All Day Permanent Red: The First Battle Scenes of Homer's Iliad Rewritten


The first clash of the armies in Logue’s “Heroic . . . brilliant” version of Homer’s Iliad (The New York Times Book Review)

Setting down her topaz saucer heaped with nectarine jelly,

Emptying her blood-red mouth—set in her ice-white face—

Teenaged Athena jumped up and ...

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The first clash of the armies in Logue’s “Heroic . . . brilliant” version of Homer’s Iliad (The New York Times Book Review)

Setting down her topaz saucer heaped with nectarine jelly,

Emptying her blood-red mouth—set in her ice-white face—

Teenaged Athena jumped up and shrieked:

“Kill! Kill for me!

Better to die than live without killing!”

Who says prayer does no good?

Christopher Logue’s work in progress, his Iliad, has been called “the best translation of Homer since Pope’s” (The New York Review of Books). Here in All Day Permanent Red is doomed Hector, the lion, “slam-scattering the herd” at the height of his powers. Here is the Greek army rising with a sound like a “sky-wide Venetian blind.” Here is an arrow’s tunnel, “the width of a lipstick,” through a neck. Like Homer himself, Logue is quick to mix the ancient and the new, because his Troy exists outside time, and no translator has a more Homeric interest in the truth of battle, or in the absurdity and sublimity of war.

The fourth book in Christopher Logue's translation of Homer's Iliad, War Music.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“No classical scholar, no critic, has voiced more concisely the lasting impact of Homer.” —George Steiner, The Times Literary Supplement
The Los Angeles Times
The cumulative effect is to bring the ethos of Homer to life for English speakers with a vigor and immediacy that surpasses every available modern translation. Logue's Homer satisfies the first requirement of a classic: It is a work completely unlike any that came before it. It solves one of the thorniest problems of translation, faithfulness to the original, simply by ignoring it — by being not a translation but rather an imaginative re-creation. And perhaps the greatest testament to the success of Logue's poetical enterprise is the enthusiastic following he has attracted among classical scholars. — Jamie James
The New Yorker
The mounting pressure of a city siege, two politician-generals invoking gods, the amount of dust in the Middle East -- this version of the first skirmishes in the Iliad has the immediacy of an embed's dispatches. Logue, a veteran of the Second World War, has been freely translating Homer since 1959. His verse displays a gift for the unexpected simile -- the sound of the Greek army getting to its feet is like "a raked sky-wide Venetian blind." The music in the latest installment is wild and improvisational: "That unpremeditated joy as you / -- the Uzi shuddering warm against your hip / Happy in danger in a dangerous place / Yourself another self you found at Troy -- / Squeeze nickel through that rush of Greekoid scum!" But the final note is hushed, when, after the battle, we see the ridge overlooking the Trojan plain: "save for a million footprints, / Empty now."
Publishers Weekly
Set at no particular time and incorporating references to 2,000-plus years of Western history, this is the fourth installment from British poet and playwright Logue of his version of The Iliad (the significantly, even gratuitously, more violent of Homer's two epics). Logue began the series in the 1960s and last added to it with The Husbands in 1995. Like Anne Carson's updatings of myth, Logue's Homer is less a translation than a channeling, articulating its essences through terms like "a tunnel the width of a lipstick," "blood like a car wash" and "teenaged Athena." Logue (Prince Charming: A Memoir) strikes a terrific balance between poetic elevation and abject stupidity, conveying at once the terrible power and terrible banality of violence: "`There's Bubblegum!' `He's out to make his name!'/ `He's charging us!' `He's prancing!' `Get that leap!'/ THOCK! THOCK!" This book's brilliant cover montage somehow makes three framed shots of the back of a police van spell out "Spoils" and "Polis"-an excellent introduction to the mordant puns and rapid-fire sonic play to be found within. (Apr. 15) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374102951
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 3/19/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 64
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Logue is a screenwriter, a film actor, and the author of several books of poems. He lives in London, England.

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