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The Iliad: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) [Paperback]

By Homer (Author), Robert Fagles (Translator) & Bernard Knox (Introduction by)
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Item description for The Iliad: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) by Homer, Robert Fagles & Bernard Knox...

The centuries-old epic about the wrath of Achilles is rendered into modern English verse by a renowned translator

Publishers Description
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 presents us with his universally acclaimed modern verse translation of the world's greatest war story. 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 sturdy souls? Thus begins the stirring story of the Trojan War and the rage of Achilles that has gripped listeners and readers for 2,700 years. This 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 its wrenching, tragic conclusion. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox observes in his superb Introduction that although the violence of the Iliad is grim and relentless, it co-exists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace. Combining the skills of a poet and scholar, Robert Fagles 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."

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Iliad: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) by Homer, Robert Fagles & Bernard Knox has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2011 page 621
  • New York Times - 11/15/1998 page 68
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/1998 page 673
  • Wilson Middle/Junior Hi Catalo - 01/01/2005 page 346
  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2007 page 506
  • Wilson Middle/Junior Hi Catalo - 01/01/2009 page 496

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Penguin Classics
Pages   683
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.4" Height: 1.9"
Weight:   1.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 1998
Publisher   Penguin Classics
Age  18
Edition  Revised  
Series  Puffin Classics  
ISBN  0140275363  
ISBN13  9780140275360  
UPC  051488015956  

Availability  0 units.

More About Homer, Robert Fagles & Bernard Knox

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Homer was probably born around 725BC on the Coast of Asia Minor, now the coast of Turkey, but then really a part of Greece. Homer was the first Greek writer whose work survives.

He was one of a long line of bards, or poets, who worked in the oral tradition. Homer and other bards of the time could recite, or chant, long epic poems. Both works attributed to Homer - the Iliad and the Odyssey - are over ten thousand lines long in the original. Homer must have had an amazing memory but was helped by the formulaic poetry style of the time.

In the Iliad Homer sang of death and glory, of a few days in the struggle between the Greeks and the Trojans. Mortal men played out their fate under the gaze of the gods. The Odyssey is the original collection of tall traveller's tales. Odysseus, on his way home from the Trojan War, encounters all kinds of marvels from one-eyed giants to witches and beautiful temptresses. His adventures are many and memorable before he gets back to Ithaca and his faithful wife Penelope.

We can never be certain that both these stories belonged to Homer. In fact 'Homer' may not be a real name but a kind of nickname meaning perhaps 'the hostage' or 'the blind one'. Whatever the truth of their origin, the two stories, developed around three thousand years ago, may well still be read in three thousand years' time.

Martin Hammond is headmaster of the Tonbridge School and has translated Homer's Iliad for Penguin Classics.

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1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( H ) > Homer
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Classics
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4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Epic
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6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Single Authors > Continental European
7Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > Mythology > General
8Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > Mythology > Greek & Roman

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Books > Fiction > General Christian > Historical

Reviews - What do customers think about The Iliad (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)?

A defense of Fagles for the general reader  Jun 7, 2008
I don't normally write reviews for "the classics": what can I say that hasn't already been said more elegantly and succinctly by hundreds and thousands already? So, regarding the book itself I will say simply that this story clearly has earned the title of "classic" and will surprise newcomers (or readers like myself who have gained a newfound appreciation for works like this upon adulthood!) with its passion, nobility, and universality even now--thousands of years after it was first crafted. Also, as others have noted, this version is graced with an extensive introduction, maps, notes, and other supplementary materials which aid the ease of reading and fully appreciating the text.

Instead, I will focus on the translation itself, which I believe has been the target of well-meant but generally unearned criticism. I will preface this by saying that I am not versed in ancient Greek, and while I have perused several translations of the Iliad, Fagles' is the only one I have read in its entirety. However, as someone who has done translations in the past, I can sympathize with the task of Fagles and others like him as they attempt to craft a translation that is both faithful to the original yet maximizes clarity and readability for an audience that is thousands of years and many layers of language and culture removed from Homer's Greeks.

I would like to praise Fagles for his ability to satisfy both demands without needing to make very many sacrifices or compromises. Critics of Fagels' translation of the Iliad and the Odyssey like to point to Fagels' treatment of epithets as an example of why it is not "accurate", "literal", or "scholarly". That is, in Homer's original, it was common to repeat the same epithet as a matter of convention. A reviewer of the Odyssey notes that the phrase "resourceful Odysseus" is repeated 68 times in the tale, and notes that Fagles has rendered this phrase in "48 different translations, only 12 of which have the form Adjective+Odysseus". This comment was intended as a criticism, but to me it shows the genius of Fagles' translation: he has managed to take a convention that would be conspicuous, awkward, and repetitive in English and carefully re-crafted it in a way that retains the idea and information of the original Greek. Ultimately, which translation style one prefers is a matter of individual preference ... but it does not speak to the quality of the translation itself.

