The Iliad by Homer & Robert Fagles
(Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

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The Robert Fagles translation was poetic and rhythmic. Once I became accustomed to reading poetry, I felt it was highly readable.
-Rebecca Reads


This translation of The Iliad equals Fitzgerald's earlier Odyssey in power and imagination. It recreates the original action as conceived by Homer, using fresh and flexible blank verse that is both lyrical and dramatic.

About Homer & Robert Fagles

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Homer is the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, the two greatest Greek epic poems. Nothing is known about Homer personally; it is not even known for certain whether there is only one true author of these two works. Homer is thought to have been an Ionian from the 9th or 8th century B.C. While historians argue over the man, his impact on literature, history, and philosophy is so significant as to be almost immeasurable. The Iliad relates the tale of the Trojan War, about the war between Greece and Troy, brought about by the kidnapping of the beautiful Greek princess, Helen, by Paris. It tells of the exploits of such legendary figures as Achilles, Ajax, and Odysseus. The Odyssey recounts the subsequent return of the Greek hero Odysseus after the defeat of the Trojans. On his return trip, Odysseus braves such terrors as the Cyclops, a one-eyed monster; the Sirens, beautiful temptresses; and Scylla and Charybdis, a deadly rock and whirlpool. Waiting for him at home is his wife who has remained faithful during his years in the war. Both the Iliad and the Odyssey have had numerous adaptations, including several film versions of each. Translator and professor Robert Fagles was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 11, 1933. He received a BA in English from Amherst College and a PhD in English from Yale University. While obtaining his degrees, he studied Latin and Greek on the side. He taught at Yale for one year and then joined the faculty at Princeton University as an English professor and remained there until he retired in 2002. While at Princeton, he created the university's department of comparative literature and received an honorary doctorate in June 2007. He was also a renowned translator of Latin and Greek. His first published translation was of the Greek poet Bacchylides (1961), which was followed by versions of The Oresteia by Aeschylus and the plays, Antigone, Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles. Fagles was best known for his versions of The Iliad (1990), The Odyssey (1996) and The Aeneid (2006). Instead of being an exacting literal translator, he sought to reinterpret the classics in a contemporary idiom which gave his translations a narrative energy and verve. He died of prostate cancer on March 26, 2008.
Published July 1, 1991 by Penguin Classics. 260 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, History, Religion & Spirituality, Children's Books. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Iliad
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The New Yorker

Reviewed by Daniel Mendelsohn on Nov 07 2011

The Iliad doesn’t need to be modernized, because the question it raises is a modern—indeed, existentialist—one...Whoever Homer was and however he made his poem, the song that he sings still goes on.

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Reviewed by Mark Martin on Feb 10 2012

So, how does Mitchell’s critical angle affect his translation? To be honest, not that much. He avoids the poetic diction that hobbled Robert Fitzgerald and creates something stripped-down and Hemingway-esque.

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Rebecca Reads

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Reviewed by Rebecca Reid on Nov 20 2008

The Robert Fagles translation was poetic and rhythmic. Once I became accustomed to reading poetry, I felt it was highly readable.

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ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

Reviewed by Lisa Hill on Jan 21 2010 illuminates a way of life long gone. In Book 11, p317 lines 745-753, Nestor’s cup is described, and suddenly those ancient pieces of pottery in European museums come to life.

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Above average
Reviewed by Nicki Leone on Aug 20 2014 continues to move us, retaining its power in the face of even “the most unfaithful of translations.” Written in a language we can’t translate with assurance and that we don’t know how to pronounce, it still has the power to arrest its readers in every era.

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