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Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Homer's ILIAD should be read by every literate person who strives to be well-educated, and Caroline Alexander's , modern translation is an excellent way to read it. It is sound, solid, clear and direct, and respectful of Homer's original. Her English syntax is natural and flowing, understandable but not as in some other recent, modern versions flippant or too colloquial. I rate the translation 5-stars, though I was initially tempted to rate this ebook edition of it at least one star lower because of its formatting.
As very good as Alexander's translation is, this ebook edition doesn't do it justice with regard to its textual formatting. Between indents and long-line carry-overs, the left margin unevenly zig-zags in-and-out on a Kindle screen. Just when I thought I had it figured out some double-indents appeared to add to the confusion.
Sadly, downloading a sample won't reveal this; the sample will only provide pages from the Introduction, whose modern prose is quite properly and comfortably presented. It is the poetry of the ILIAD itself whose indented lines are so annoyingly erratic, and this will only be evident to those who actually purchase it and read beyond the sample. Interestingly, in the very first few screens of this ebook which do appear in the sample , a note from the publisher appears concerning this matter, apparently recognizing it as a possible source of confusion but essentially saying in effect that's how it is on a small-screen device, it's the nature of the beast, and readers must try to get used to it.
But more importantly, I have since discovered the formatting is IDEAL if the text is viewed in wider-screen, landscape mode on one's Kindle device. If you are able to make that adjustment something my Kindle Paperwhite could not do until the last upgrade , the formatting problem is virtually solved and the long lines appear comfortably normal. There have been numerous translations of the ILIAD in recent years, but while I suspect in time many of them will fall by the wayside, this one may not.
But great though it is, it will survive in the economic marketplace only if it is competitively priced with those others. The first translation of the ILIAD was by George Chapman , a formal and majestic Elizabethan English version in verse that is of interest today mainly in connection to its role in literary history.
- The Internet Classics Archive | The Iliad by Homer!
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It's probably best to also steer clear of one by William Cowper Two old translations that remain popular, are easy to obtain in public domain editions, and ARE worth reading are by Alexander Pope , in verse and Samuel Butler , in very readable prose. A one by W. Rouse is serviceable and generally okay. Likewise, Robert Graves offers a novelized version that is very readable but not a strict translation. Rieu's popular version , and this one by Caroline Alexander Peter Green's highly literate translation is technically excellent but not as readable as the three just mentioned.
Several other good, recent ones are by Michael Reck , but now hard-to-find , Ian Johnston , and A. Three recent ones that I don't particularly care for are by Stephen Mitchell , who omits too much textual content , Stanley Lombardo , and Barry B. These are just SOME of the other translations available. Homer's "Iliad" is a truly 5-star great work of literature, and I certainly agree with all the other reviewers who extol its virtues, but the person who translates this epic poem into English from the archaic Greek is all-important to one's appreciation and enjoyment of it.
One needn't suffer through a poor translation when good ones are available. For that reason, I suspect few of the rave reviewers, though they quite rightly love and enjoy the "Iliad," have actually endured THAT particular public domain translation of it. Disappointingly, the AmazonClassics edition does not identify its translator seemingly Derby, but in any case, just as bad , though it HAS added line numbers. Faithfulness to the original language AND readability are what one seeks in any translation of the "Iliad," and the translator must strike a proper balance between the two.
Greek sentences are structured differently from English sentences, and adhering too strictly to Greek word order and syntax will result in very awkward English. Throw Homer's poetic form into the equation and the result can be a very unreal English syntax. The translator has to determine what Homer said and meant back then in Greek and decide how BEST to communicate that to us today in English. There is no particular virtue in reading a sometimes convoluted Elizabethan or Victorian rendering of the "Iliad" in iambic pentameter or heroic couplets since Homer used neither unless one especially enjoys reading such.
In fact, foundational differences in the two languages prevent a true equivalence in English of Homer's original poetic structure in Greek; that is the reason why many translators, considering any such versification to be artificial at best and dishonest at worst, render this work in prose. But at the very least Homer's poetic form was comparatively simpler and his linguistic expression was more direct than some older translators using English poetical formats make him seem; that is why other translators now often choose free verse as being an acceptable alternative to either complex metrical forms or prose.
Of course, being readable or "understandable" is not the same as being "easy," and being too simple or too contemporary is no more of a virtue than being too difficult or too old-fashioned; rendering Homer's Greek into remedial-reader English or today's slangy vernacular is inappropriate, inaccurate and does the modern reader a disservice -- so one must choose one's "Iliad" and one's translator of it very carefully a task not made any easier by countless Kindle Store editions -- like the one from AmazonClassics -- whose blurbs fail to identify the translator, or which seem to describe one translation but actually provide another.
Below in no particular order are various translations most, but not all of them, good that I have read and can personally attest to. Several are available as ebooks; others may have to be obtained new or used in paperback or hardcover. Some adopt a poetic format; the others which I have specifically indicated are in prose. Perhaps due to its having been somewhat over-hyped, academicians now seem less enthralled by it than they once were, some on the grounds that Fagles does not always strictly adhere to Homer -- but usually that claim is made when comparing Fagles' to more literal translations, ones that are more scholarly but much less readable.