In the end, the success of every translation is measured in reader response, and I believe the generally positive reaction speaks to its lyricism, accuracy, and overall ability to engage a modern audience. For the person fluent in ancient Greek, perhaps this is not the translation for you (although, if you're fluent in ancient Greek, why bother with translations?). For those of us who are more interested in the Iliad as a classic in world literature, I believe this translation is the version for you. You are not being cheated out of the "real deal" just because Fagles was as interested in translating the Iliad as a story of cohesive ideas as in translating it as a text of individual words. Don't believe those who will tell you that somehow this is a watered down "Iliad Lite" for the illiterate masses: ultimately the differences of opinion being expressed here are more of style than of substance.
Iliad and Odyssey   May 27, 2008
Great translation by Robert Fagles, I'd recommend the matching Penguin Deluxe Edition of the Odyssey also translated by Fagles.
One of our first war novels  Apr 15, 2008
I used the W. H. D. Rouse translation.

One of our first war novels: the Achains and their allies send a great multitude of ships laden with armored warriors carrying bows, spears, and swords; divisions of horse drawn chariots rumble there way into the ranks of the Trojans and their allies laying siege to Troy. The Trojans counter-attack with a push all the way to the ships. And as we read, these gains and losses continue throughout the story. There is a short truce to mourn the dead and recoup, then the battle rages on only in our minds.

It flows like a song. Lucid, with wonderful imagery and symbolism's. Homer, with Rouses' help, bring out the details of battle and personalize each warrior: we learn he has a wife, a family, and a life elsewhere, after he has been cut in two and stripped of his armor. Men are slaughtered with an indifference, as if they were mere cattle. I found it hard to follow the extensive list of characters. I believe some of the realism was lost to modernization. I also found the knowledge Homer had of the human anatomy surprising. The footnotes were helpful. Better than Odyssey.

It is interesting to note: the gods control man, and man controls the gods. The two interact with each other; the gods send down their wrath and protections upon their favored nation. The gods are no different than the humans they try to control, except for their immortality. Hades is where all mortals go unto death. The parallels to the Bible are evident, with connotations of God. It can be hard to grasp.......a story that is 2,700 years old.

Wish you well

Homer Would Like it; Alexander would, too, and You  Mar 20, 2008
This is a very entertaining version of a work which is apt to task the patience of some readers or listeners. The "Iliad" was orally conceived as a kind of ritual recital of a well-known story, and it contains long passages of enumeration, such as the famous (or infamous) catalogue of ships, telling the names of all the heroes embarked for Ilium (Troy), but, alas, containing little of the drama found in the rest of the poem which today's reader is looking for. So, what do you do? Skip those parts and summarize them elsewhere, which is exactly what this production wisely does. You don't want to put to sleep anyone who's listening in his car on the drive home. It's just not good business. Derek Jacobi is an excellent, companionable reader with a great voice for presenting Robert Fagles' award winning new translation with its swift narration and sharp eye for the details which make this story of heartbreaking greatness come fully alive for our drivetime friend as well as for any reader of the print version. The booklet by Bernard Knox is particularly fine, providing the background of the poem and its new translation. This is a book for men. Let's face it; not many ladies would like it, but the poem inhabits a world which exists both in the mind of the great poet (who composed it about a hundred years after it was supposed to have happened) and in the mind of any boy or man (or woman) who likes a great and timeless tale of "feats of brawl" and of the friendship and admiration between friends and between enemies.
one of the best war novels of all time  Mar 20, 2008
love this lots of death, war, chaos, references of death, jealousy love it I can't describe this in words but if any inspiring rappers wanna quote death poems read this one of my favotrite lines is when achilles tells lycaon to die better men then him have died and will continue to do so. a pity achilles and hector was enemies both knew they had to die hector knew troy had to fall and the scene between him and andromache was touching. paris was a coward really loved how hector talked him into figfhting a duel with menelaus who I tghink should have let helen stay with paris. the trojan war was so big even the gods got involved loved how diomedes was so crazed in battle that he attacked ares, and aprhodite also dug the way apollo warned him about fighting immortals love it even thoyugh all the fighters had help from the gods but ajax the greater never had help from the gods this was explained laterr on. I love this book it ended with hector's funeral but don't worry the story was continued.

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