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The Iliad Paperback – Nov 1 1998

4.5 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised ed. edition (Nov. 1 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140275363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140275360
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 4.3 x 21.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 839 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an absolutely terrible version compared to the Penguin Edition of the Iliad which is somehow sold as if it were the paper version of this digital format (both this and the Penguin printed edition figure on the same Amazon page, which is a mistake because they are not identical translations at all). I wanted a digital copy of the Penguin Edition Iliad for university so I wouldn't have to carry such a big book, but this translation is worthless for an English class, the poetics are terrible and the verse non-existent because of the formatting. The only solution seems to be to buy the paper version, with the proper scholarly translation you can sample thanks to the "Look Inside" option. A shame I wasted even a dollar on a digital copy of very low literary quality. It is not the first time that Amazon features digital versions of books on the same page as the printed editions, without any warning that the contents will be drastically different (in this case a different translator and style of formatting that makes all the difference).
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Format: Paperback
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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