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The Iliad [Paperback]

Homer , Bernard Knox , Robert Fagles
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 7 2003 Penguin Classics Deluxe
The great war epic of Western literature, translated by acclaimed classicist Robert Fagles
Dating to the ninth century B.C., Homer’s timeless poem still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods wrestling with towering emotions and battling amidst devastation and destruction, as it moves inexorably to the wrenching, tragic conclusion of the Trojan War. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox observes in his superb introduction that although the violence of the Iliad is grim and relentless, it coexists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace.
Combining the skills of a poet and scholar, Robert Fagles, winner of the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, brings the energy of contemporary language to this enduring heroic epic. He maintains the drive and metric music of Homer’s poetry, and evokes the impact and nuance of the Iliad’s mesmerizing repeated phrases in what Peter Levi calls “an astonishing performance.”

This Penguin Classics Deluxe edition also features French flaps and deckle-edged paper.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


Frequently Bought Together

The Iliad + The Odyssey: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) + The Aeneid: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
Price For All Three: CDN$ 40.44

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Product Description

From Amazon

This groundbreaking English version by Robert Fagles is the most important recent translation of Homer's great epic poem. The verse translation has been hailed by scholars as the new standard, providing an Iliad that delights modern sensibility and aesthetic without sacrificing the grandeur and particular genius of Homer's own style and language. The Iliad is one of the two great epics of Homer, and is typically described as one of the greatest war stories of all time, but to say the Iliad is a war story does not begin to describe the emotional sweep of its action and characters: Achilles, Helen, Hector, and other heroes of Greek myth and history in the tenth and final year of the Greek siege of Troy. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

