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The Iliad (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 27 Feb 1992


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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (27 Feb 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140445927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140445923
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 3.3 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Homer was probably born around 725BC on the Coast of Asia Minor, now the coast of Turkey, but then really a part of Greece. Homer was the first Greek writer whose work survives. Both works attributed to Homer - The Iliad and The Odyssey - are over ten thousand lines long in the original.

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 59 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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14 of 14 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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12 of 13 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mark Browse on 12 April 2014
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Christopher Harris VINE VOICE on 29 Aug 2012
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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19 of 22 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.
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