"Homer is full of merriment, full of open fun and delicate comedy, even farce - as when Ares, wounded, bursts up to Olympus like a bomb. And the divine family! What a delightful natural party: human beings raised a degree or two, but all the same, funnier than that. They are the comic background for the tragedy below - for the story of Achilles is a tragedy - the fiery conflict of a man divided against himself, who in a few short days drops to the lowest hell of savagery, then rises to self-mastery and inward peace." - W.H.D. Rouse
(P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I have to disagree with the earlier negative reviews. The translation is the prose translation by W.H.D. Rouse, which is interesting and straightforward. If you are looking for iambic pentameter, the translation to read is Alexander Pope's, which was reprinted in paperback by Penguin within the last few years, but has not been recorded as far as I know. It is great poetry, but much less accurate than Rouse. Rouse may not be the latest and greatest translation out there, but if you are looking for an unabridged recording, this is a good choice. I prefer the Richmond Lattimore or Robert Fagles translations, but as far as I know they are only available in abridged recordings. The abridged recording of the Lattimore translation is also available from Audible, read by Anthony Quinn, but you are not getting the whole thing.
To me, Nadia May has a fine voice and it is perfectly intelligible to me.
The Nadia May reading of Rouse's "Odyssey" is quite wonderful and is available in format 4. The difference in sound quality between this and the format 2 used for this recording is striking. I think at least part of the "irritating timber" referred to in another review is the result of this: on the "Odyssey," May's voice is clear and strong; but here it quavers ever so slightly. The translation is my favorite prose version: not pseudo-Elizabethan but authentic early 20th century British. I give it 3 stars for audio quality; were it available in format 4, I'd probably give it 5.
If, like me, you both read and listen to books, select this as a reader, unless you like hearing how each and every man died in the Trojan war. Sorry guys, but I am a woman and just could not listen to how another man died from having a sword thrust into his back and through his blander or whatever (there are over 250 deaths described), no matter how beautiful the telling. I would love an abridged edition, where only the relevant deaths are described. Still, the Iliad is a great book and a must read, just not a “listen”. The narrator and translator were both wonderful, just too much death in one place, too well described (and read) for my tastes.
Some of the reviews above look to be about a different book. The version I heard was read by Anthony Heald and was very understandable.
Heald has a nice crisp pace that kept me engaged and did not let my mind wander. The reading does not sound like someone somberly reading a classic, but like they are telling a story and animated. His character voices were helpfully varied (maybe a tinsy inconsistent e.g. I think Hektor's voices varied across chapters - but I was never confused who was talking) and Heald's voice acting was engaging. The translation was helpful because it provided a sense of the prose of the original Iliad. I'm not qualified to say how accurate it was but it's use of rhyme and meter was not forced but done nicely in key places, such as when a character in an argument is stating some well-known axiom – which often live longer as a rhymed verse. As done, I appreciated it as I thought gave a sense of what meter in the Greek version must have felt like and how it could fit in such a story. I simultaneously read the Fitzgerald translation which lacked any attempt at meter and Rouse with Heald’s audio was a very good complement to that.
If you are looking for the beautiful Homeric Iambic Pentameter poety of Ancient Greece, you are NOT going to find it in this recording. The entire epic has been re-done in a pseudo-Elizabethan English prose, and read by one of the worst readers it has ever been my DISpleasure to listen to. Nadia May's voice not only has an irritating tembre to it, her accent is almost unintelligable to an American ear. The whole tone of her voice reminds me of a disapproving English Auntie.
Please note that I have reviewed many of the books I have gotten from Audible, and this is the first one I have completly panned. The book certainly did not deserve the 'One Star' rating I gave it, but there is no 'Zero Star' rating.
I would still like to find 'The Illiad' in the original version.
I found Charles's review of the recording of the W. H. D. Rouse or Butler translation of the 'Iliad' (I can't tell which) very helpful in certain particulars, but I think I should point out that the 'Iliad' was originally written in Greek in dactylic hexameter rather than the iambic pentameter that Charles suggests. In addition, a recording of the original would likely not be as helpful to Charles as he believes. I would recommend a reading of either the Fagles or Fitzgerald translations.
Thank you, Charles, for warning me away from the poor reading! I do not mean to take issue with you on that score and am indeed very grateful to you for it.
(See Reviewer: Charles, from Estacada, OR, USA Date: May 07, 2003)
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