Homer, The Iliad (Translated by Robert Fagles, with notes and an introduction by Bernard Knox, ©1990, Penguin 1998)
It’s more than a week since I finished reading The Prelude, and I’m already missing reading a couple of pages from a classic text first thing every morning. I’ve decided to take on Homer’s Iliad, which definitely fits the definition of a classic as a book that you can’t read for the first time. My copy of Robert Fagles’s translation was a Christmas gift a while back and has been begging for attention from my sagging To Be Read shelf ever since.
This is my first crack at the actual Iliad, but I have read many fragments, versions and variations of it. Here’s a list of the ones I remember:
- Kingsley’s Heroes, the Argonauts Club and the Queensland School Readers – from my parents, the ABC and primary school respectively – all told stories of Achilles, and almost certainly some parts of the Iliad
- The Classics Illustrated comic some time in the 1950s
- Book 2 of The Aeneid, Virgil’s account of the fall of Troy, which I studied in high school
- Alice Oswald’s Memorial, subtitled ‘an excavation of The Iliad‘, which presents only the deaths from Homer’s poem (here’s a link to my blog post)
- The 28 minute version in Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics (link to the podcast)
- Pat Barker’s Silence of the Girls, which tells the story from the point of view of a captured woman (link to my blog post)
- David Malouf’s Ransom, which I’m pretty sure I haven’t read, but I feel as if I know it intimately from reading and hearing about it.
I made a start on it this morning. So far I’ve read the translator’s note and I’m part way through the learned Introduction by Bernard Knox. Getting excited already. I’ll report back in a month.