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The great war epic of Western literature, translated by acclaimed classicist Robert Fagles
Dating to the ninth century B.C., Homer’s 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 the wrenching, tragic conclusion of the Trojan War. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox observes in his superb introduction that although the violence of the Iliad is grim and relentless, it coexists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace.
Combining the skills of a poet and scholar, 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, 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.”
This Penguin Classics Deluxe edition also features French flaps and deckle-edged paper.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
will not Let go! Before that she’ll grow old in Argos, far from Her own native land, working at the loom and sharing My bed. Now go, old man! and you’ll go much safer If you don’t provoke me.” At this the old priest was afraid And did as the King bade him do. Without a word He walked off along the shore of the loud-booming sea, But when he had gone some distance he fervently prayed To his lord Apollo, whom lovely-haired Leto bore: “Hear me, 0 god of the silver bow, you That bestride in
“But bury me soon as you can, that I / May get within Hades’ gates”: In the opening of his speech, Patroclus’ ghost states the ancient belief that cremation or burial permitted the ghost to enter Hades; once the body was buried, the ghost could no longer depart Hades. Throughout the speech, Patroclus’ ghost recalls, if enigmatically, details that evoke the quality of his former life with Achilles: In life, the two “sat apart” from their comrades, where they made private plans; in death,
bronze-clad Achaeans go out and give the cry all down The long lines of ships and call the army together, And let us go in a body throughout the great camp Of Achaeans, that we may the sooner stir up in the men The spirit of blade-keen, furious Ares.” He spoke, And his words the commander-in-chief Agamemnon did not Disregard. At once he ordered the heralds to employ Their powerful voices and call the long-haired Achaeans To the place of assembly. So they gave the call, and the troops
always begging me Close at my knees to lie with the girl myself And make her despise the old man. But I had no sooner Done what my mother wished, than my father knew What had happened and fearfully cursed me, calling out On the dreaded Furiesab for them to prevent my ever Having a son of my own to take on my lap. And the underworld powers, Hades and awesome Persephone, Made his curse good, whereat I decided to use My keen bronze and kill the old man, but some immortal Restrained my
brother, Saying: “Hector, while we two are dallying here On the fringe of hateful battle, other Trojans Are there being routed and ruined, both horses and men. And the cause of all that chaos is Ajax, son Of Telamon. I know him surely by that wide shield About his shoulders. But come, let us drive our horses And car over there, where most of all both horsemen And footmen, clashing in evil strife, are cutting Each other down and filling the air with their loud, Unquenchable cries.” So