Customer Reviews for

The Iliad (Fagles translation)

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

A readable Iliad in modern idiom

Robert Fagles's translation of Homer's Iliad is spiritually if not literally true to the original. Both versions repeat set speeches and descriptions in precisely the same words, and the translation exhibits a fairly regular rhythmic beat. But Homer's Greek was chanted,...
Robert Fagles's translation of Homer's Iliad is spiritually if not literally true to the original. Both versions repeat set speeches and descriptions in precisely the same words, and the translation exhibits a fairly regular rhythmic beat. But Homer's Greek was chanted, and the set passages were like refrains in which listeners could, if they chose, join in as a chorus. In English, the repetitions sometimes become tedious, especially when the same speech is given three times in two pages, as in the relay of Zeus's orders in Book II. Especially noteworthy is Bernard Knox's long and fascinating Introduction, a masterpiece of literary criticism which conveys Homer's grim attitude toward war, the interplay of divine and human will, and the ancient concepts of honor, courage, and virility in the face of the stark finality of death. Knox also includes a succinct explanation of the quantitative, rather than accentual, basis of Greek (and Latin) verse. For easy readability, Fagles's translation is without rival. For elegance and poetry, however, I recommend Richmond Lattimore's older but still gripping and fluent translation.

posted by Anonymous on June 25, 2002

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Fagles' Iliad ebook is full of mistakes! Do not buy!

The Nook version of this title is rife with errors -- for anyone out there that is thinking of buying Fagles' transation of the Iliad for the Nook, DO NOT BUY! Penguin's disrespect for the reputation of their house, together with their decision to sell this ebook to con...
The Nook version of this title is rife with errors -- for anyone out there that is thinking of buying Fagles' transation of the Iliad for the Nook, DO NOT BUY! Penguin's disrespect for the reputation of their house, together with their decision to sell this ebook to consumers WITHOUT EVEN PROOFREADING IT is shameful. This is a seminal work of epic poetry, part of the foundation of our Western literary tradition. An example: "You fool" is "You foot", "corn" becomes "com", lowercase L's replace exclamation points, and quotation marks go in the wrong direction. Shame on Penguin, and shame on Barnes and Noble for not providing a feedback link for poorly formatted ebooks. B&N, take this title down immediately, until Penguin reviews it. B&N is charging $14 for this? An outrage.

posted by RachelCRC on October 1, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2002

    A readable Iliad in modern idiom

    Robert Fagles's translation of Homer's Iliad is spiritually if not literally true to the original. Both versions repeat set speeches and descriptions in precisely the same words, and the translation exhibits a fairly regular rhythmic beat. But Homer's Greek was chanted, and the set passages were like refrains in which listeners could, if they chose, join in as a chorus. In English, the repetitions sometimes become tedious, especially when the same speech is given three times in two pages, as in the relay of Zeus's orders in Book II. Especially noteworthy is Bernard Knox's long and fascinating Introduction, a masterpiece of literary criticism which conveys Homer's grim attitude toward war, the interplay of divine and human will, and the ancient concepts of honor, courage, and virility in the face of the stark finality of death. Knox also includes a succinct explanation of the quantitative, rather than accentual, basis of Greek (and Latin) verse. For easy readability, Fagles's translation is without rival. For elegance and poetry, however, I recommend Richmond Lattimore's older but still gripping and fluent translation.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2012

    Fagles' Iliad ebook is full of mistakes! Do not buy!

