The first clash of the armies in Logue’s “Heroic . . . brilliant” version of Homer’s Iliad (The New York Times Book Review)
Setting down her topaz saucer heaped with nectarine jelly,
Emptying her blood-red mouth—set in her ice-white face—
Teenaged Athena jumped up and shrieked:
“Kill! Kill for me!
Better to die than live without killing!”
Who says prayer does no good?
Christopher Logue’s work in progress, his Iliad, has been called “the best translation of Homer since Pope’s” (The New York Review of Books). Here in All Day Permanent Red is doomed Hector, the lion, “slam-scattering the herd” at the height of his powers. Here is the Greek army rising with a sound like a “sky-wide Venetian blind.” Here is an arrow’s tunnel, “the width of a lipstick,” through a neck. Like Homer himself, Logue is quick to mix the ancient and the new, because his Troy exists outside time, and no translator has a more Homeric interest in the truth of battle, or in the absurdity and sublimity of war.
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Christopher Logue is a screenwriter, a film actor, and the author of several books of poems. He lives in London, England.
"Logue's Homer," as it is called in England, has been an ongoing literary project since the 1960s. More than a translator, the poet reimagines the various books of The Iliad, inventing new scenes and infusing the whole with a modern tone and voice. This volume, the fourth excerpt from the work-in-progress to appear in the U.S., tackles the first battle scenes in Homer's poem, most of which occur in books five and six. In muscular, freewheeling lines that flash across the battlefield with the sweep of a film director's camera, Logue jumps between wide-angle shots of the strip of land, 30 yards wide, on which the battle is contested, and close-ups of the combatants: Diomedes "S-curving" through the Trojans, or Palt, one of Diomedes' victims, "holding the slick blue-greenish loops of his intestines." We see the horror of war, but we also feel, just as vividly and appallingly, the "unpremeditated joy" of it: "The Uzi shuddering warm against your hip / Happy in danger in a dangerous place." The contemporary references may offend purists, but they help drive home the universality of Homer's vision, jarring us at first and then seeming exactly right. Logue's Homer is both a marvelous tribute and a work of prodigious originality. Bill Ott
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Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0374102953
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0374102953
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110374102953
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0374102953 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1049863