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Old 10-24-2011, 09:39 AM   #1
ctol
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New Translation Of The Iliad

For those interested in Classical Literature I found these two articles about a new translation of the Iliad. The translator is Stephen Mitchell. I really like what I have read so far. My favorite translation still remains Robert Fitzgerald's however.

You can read a review of it here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/8...ll-review.html

There is a short interview with Mitchell here:

http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/10/19/o...f-translators/

And you can read the first chapter of his translation here:

http://books.simonandschuster.ca/Ili...7311/excerpt/1
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:24 AM   #2
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Interestingly, there was a recent post on MetaFilter on this topic. A lot of interesting comments about the value of various translators and I actually purchased a copy of the Robert Fagles translation from Amazon. I 'attempted' to read it in High School. I'll give it another try.
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:19 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgaiser View Post
Interestingly, there was a recent post on MetaFilter on this topic. A lot of interesting comments about the value of various translators and I actually purchased a copy of the Robert Fagles translation from Amazon. I 'attempted' to read it in High School. I'll give it another try.
And on a somewhat related note-the Atlantic interviewed Philip Gabriel about translating Haruki Murakami's latest novel. I guess Gabriel's advantage/disadvantage is that in his case, the author is still alive (and can write and speak english).
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:24 AM   #4
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I will have to pick this one up. The first chapter sample was quite enjoyable, and I always liked The Iliad anyways. I was probably one of the few in my school that enjoyed reading it.
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Old 10-24-2011, 01:11 PM   #5
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Thanks for posting this information, Ctol.

I have to say that any new translation would have to be very good in order to better E.V. Rieu's work. Rieu was the first editor of Penguin Modern Classics, and produced a superb modern prose translation of both the Illiad and the Odyssey.

I re-read his Illiad earlier this year, and am now re-visiting the Odyssey. But I'll make a point of taking a look at Stephen Mitchell's version as well.
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Old 10-24-2011, 01:39 PM   #6
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There are a lot of translations. Mile L prefers E.V. Rieu. ctol prefers Robert Fitzgerald. I've never read the Iliad and want to read it. It may sound silly, but the variety of translations is a reason that I've hesitated. Help me pick a translator?
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Old 10-24-2011, 01:45 PM   #7
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It is very much a matter of style and personal preference. I'm a big fan of Fagles, but then he was who I read first, so seems 'right'.
Best option would be download the samples for several different versions from Amazon and read the same section by several translators. That would probably let you find out which style fits you best.

As an example, this is the opening from Fitzgerald's and Fagles' translations:

Fitzgerald:
Quote:
Anger be now your song, immortal one,
Akhilleus’ anger, doomed and ruinous,
that caused the Akhaians loss on bitter loss
and crowded brave souls into the undergloom,
leaving so many dead men — carrion
for dogs and birds; and the will of Zeus was done.
Begin it when the two men first contending
broke with one another —
the Lord Marshal
Agamémnon, Atreus’ son, and Prince Akhilleus. . . .
Fagles:
Quote:
Rage — Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles,
murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls,
great fighters’ souls, but made their bodies carrion,
feasts for the dogs and birds,
and the will of Zeus was moving toward its end.
Begin, Muse, when the two first broke and clashed,
Agamemnon lord of men and brilliant Achilles. . . .
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:16 PM   #8
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I still like Alexander Pope:
Quote:
Achilles' wrath, to Greece the direful spring
Of woes unnumber'd, heavenly goddess, sing!
That wrath which hurl'd to Pluto's gloomy reign
The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain;
Whose limbs unburied on the naked shore,
Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore.
Since great Achilles and Atrides strove,
Such was the sovereign doom, and such the will of Jove!
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:29 PM   #9
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Or just grab one of the several from Project Gutenberg and read the first few stanzas to see if you like their style. Or be lazy and grab the one with the most downloads.
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:44 PM   #10
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Thanks to you and Gutenberg, I've read the beginning to four translations. Fagle's translation flows most naturally to my ear. I don't know if that means it's a better choice, but it feels the easiest to read.
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin8or View Post
There are a lot of translations. Mile L prefers E.V. Rieu. ctol prefers Robert Fitzgerald. I've never read the Iliad and want to read it. It may sound silly, but the variety of translations is a reason that I've hesitated. Help me pick a translator?
That and the fact that I simply can't stand reading poetry. I think it's fine for short verses, but a whole book... I'm bored after even one page and completely lost about the story...

I know I once read the Illiad and Odyssey in modern prose, but I can't find any ebooks like that now...
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