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The Iliad: The Fitzgerald Translation(Homer)

The Iliad: The Fitzgerald Translation(Homer)

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"Mr. Fitzgerald has solved virtually every problem that has plagued translators of Homer. The narrative runs, the dialogue speaks, the military action is clear, and the repetitive epithets become useful text rather than exotic relics." --The Atlantic Monthly Review

 

The Iliad is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Usually considered to have been written down circa the 8th century BC, the Iliad is among the oldest extant works of Western literature, along with the Odyssey, another epic poem attributed to Homer, which tells of Odysseus's experiences after the events of the Iliad. In the modern vulgate (the standard accepted version), the Iliad contains 15,693 lines, divided into 24 books; it is written in Homeric Greek, a literary amalgam of Ionic Greek and other dialects. It is usually grouped in the Epic Cycle.

 

Although the story covers only a few weeks in the final year of the war, the Iliad mentions or alludes to many of the Greek legends about the siege; the earlier events, such as the gathering of warriors for the siege, the cause of the war, and related concerns, tend to appear near the beginning.

 

Since it was first published more than forty years ago, Robert Fitzgerald's prizewinning translation of Homer's battle epic has become a classic in its own right: a standard against which all other versions of The Iliad are compared. Fitzgerald's work is accessible, ironic, faithful, written in a swift vernacular blank verse that "makes Homer live as never before" (Library Journal).

 

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.

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