I find his version quite sound, and I and many others still like it.
The Odyssey (The Samuel Butler Prose Translation)
I think it merits serious consideration as an excellent first choice and a contender for favorite translation. Rieu's original prose version from Penguin was very understandable but in some specific instances treated Homer a tad too freely. This has been remedied in the present prose version, expertly updated by Peter Jones in I liked the original very much, but I like the update even better.
This is also a very good first choice and a favorite of many.
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Rouse provided a sometimes loose but generally serviceable, prose rendering which was long available as a popular, low-priced paperback. At one time this self-proclaimed "plain language" version was widely used in many public schools because it was inexpensive and considered easier-to-understand than other pre versions then available; with newer versions today, that ease is debatable. At present, it may not be easy to locate a copy outside of a used book store since it seems to be out-of-print.
Though it seems to be lesser known, it is faithful to the Greek yet with comfortable English syntax. It also is not easy to find; an ebook edition, available when I originally wrote this in , has sadly since disappeared from the Kindle Store. I haven't seen this lately, but it is very readable, and I treasure my battered old copy. It is much heralded but more scholarly and more difficult to read than other modern versions; it is widely regarded as THE very best translation.
While I recognize its true greatness, it is not my favorite due to its awkward English syntax making it, for me, a chore to read. Many names are spelled less familiarly such that "Achilles" becomes "Akhilleus". I have a love-hate relationship to this version. This translation is intended to supplement a work entitled The Authoress of the Odyssey, which I published in I shall not here argue the two main points dealt with in the work just mentioned; I have nothing either to add to, or to withdraw from, what I have there written.
The points in question are: Both contentions were urged also without rejoinder in the Johnian Eagle for the Lent and October Terms of the same year. Nothing to which I should reply has reached me from any quarter, and knowing how anxiously I have endeavoured to learn the existence of any flaws in my argument, I begin to feel some confidence that, did such flaws exist, I should have heard, at any rate about some of them, before now.
Without, therefore, for a moment pretending to think that scholars generally acquiesce in my conclusions, I shall act as thinking them little likely so to gainsay me as that it will be incumbent upon me to reply, and shall confine myself to translating the Odyssey for English readers, with such notes as I think will be found useful. Among these I would especially call attention to one on xxii.
The Odyssey by Samuel Butler
I have repeated several of the illustrations used in The Authoress of the Odyssey, and have added two which I hope may bring the outer court of Ulysses' house more vividly before the reader. I should like to explain that the presence of a man and a dog in the upper illustration is accidental, and was not observed by me till I developed the negative. In an appendix I have also reprinted the paragraphs explanatory of the plan of Ulysses' house, together with the plan itself. The reader is recommended to study this plan with some attention. In the preface of my translation of the Iliad  I have given my views as to the main principles by which a translator should be guided, and need not repeat them here, beyond pointing out that the initial liberty of translating poetry into prose involves the continual taking of more or less liberty throughout the translation; for much that is right in poetry is wrong in prose, and the exigencies of readable prose are the first things to be considered in a prose translation.
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That the reader, however, may see how far I have departed from strict construe, I will print here Messrs. Butcher and Lang's translation of the first sixty lines or so of the Odyssey.
Tell me, Muse, of that man, so ready at need, who wandered far and wide, after he had sacked the sacred  citadel of Troy, and many were the men whose towns he saw and whose minds he learnt, yea, and many the woes he suffered in his heart on the deep, striving to win his own life and the return of his company. Nay, but even so he saved not his company, though he desired it sore. For through the blindness of their own hearts they perished, fools, who devoured the oxen of Helios Hyperion: Of these things, goddess, daughter of Zeus whencesoever thou hast heard thereof, declare thou even unto us.
Now all the rest, as many as fled from sheer destruction, were at home, and had escaped both war and sea, but Odysseus only, craving for his wife and for his homeward path, the lady nymph Calypso held, that fair  goddess, in her hollow caves, longing to have him for her lord. But when now the year had come in the courses of the seasons, wherein the gods had ordained that he should return home to Ithaca; not even there was he quit of labours, not even among his own; but all the gods had pity upon him except Poseidon, who raged continually against godlike Odysseus, till he came to his own country.
Howbeit Poseidon had now departed to the distant Ethiopians, the Ethiopians that are sundered in twain, the uttermost of men, abiding some where Hyperion sinks and some where he rises. There he looked to receive his hecatomb of bulls and rams, there he made merry sitting at the feast, but the other gods were gathered in the halls of Olympian Zeus. Thinking upon him he spoke out among the Immortals.
For of us they say comes evil, whereas they even of themselves, through the blindness of their own hearts have sorrows beyond what is ordained. Download PDF file — release 1. Download ePub file — release 1. Download Mobi file — release 1. All versions contain the same text, but on a device with a large enough screen the carefully typeset PDF versions will give you the best reading experience. About the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey , we know nothing , and, barring some startling new discoveries, we never will.