Iliad (Books That Changed Man's Thinking)

 
9780862251192: Iliad (Books That Changed Man's Thinking)
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War, glory, despair, and mourning: for 2,700 years, the Iliad has gripped listeners and readers with the story of Achilles' anger and Hector's death. It is a tale of many truths, speaking of powerful emotions, the failures of leadership, the destructive power of beauty, the quest for fame, the plight of women, and the cold callous laughter of the gods. Above all, it confronts us with war in all its brutality--and with fleeting images of peace, lovingly drawn, images which punctuate the poem as distant memories, startling comparisons, and doomed aspirations.

Anthony Verity's elegant and compelling new translation mirrors the directness, power, and dignity of Homer's poetry. Verity captures as well the essential features of oral poetry, such as repeated phrases and scenes, without sounding mannered or archaic, and his remarkably accurate verse hews closely to the original line numbers, which is invaluable for readers wishing to consult the secondary literature. Barbara Graziosi, an authority on Homeric poetry, offers a full introduction that illuminates the composition of the poem, its literary qualities, and the many different contexts in which it was performed and read. In addition, extensive notes offer book-by-book summaries and shed light on difficult words and passages, mythological allusions, references to ancient practices, and geographical names. An annotated bibliography offers a succinct guide to further scholarship in English; a full index of names enables the reader to trace particular characters through the text; and two maps elucidate the Catalogue of Ships and the Catalogue of the Trojans.

About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Review:

So great is the impact of ancient Greek literature on Western culture that even people who have never read Homer's Iliad or The Odyssey know a lot about them. The Trojan Horse, Achilles' heel, the Sirens' call, Scylla and Charybdis--all have entered popular mythology, becoming metaphors for the less heroic situations we face in our own lives. Ever since these oral poems were committed to paper (probably in the 8th century B.C.E.), people have been translating them. The version of Iliad translated by Stanley Lombardo is a brave departure from previous translations; Lombardo attempts to adapt the text to the needs of readers rather than the listeners for whom the work was originally intended. To this end, he has streamlined the poem, removing many of the stock repetitions such as the infamous "rosy-fingered dawn," or rewriting them in ways dependent on their context. What emerges is a vivid, lively rendition of one of the world's great stories of men and war.

But classicists, beware: This Iliad has something of a '90s sensibility, from the cover art (a photograph of the D-Day Normandy landing) to Achilles' Rambo-like diction. It might well outrage the purists, but for those who remember their musty high-school reading of Homer's great epic with a barely suppressed yawn, Lombardo's energetic translation is just the version to change their minds.

From the Publisher:

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.

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