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The Iliad Hardcover – 27 Mar 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Wilder Publications (27 Mar. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934451479
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934451472
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,711,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

'In Robert Fagles' beautifully rendered text, the Iliad overwhelms us afresh. The huge themes--godlike, yet utterly human--of savagery and calculation, of destiny defied, of triumph and grief compel our own humanity. Time after time, one pauses and re-reads before continuing. Fagles' voice is always that of a poet and scholar of our own age as he conveys the power of Homer. Robert Fagles and Bernard Knox are to be congratulated and praised on this admirable work.

About the Author

Homer is celebrated as the greatest of ancient Greek epic poets. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.


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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you are looking for the best translation of Homer's The Iliad, then look no further. Fitzgerald's succinct, yet informative, translation is as close to the original 2700-year-old presentation you can get without taking ancient Greek lessons. Take my advice: steer clear of those verbose, lengthy, and particularly misleading prose translations of literature's greatest charm.
The Iliad was created as an epic poem - and that is how it should be experienced, not as the modern format of the novel. Fitzgerald's verse translation flows, it captivates, in fact it transports you to the towers of Ilium, and the aura of Achilles, literature's greatest warrior.
So, exactly what is The Iliad all about? The very first lines of the poem can answer this question - in part:
"Anger be now your song, immortal one,
Achilles' anger, doomed and ruinous,
that caused the Achaean's (Greek's) loss on bitter loss" (I.1-3)
The Iliad is the story of Achilles, the "almost immortal" Greek hero of the Trojan war, and his anger at being slighted by his own ally General - Agamemnon. This results with literature's infamous temper tantrum. Achilles the great warrior sulks, refusing to fight, which in turn causes many Greek deaths. Now, if you're thinking that "all this Greek/Trojan war stuff sounds a bit tough, I'll forget about buying this book", and you're just about to select BACK on your browser... then WAIT a minute! The whole Trojan war thing can be simply summed up in one sentence - The Greek princess Helen is stolen from her husband by the Trojan prince Paris and taken to his Troy, all the Greeks say "Oi! You can't do that!" and nine years down the line Achilles, Agamemnon and cuckolded Menelaus are still pounding away at Troy's (Ilium's) walls.
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Format: Paperback
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, 1990

"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, 1888

"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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Format: Library Binding
I first read The Iliad almost twenty years ago and what a turgid hard read that was. I couldn't wait to put it down. It was my first contact with Greek literature and everything about it was unfamiliar and frustrating: the style, the characters, the length. Fast forward to today during which time I have spent a considerable time reading Greek literature and history and I thought, "Hmm let's tackle The Iliad again but let's get a new translation." So I got this one by Robert Fagles. The Introduction is massively important and I'm glad I read it first. Then I jumped right in and the story hits you right out the gate: the power, the electricity, the passion. It felt like I had turned the corner from a street enveloped by darkness into one illuminated by the blinding razzle-dazzle lights of an amusement park.

The story is set in the final year of the great Trojan War between the Greeks and the rich, proud city of Troy. The war was started when Paris, the handsome godlike prince of Troy stole or eloped with Helen, wife of Menelaus, King of Lacedaemon. She refused to go back to her wedded husband who, as far as he was concerned, believed she had been kidnapped. So ensued ten years of bitter bloody war that involved some of the greatest and most illustrious names in pre-writing Grecian history (or myth): Odysseus, Agamemnon, Ajax and the two central heroes, Achilles (on the Greek side) and Hector (on the Trojan side).

This book is, if anything, an incredible rush. Homer will make your hair stand on its roots and his pace and rhythm (as translated by Fagles) will make your heart race. Also captivating are the sideline schemes of the Gods - Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Poseidon etc - all supporting different sides and torn with grief when a favourite is doomed to hit the dust.
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