    The Nook version of this title is rife with errors -- for anyone out there that is thinking of buying Fagles' transation of the Iliad for the Nook, DO NOT BUY! Penguin's disrespect for the reputation of their house, together with their decision to sell this ebook to consumers WITHOUT EVEN PROOFREADING IT is shameful. This is a seminal work of epic poetry, part of the foundation of our Western literary tradition. An example: "You fool" is "You foot", "corn" becomes "com", lowercase L's replace exclamation points, and quotation marks go in the wrong direction. Shame on Penguin, and shame on Barnes and Noble for not providing a feedback link for poorly formatted ebooks. B&N, take this title down immediately, until Penguin reviews it. B&N is charging $14 for this? An outrage.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A sonnet review (from All-Consuming Books)

    "Achilles doesn't gladly suffer fools,
    and Agamemnon's foolishness is shown
    when he takes away Briseis and rules
    proudly, claiming war prizes for his own
    which should, by rights, belong to other men
    (the slavery issue never gets addressed)
    but this king of all the Greeks is brought low when
    Achilles boycotts battle. Since their best
    and boldest fighter's sitting out, the Greeks
    are getting hacked to bits by Hector, who's
    just fighting for his home, but then Zeus speaks,
    and brings down Trojan doom: they're going to lose.
    The Greeks march ahead with inexorable forces
    and Troy buries Hector, the breaker of horses."

    Here we have the story of the fall of Troy at the hands of the Greeks, though The Iliad actually ends before the fall of Troy, the Trojan Horse comes along in a later book, The Odyssey, and the Greeks are usually called Achaeans or Argives (I think what they're called at any given point has something to do with Homer's metrics and how many syllables his lines needed). The half-god warrior Achilles is the central figure of the story and the action is driven as much by his decisions as it is by the whims of the gods, who take sides in the war and vigorously defend their favorite champions. Achilles meets his opposite in Hector, prince of Troy, who is a family man fighting to defend his own home city, while Achilles is in it for the glory and is fighting for a man he hates. Hector kills Achilles' friend Patroclus, Achilles kills Hector in retaliation, and the war-cycle spirals downward and gets uglier with each passing skirmish.

    Some themes:

    Rage: The Iliad is called the epic of menis, rage, the first chapter is titled "The Wrath of Achilles," and the first (and best) line in the whole epic is, "Rage-Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles." This killing-anger isn't something the characters can escape from for any length of time. Rage can be hidden, but it always eventually bursts forth again--Achilles even nurtures the feeling. He's furious and refuses to fight for the Achaeans, and then when they bring him presents to appease him, he ain't want to be appeased! Cooler heads don't seem to prevail, here, and the epidemic of rage ensures that The Iliad is endlessly violent and gory--except for Hector's body, which is preserved from decay by the gods, the other casualties of war either get thrown onto pyres or become food for the vultures.

    Vengeance. An eye for an eye, ad infinitum. Humans love seeking vengeance, like Achilles avenging Patroclus by killing Hector, but the gods are fond of it, too. The gods are big on damage control--they might not be able to stop you from doing something disastrous, but they'll certainly punish you for it after the fact, like Apollo visiting the Achaeans with a plague after they kidnap Chryseis, the daughter of his priest.

    Doom. Not just fate, but negative fate. Doom hangs over all of Troy and over most of the Achaens that the reader might actually care about: though Achilles is a killing machine, it's possible to empathize with him, and the propheices make it clear that he's going to die at Troy; Odysseus is going to live through the war, but it'll be another long decade before he gets home; Agamemnon is going to be murdered by his wife's boyfriend when he gets home (but since he's a power-hungry tyrant who killed his own daughter, it's not such a loss), and Menelaus is going to regain Helen and go home, but you can't say they'll live at all h

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    If you n eed this...order from somewhere else.  B&N cancelle

    If you n eed this...order from somewhere else.  B&N cancelled my order because it is out of stock and didn't notify me.   Website says it  is available and normally ships within 24 hours.  :(  I needed this for school.  Very disappointed in B&N customer service.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2013

    Wonderful poem ,gripping read

    This translation of the Iliad is a great read. Start with the poem ,. Read the
    forward later, if at all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2012

    AWESOME!!!

    Mr. Fagles' translation of the iliad is PERFECT!!! WARNING: May cause severe bewilderment; Has a natural aptitude for adventure!

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  • Posted November 4, 2012

    My favorite translation to my favorite epic

    Fagles retains the poetic beauty of Homer's original tale while keeping the grittiness intact.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2012

    Excellent

    I read this last year as a high school freshman and thought it was quite good. This transalation is much less boring than others.

