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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 B.C. Hardcover – 15 Jul 1993

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Clarendon Press (15 July 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198146930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198146933
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.1 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,609,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

The late Martin West was a Fellow and Praelector at University College, Oxford, from 1963 to 1974, then Professor of Greek at Bedford and Royal Holloway Colleges London till 1991, and a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College Oxford from 1991 to 2004. His many books include Ambient Greek Music, Iambi et Graeci Vols. I and II (second editions), An Introduction to Greek Metre (paperback) and Delectus ex Iambis et Elgis Graecis (Oxford Classical Text). --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Your subtitle is wrong--this is importanr because I have recently purchased serveral books on Greek lyric poetry, If you want me to cooperate in future--please use the correct titles AND mention the author or editor.
As far as the substantive issues are concerned--excellent book, excellent service from bookseller.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
really enjoyed it
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x98f00900) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98b8b7c8) 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.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99f00e94) 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.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98f046a8) 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.
HASH(0x98f022b8) out of 5 stars Some of the oldest extant Greek writings, and pleasant enough reading 24 Jun. 2016
By Jordan Bell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Aside from Homer, Hesiod, the Homer Hymns, Bacchylides, Pindar and small fragments of the Presocratic philosophers, the poems translated in this book are the earliest extant Greek writings. They are an essential source for thoughts about life and society. This translation is an especially good source for adages for quoting since this may be the earliest written appearance of common ideas, for example Archilochus, "There is no single kind of human nature,/ but different things warm different people's hearts." In fact, I think it would be useful for a carefully prepared index of topics to be added to this translation, like death, intoxication, friendships, etc. The most common topics for the poems is the uncertainty of the future and how hard it is to know someone's character. In many cases there are statements that wine makes a man reveal his hidden thoughts, and that when you are rich people pretend to be your friend and then when you are poor pretended friends spurn you. Another common topic is death. The poems that talk about death all think of it as being the end for you: there is no conscious afterlife in their world view. The kinds of excellence that are promoted are honesty, magnanimity, and willingness to die in battle. There are many statements about friendship, courtship, women and sex that are probably useful for the study of Archaic Greek society. Finally, there are references to the Pleiades, Sirius, the Dawn Star (Venus) which may be useful for the history of folk astronomy.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9927de64) out of 5 stars Three Stars 14 Sept. 2014
By Judith D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was okay.
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