Since it was first published more than forty years ago, Robert Fitzgerald’s prizewinning translation of Homer’s battle epic has become a classic in its own right: a standard against which all other versions of The Iliad are compared. This definitive translation of Homer’s epic is timeless in its authority and always fresh in its vivid rendering of the preeminent war story of the Western world.
In keeping with the oral tradition of the time, Dan Stevens’s extraordinary narration makes this epic tale come alive. The listener becomes totally immersed in the adventure and drama of the story - this is the way The Iliad was meant to be experienced.
Also included on the program is a portion of the poem read in ancient Greek so that listeners may experience the lyricism and music of the original language.
©2004 Farrar, Staus, and Giroux (P)2014 Macmillan Audio
Dan Stevens is a wonderful narrator, and Robert Fitzgerald is a wonderful translator. The result here is one of the finest versions of The Iliad available.
It's hard to say what's so awe-inspiring about Fitzgerald’s verse. I don't read Greek, so I can only base my assessment on how it works as an English poem. I would call it crystalline, because the language has many sharply-edged facets. But that makes it sound static and over-engineered. And that's not right, because Fitzgerald’s verse is also rough and craggy like a mountain, and it cascades down cliffs like a waterfall. It's full of what Fitzgerald himself calls "the ruck of war."
The Iliad is largely dialogue, and it's in the back-and-forth speeches that Stevens really shines. His Homeric heroes don't just declaim, and their speeches are not just a continuation of the narrative by other means. Stevens gives them passion and turmoil. They express anger and sorrow, helplessness and despair, joy and excitement and overweening pride. In his hands, and with the sturdy foundation of Fitzgerald’s translation, the Homeric heroes in this audiobook LIVE.
One minor note about character names. Fitzgerald used transliterations of many of the names that are closer to the Greek but are odd-looking or -sounding to many people. The main character, for example, is Akhilleus. Two of the mighty Greek warriors are named Aias. Hector's mother is Hekabe. For this audiobook, the producers have substituted the more familiar forms (Achilles, Ajax) - though Hector’s mother remains Hekabe rather than Hecuba. I think this is the right decision: the poem is challenging enough even without the alternate names.
A couple of thoughts about the poem itself. Compared to the Odyssey, with its multi-layered narrative and symmetrical structure, The Iliad is pretty straightforward. Along its single chronological thread, there are many digressions and delays. Whole books (like Book 10) are given over to episodes that have nothing to do with the main action and don't advance it an inch. Heroes about to come to blows pause and recite pages of genealogy at each other. Parts of it read like they were written by committee.
Yet there are few works of literature that can reach the tragic grandeur of the death of Hector or even Patroclus; and I defy anyone with a heart to hear the encounter of Achilles and Priam without weeping.
So there's a lot of good stuff here. I can't wait to listen to the companion version of The Odyssey. There are so many good versions of Homer available on Audible, it would be hard to pick just one; and if I were a first-time listener, I'm not sure this is the one I would go with: the beauty of the language might be a distraction. But if you know the story and you want to be swept up by a narrative and linguistic treasure, this is definitely the one.
I enjoyed listening to The Iliad very much. I knew very little about the Trojan War but had seen the movie "Troy" (which tells the story with some alterations and without mentioning how the gods interacted with humans - a key element of the story). Stevens (of "Downton Abbey") was an excellent narrator and I don't think I would have gotten as much from the book if I had only read it. Chapter two was particularly uninteresting to me as it was a listing of all the ships and the linage of their Captains who traveled with Agamemnon to Troy. The story itself gave me a better understanding of the Ancient Greeks and their way of life. I will probably listen to this again in the future.
This audiobook was so amazing, I purchased a slew of other classics, hoping to recreate the profound appreciation of the original work that this version enabled me to do
They are all amazing. This is the Illiad. Men and Gods, all iconic. Literally.
Too many to list here
Before Star Wars, before the Lord of the Rings...Homer's Illiad.
the iliad is one of those timeless stories that echoes throughout history, lending perspective to modern events and relationships. Dan Stevens gives an engaging performance. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
Excellent narration of the timeless classic.
I have listened to this version 20 years after reading The Iliad for the first time and now I could enjoy it from completely different perspective!
This translation is superior to others I have read. Highly recommended!
A translation that begins with a word summing up the entire "Iliad" promises much, and it doesn't fail this promise. I am so happy that this version has been made available – in the same class as Richmond Lattimore's translation,
It's a pleasure listening to Dan Stevens narrate. He makes every story he narrates exciting. Fitzgerald's translation of The Iliad makes it easier to read and Dan Stevens narration of it makes it doubly exciting and so real. I feel as if I'm in the midst of the action.
very engaging and enjoyable performance . My first Audible book. If more are like this I will be a regular listener.
A beautiful reading of a spellbinding translation. I was hooked. Definitely recommended for anyone who is wondering what all the fuss is about.
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