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  • Posted September 28, 2010

    HATED

    I didnt enjoy this book one bit. I had to read it for high school and just finished it. It was very difficult to understand and I dont think anyone should make themselves read it for fun. If you want to know the plotline which isnt very bad then go to sparknotes for a good lengthy description and analysis. WARNING: Reading may cause drowsiness and exaustion. Also some cases of distress and axiety. Not reccomended for most readers.

    0 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 18, 2009

    Bought it for my Kid

    Came quickly, my Kid was excited and really enjoyed the book

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  • Posted September 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Intellectually Stimulating and absolutely thrilling

    A classic masterpiece. Great violence! It's the true art of war...when war was up close and personal. This is where Hollywood comes for their great action blockbusters. Spies, Emotional struggles, violence, war...all that in the fantasy of the gods. Really good reading

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2009

    Robert Fagle's Translation of Homer's The Iliad

    This is the original Superhero story. Though previous translations from the ancient Greek were dry, and by many accounts, almost unreadable, this one is gorgeous. Fagle's translation reads like prose. And a great introduction by Bernard Knox helps with context and history. Highly recommended.

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  • Posted December 19, 2008

    The Iliad

    My son and I tried making it through the recommended Lattimore translation with a guide and almost stopped reading the Iliad all together. We are sooo glad we gave Fagles a try!! This is an amazing story, told using a wonderful translation. Can't wait for the Odyssey!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2008

    the iliad

    i loved the translation of this story and the language flows nicely. I stayed captivated the entire time. My ten year old brother had a hard time reading it though, it would be dificult for anyone younger than twelve. A definate must read for everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2007

    Go Homer!

    This translation of one of the most important pieces of international literature is surely one of the best. The language flows and the story is vivid to your imagination. I recommend this version to anyone who wants the truth behink Troy

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2005

    Spectacular

    I never read this book but i need to read it for English 9H. Everyone's putting 5 stars, so i guess i should too...:o)

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2003

    Didi's Review of the Iliad

    Homer's The Iliad unfolds the events of a few months during the tenth year of the Trojan War, which was supposedly fought for the possession of the beautiful Helen. The story gives an in depth look at both the Trojan and Achaian side, as well as the involvement from Mount Olympus. Homer does a great job portraying his character's emotions and making them seem very life-like. As I read the book, I felt like I knew the characters, both Trojan and Achaian, and could relate to their feelings and troubles. I also enjoyed his characterization of the gods. The gods have the same emotions and flaws as mortals, even though they don't have to deal with the same problems in everyday life. Although some of the battle scenes are quite gruesome, Homer balances them out with conventional activities. I'm not usually a fan of war stories, but I enjoyed Homer's style and descriptions. My favorite part about the book is the characterization and growth of Achilles. In the beginning and well into the middle of the story, Achilles is portrayed as selfish, arrogant, and almost childish. Due to Agamemnon hurting Achilles pride by taking away his war prize, a maiden named Bryseis, Achilles refuses to fight. Even when Agamemnon admits that he was wrong, Achilles refuses to surrender due to his wounded pride. However, once Achilles' dearest friend Patrochlus dies, another side of Achilles is shown. The reader sees that Achilles genuinely cared for Partrochlus and wants to avenge his death. Achilles brutally kills Hektor and drags his body around the burial mound of his dead friend. This shows the cruel side of Achilles. However, when Hektor's father makes an emotional plea for the return of his son's body, Achilles obliges. This shows his growth and Homer ends the book with Achilles as a hero.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2001

    The Best Book

    This is by far one of the best stories ever told. This translation is outstanding. You get attached to the characters. Alot of the books that are in print today are 'garbage' and should not be confused with 'great literature', such as this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2000

    The Iliad Rocks

    This is truly one of the greatest works of literature of all time. At points, it was somewhat monotonous, however it is a truly exciting and tragic war story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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