The great war epic of Western literature, translated by acclaimed classicist Robert Fagles
Dating to the ninth century B.C., Homer’s timeless poem still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods wrestling with towering emotions and battling amidst devastation and destruction, as it moves inexorably to the wrenching, tragic conclusion of the Trojan War. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox observes in his superb introduction that although the violence of the Iliad is grim and relentless, it coexists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace.
Combining the skills of a poet and scholar, Robert Fagles, winner of the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, brings the energy of contemporary language to this enduring heroic epic. He maintains the drive and metric music of Homer’s poetry, and evokes the impact and nuance of the Iliad’s mesmerizing repeated phrases in what Peter Levi calls “an astonishing performance.”
©1990 Robert Fagles; (P)1991 HighBridge Audio
I own this book and have been intending to read it for years. When I found it available on Audible, I knew that I would finally "read" it, and began listening to it. It was one of the first Audible books I purchased.
Being somewhat ignorant on the subjects dealt with in this book, I had to listen to the first hour about four times before it made sense to me, but I am so happy that I did. The rest of it was a piece of cake - very delicious. Who would have thought Homer would be so descriptive, funny, endearing and enlightening? I guess that is why this work has endured for so long.
I soon learned that the narrator makes or breaks an audio book, and Derek Jacobi is absolutely unbeatable as a narrator. I could listen to him all day. His characterizations are suburb. He made me laugh and cry. I will definitely listen to this one again and again.
This work is nothing short of magnificent. Superb translation and wonderful reading of the very poetic font of Western Civilization. Derek Jacobi's narration of the great battle scenes send chills down the spine. Leaves no doubt that the Iliad was made to be heard not read. I can't imagine anyone not being thrilled with this recording.
I have always loved Jacobi as an actor, but he cannot (or does not) top McKellen's reading of the Odyssey -- an impossible act to follow.
As for this Iliad, Fagles' translation is just as good as everyone says. True poetry. Jacobi's reading is adequate, but not as thoughtful or subtle as I'd expect of him. I'm guessing this was done in one take with very little or no research. Probably rushed. He lays on his unique brand of drama thick in places it does not really belong at all, and seemed to be faking his way through this reading in other ways too. I can make no sense at all of the random snippets read by Maria Tucci. Was there any thought behind that? I don't think so. Probably those were passages Jacobi had mangled the first go-round; and, having no way to get him back to the studio, they brought Tucci to the rescue. She does a good enough job, but I found it distracting listening to her -- mainly b/c I spent too much time wondering why the hell we needed a new narrator all of a sudden.
Harsh review, I know, but really: when dealing with a text as great as this one the publishers should have taken more care to rise to the occasion. They fell short, so this "only" warrants four stars. Could have, and should have, been a slam-dunk five.
The team is perfect. Fagles was the man, and the narrators do a great job. But, when I bought the book, it said "unabridged" and it still does, in my library. On the site, it now says Abridged. Would have been nice to know.
Audible customer service is such, that "why bother?" comes to mind.
I read this book for a class earlier in the year and really enjoyed the parts about the hero Diomedes. I was extremely disappointed when the parts I enjoyed the most were skipped.
Errgh--why would you abridge THE ILIAD?! Especially when Derek Jacobi is reading it. He's awesome. But then, so is Homer.
Both. It's beautiful.
Derek Jacobi demonstrates how a book should be read. He maintains a consistent voice for each and every character in the Iliad.
From the hard, cold martial air of Achilles to the languid sensuality of Paris to the twisted, biting sarcasm of Thersites, he makes the characters come alive on the strength of his voice.
This is exactly how a 3000 year old blind poet should sound on your iPod.
My only complaint is that the "next" function does not actually take me to the next book. I am a teacher, and would like to play the audio for my class who is reading from the textbook. The textbook only has certains books from the Iliad, but I can't find them on the audio, so it was a completely wasted purchase for me.
Important parts were skipped over and not even mentioned in the short summaries. Because of this the listener loses key aspects of the characters makeup and thus, misses great opportunities to interpret and understand seemingly simple dialogue and actions.
Most interesting: good story line. Least interesting: narrator
The narrator kept trying to have different voices for the characters, but failed. He's start up initially with a unique sounding voice, but after a few lines he would lose it and then all the characters voices would blend together making it extra difficult to follow.
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