Newly updated by D. C. H. Rieu, son of E. V. Rieu
One of the foremost achievements in Western literature, Homer's Iliad tells the story of the darkest episode of the Trojan War. At its center is Achilles, the greatest warrior-champion of the Greeks, and his conflict with his leader Agamemnon. Interwoven in the tragic sequence of events are powerfully moving descriptions of the ebb and flow of battle, the besieged city of Ilium, the feud between the gods, and the fate of mortals.
With the publication of Robert Fagels's impressive translation of the Odyssey (Viking Penguin, 1996, pap.) and now this equally impressive translation of the Iliad by Lombardo, this year seems to blazon something of a Homeric renaissance. Lombardo concedes from the start that "Homer's musicality cannot be heard in any kind of English," and so he does not compose his Iliad in hexameters or, for that matter, in any standard, regular meter. Instead, based on his experience as an oral performer of Homer's poetry, he writes the lines "based on the cadences of natural speech." The result is a Homer that "is brought to life" for the modern reader with no loss of original integrity?the achievement of a scholar, translator, and performer. Accessible and readable as Lombardo's translation is, it is rendered even more so by the superb, comprehensive introduction by Sheila Murnaghan, which provides a rich but lucid discussion of the classical context of the epic. A helpful appendix provides thumbnail sketches of the major characters, a catalog of combat deaths, and an "Index of Speeches." This handsome, superbly done Iliad will be read and enjoyed by everyone. Highly recommended for all libraries.?Thomas F. Merrill, formerly with Univ. of Delaware.
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September 30, 2007
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