9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Rollicking verse translation, 20 April 2010
Fagles' verse translation is fantastic. It rollicks along boisterously, mainly in blank hexameters, sometimes shrinking to smaller lines for more domestic scenes, tugging the reader along with the ebb and surge of the oceans that throw Odysseus to and fro.
A verse translation, compared to prose, is so much more dynamic. Here, for example, is T.E.Lawrence's prose toward the end of Book 5: "Exactly as when a squid is dragged out from its bed the many pebbles come away in the suckers of its arms, so did the skin peel off Odysseus' strong hands against the stones. Then the billows closed over his head." Where Lawrence ends the paragraph there, Fagles elides the passage into the next event, imitating the breathlessness of Odysseus in his battle against the sea:
"Like pebbles stuck in the suckers of some octopus
dragged from its lair - so strips of skin torn
from his clawing hands stuck to the rock face.
A heavy sea covered him over, then and there
unlucky Odysseus would have met his fate..."
With the 'clawing hands' and 'heavy sea', Fagles can make the plight of Odysseus more graphically desperate.