Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Iliad by Homer

TOLSTOY CALLED THE ILIAD A miracle; Goethe said that it always thrust him into a state of astonishment. Homer’s story is thrilling, and his Greek is perhaps the most beautiful poetry ever sung or written. But until now, even the best English translations haven’t been able to re-create the energy and simplicity, the speed, grace, and pulsing rhythm of the original. In Stephen Mitchell’s Iliad, the epic story resounds again across 2,700 years, as if the lifeblood of its heroes Achilles and Patroclus, Hector and Priam flows in every word. And we are there with them, amid the horror and ecstasy of war, carried along by a poetry that lifts even the most devastating human events into the realm of the beautiful. 

I am taking a history course right now and find this time period fascinating. This was an audio read for me and I am glad that I went that route with this book.  The reader did a wonderful job and I felt like I was right there, his tone of voice was perfect, smooth and easy to listen to.  

This is a new translation and I was drawn by the cover (covers do it to me all the time).  Stephen Mitchell has translated other poems and comes highly recommended.

About the story, I know next to nothing about the Trojan wars (only that it lasted 10 years) and from the movie Troy.  My course didn't really dwell much on it either.  I found this poem was focused quite a bit on the gods and knowing nothing not much about them I learned a lot.  Sort of a who is who of gods.  There was also a lot of names and at one point thought that I was going to actually hear about each of the 1000 ships and who was one them.  Am I complaining?  No I really enjoying this audio it brought a time period to life for me that was hard to imagine and I am glad I took the time read it.  Honestly I think I can see myself reading this one again too.

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