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An accessible Iliad for twenty-first-century readers
A classic of Western literature for three millennia, Homer’s Iliad captivates modern readers―as it did ancient listeners―with its tale of gods and warriors at the siege of Troy. Now Herbert Jordan’s line-for-line translation brilliantly renders the original Greek into English blank verse―the poetic form most closely resembling our spoken language.
Raising the bar set by Richmond Lattimore in 1951, Jordan employs a pleasing five-beat meter and avoids unnecessary filler. Whereas other verse renditions are longer than the original, owing to the translators’ indulgence in personal poetics, Jordan avoids “line inflation.” The result, an economical translation, captures the force and vigor of the original poem.
E. Christian Kopff’s introduction to this volume sets the stage and credits Jordan with conveying the action and movement of the Iliad in “contemporary language and a supple verse.” This new Iliad offers twenty-first-century readers the thrill of a timeless epic and affords instructors a much-needed alternative for literature surveys.
'In Robert Fagles' beautifully rendered text, the Iliad overwhelms us afresh. The huge themes--godlike, yet utterly human--of savagery and calculation, of destiny defied, of triumph and grief compel our own humanity. Time after time, one pauses and re-reads before continuing. Fagles' voice is always that of a poet and scholar of our own age as he conveys the power of Homer. Robert Fagles and Bernard Knox are to be congratulated and praised on this admirable work.
Herbert Jordan, an attorney, is an independent scholar of Greek. He resides in Roxbury, New York.
E. Christian Kopff, Associate Director of the Honors Program at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is the editor of a Greek edition of Euripides' Bacchae.