Why another Iliad? Just as Homer's work existed most fully in its performance, so the Homeric texts call periodically for new translations. With this in mind, Fagles offers a new verse rendering of the Iliad. Maneuvering between the literal and the literary, he tries with varying degrees of success to suggest the vigor and manner of the original while producing readable poetry in English. Thus, he avoids the anachronizing of Robert Fitzgerald's translation, while being more literal than Richard Lattimore's. Fagles's efforts are accompanied by a long and penetrating introduction by Bernard Knox, coupled with detailed glossary and textual notes.
- T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong State Coll., Savannah, Ga.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In so many ways, the ultimate story... May 8 2004
The other reviewers have done an excellent job of describing the plot of "The Iliad," so I'll just pass on some tips that have helped me enjoy this amazingly enriching work.
The challenge of reading "The Iliad" is reading it as it was meant to be read. That means you have to let go of our modern notion of accessing literature. This text is not a "book" or a "novel," and was never meant to be. (The notion of printed books and private reading of novels came along more than twenty centuries after Homer finished his poem!)
So you'll have to pretend, as you hold your copy of "The Iliad" in your hand, that you're actually back in Ancient Greece sitting in a small crowd of people on a hillside listening to an orator recite the poem. The reading would have been spread out over several days (or perhaps several nights) and the orator would have been a professional, sort of like a one-man theatre troupe. His performance (perhaps recalled from memory, perhaps read from a parchment script--no one knows for sure) would have had the timing, fire, and precision that the great Shakespearean actors would perfect two millenia later.
In short, pretend you're hearing the text, rather than eye-balling it. As you read each line in this top-notch modern English translation, enjoy it and gnaw on it and savor it as though it were from a short verse poem. If you've got the guts, read each line aloud, and listen to the echo. Don't let the work's complexity intimidate you: "The Iliad" gets better as you go along, as the work itself slowly tutors you how to read it. Understand that Homer meant it to be a challenging, marathon event, so don't be discouraged.
As you advance (take your time!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book... period. May 19 2004
The Iliad contains all the knowledge you will ever need in human affairs. It imparts wisdom in understanding people and psychology which no other book can. The Iliad is the first book ever written in a European language, and it is also the best. It preserves the essence of Western culture in a capsule from the warrior days of prehistory. The heroic ethos displayed in the Iliad underlies all later warrior codes and societies; medieval knights, viking adventurers, and American cowboys, for example, all can trace their ethos back to this protohistoric 'macho' culture. In the days of Homer, and indeed of all ancient Indo-european societies, one's relationships with others and one's skill in speaking could mark the difference between life and death. In our more comfortable lives today, we cannot reproduce this precarious breeding-ground of cleverly persuasive speech, so we benefit greatly from learning these skills from the best of that period's speakers: Homer, as he puts 'winged words' in the mouths of his heroic men and women. The Iliad is 50% dialogue and vicious debate: it is almost a play more than a book. In this book, it is not the pen that is mightier than the sword, but rather the tongue. It comes to me as no surprise that the Greeks and Romans looked at this book, as they did no other, as their 'soly scriptures', albeit in a non-religious kind of way, to be studied, quoted and memorized for the sake of gaining wisdom and understanding in human affairs.
I have read the Iliad in its original Greek, and I can tell you that the rhythmical enchantment of the original can not in any way be reproduced in English, or in any other language. There is no way to capture the same hilarious moments or grand episodes of bravery with the same music in our language as Homer did with his Greek.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Heroic and Human Tragedy Dec 23 2002
The Iliad is a story of passion. In its sweep lies war and death, honor and pettiness, mortality, domesticity, gods and men.
In his excellent introduction to this edition, Bernard Knox tells us that the Iliad probably was written down between 725 and 675 B.C. It tells a story that was archaic even for its time that is set around 1200 B.C. The story of the Iliad covers a matter of days in the tenth and final year of the Trojan War. It is allusive to the entire mythology of that ancient struggle. The tale is deliberately mythical, with characters and emotions that, Homer tells us many times, are larger than those of men today. For too many, the Iliad comes encrusted as a "classic". People read it, or portions of it, in high school or college and inevitably miss much of the grandeur and wisdom of the work.
When I came back to the Iliad recently (after not having read the work in many years) in Fagles' translation, I was swept away. I accompanied my reading of the Iliad with an excellent series of lecture tapes on the poem and its background. I thought the translation, written in a modern colloquial free verse helped me to understand and read the poem. The translation, for me, gives the reader a sense of the repetitions, formulas and phraseology of the original. It has a sweep to it, and the style and translation does not get in the way of understanding the work. This is important in a modern translation of an ancient work. The translation was easy to follow and got me involved in the tale. I am sure the poem works differently in the ancient Greek than in this translation. But this is largely irrelevant to the virtue of Fagles's work which makes the Iliad come alive and roar in a manner which encourages the nonclassicist modern reader to approach it.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely incredible
This translation is an excellent translation without being convoluted or losing it's historicity. Clear, concise and easy to read, definitely worth the great price and thoroughly... Read more
Published on Aug. 12 2012 by metrikfire
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Story
I have to start by saying that I absolutely LOVE The Iliad. I have a passion for Greek mythology and studied Classics in university and Homer is definitely one of my... Read more
Published on June 7 2011 by Coreena
5.0 out of 5 stars Lived up to expectations
Whether Homer really existed as sole poet or whether the story of Troy is an oral tale passed down through generations before anyone wrote it down (and really, the mystery behind... Read more
Published on May 10 2008 by The Rogue Ninja
5.0 out of 5 stars The ground is dark with blood
With many books, translations are negligible, with two obvious exceptions, one is the Bible, and surprisingly the other is The Iliad. Read more
Published on Oct. 23 2007 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Illiad Translation There Is!
Robert Fagles translation of the Illiad is supurb! It's very easy to read and yet still retains its essence which has captivated readers for 2800 years!! Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2006 by Aaron Donnelly
1.0 out of 5 stars worthless
this book leads to two things:
a waste of time
a waste of money
Published on June 25 2004 by derek
3.0 out of 5 stars Something in excess.....
Admittedly, the Fagles translation of The Iliad is not the version I am reviewing. Mine was a prose translation, by Samuel Butler, of 'The Way of All Flesh' fame..... Read more
Published on June 21 2004 by B. Morse
5.0 out of 5 stars The Iliad of Homer in it's best Incarnation
Have you ever wanted to go back in time, to an era where powerful gods mingled with humans and great wars were fought, to an era of mythology? Read more
Published on June 7 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars It's just incredible
Some things just never go out of style. It can be said of some old works that they're 'as relevant today' as they were when they were written, but even the aesthetic of the Illiad... Read more
Published on June 4 2004 by Henry Platte
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood, guts & trash talking--ancient Greek-style
I recently read Homer's epic poem "The Iliad" for the first time. There are three reasons why I did:
#1: I saw the movie "Troy" (which was entertaining;... Read more
Published on June 1 2004 by Continental Op
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