy of the translation! I've read other versions, and this is the most powerful.
Published 8 months ago by Mark Ashton Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Great translation
This great translation made the Iliad very readable and enjoyable, despite the gory battle details. I would recommend this version of the Iliad; the description of the funeral... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Pippin
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic
I've been wanting to read this for quite a while. this is a great translation if this is your first reading of the story, its written largely in modern idiom making it easy to... Read more
Published 10 months ago by john
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine read
An excellent translation of a truly bloodthirsty tale. It is no wonder that the mythical figures live on in Western cultural memory.
Published 11 months ago by Mrs C Campbell
4.0 out of 5 stars Flowing translation
Maybe the translation isn't always correct line-for-line - I don't know, I don't read ancient Greek - all I can tell you is that this version feels fast-flowing and epic, draws you... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Tony Ross
5.0 out of 5 stars Trojans vs. Greeks
Read this as a penguin paperback, the original epic tale
of love, war and revenge. Everyone in the western world
knows of this but relatively few have actually bothered... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mr. G. V. Dudman
5.0 out of 5 stars great red
Clear poetic translation of thrilling tale. Recommend you read it after "Song of Achilles" as I did as this puts both in context.
Published 19 months ago by ginpin
4.0 out of 5 stars Typo nightmare
This is a wonderful version, engaging, exciting and an unexpectedly good read - but marred by the most appalling standard of proof reading. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Meryl Peart
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