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Memorial: A Version of Homer's Iliad | [Alice Oswald, Eavan Boland (afterword)]

Memorial: A Version of Homer's Iliad

Matthew Arnold praised the Iliad for its "nobility", as has everyone ever since - but ancient critics praised it for its enargeia, its "bright unbearable reality" (the word used when gods come to earth, not in disguise but as themselves). To retrieve the poem's energy, Alice Oswald has stripped away its story, and her account focuses by turns on Homer's extended similes and on the brief 'biographies' of the minor war-dead, most of whom are little more than names, but each of whom lives and dies unforgettably - and unforgotten - in the copiousness of Homer's glance.
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Publisher's Summary

"Matthew Arnold praised the Iliad for its "nobility", as has everyone ever since - but ancient critics praised it for its enargeia, its "bright unbearable reality" (the word used when gods come to earth, not in disguise but as themselves). To retrieve the poem's energy, Alice Oswald has stripped away its story, and her account focuses by turns on Homer's extended similes and on the brief 'biographies' of the minor war-dead, most of whom are little more than names, but each of whom lives and dies unforgettably - and unforgotten - in the copiousness of Homer's glance.

"The Iliad is an oral poem. This translation presents it as an attempt - in the aftermath of the Trojan War - to remember people's names and lives without the use of writing. I hope it will have its own coherence as a series of memories and similes laid side by side: an antiphonal account of man in his world... compatible with the spirit of oral poetry, which was never stable but always adapting itself to a new audience, as if its language, unlike written language, was still alive and kicking".
—Alice Oswald

©2011 Alice Oswald, Afterword copyright 2012 by Eavan Boland (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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    Adam Chicago 11-02-14
    Adam Chicago 11-02-14 Member Since 2012
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    Story
    "I Tried. Really, I Did."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    It's a great idea: the lost names of real human beings that Greece and Troy saw fit to sacrifice to an immortality for others who had a lot already but wanted more. I tried several times to get through this but couldn't put it all together. In fact, my insistence on trying several times to make heads or tails only resulted in futility. I have to admit that I never got to the end but that I sure tried. I was expecting some type of intimacy with common folk barricaded inside the walls or dying beneath the sun.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Modern Greek language or George RR Martin


    Would you be willing to try another one of Mark Ashby’s performances?

    I have no reason to remember his name, so perhaps by chance I will stumble across him again, for better or worse.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Eternal frustration. I can't quite claim my anger and sadness are the author's fault; ay, the world is far too imminently catastrophic. This poem was a great idea, so I'll go with disappointment. Coupled with my city's traffic, this audiobook just made my ADD worse.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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