As a scholar, Fagles praises Homer's directness and simplicity, the breadth of his imagination, and the power of his song. As a translator, he brilliantly captures these very qualities, which makes this Iliad not only a superb literary work, but a tremendous listening experience.
Translated by Robert Fagles.
©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.
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.
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.
I have to read this for class, and having the audiobook has been helpful to my time and understanding.
I have no problems with the Iliad itself, just with the audiobook version. Some of the sections of the printed book weren't even in the audiobook. Why, I'm not sure. Also, I often couldn't figure out where I was in the book because the printed book is divided up into Books, and the audio version was divided up into different chapters. Why can't you just do it as the books? Would be so much easier.
An avid reader, who also loves to listen.
A great story, lots of action and fighting, and a classic that has lasted the test of time. Excellent narration as well!
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.
I truly enjoyed this experience with The Iliad more than my previous couple of attempts at it (only one of which I got all of the way through.) This translation is so much more engaging than the previous ones which tried too hard to force a poetic meter to the story. Listening on audio with a skilled reader like Derek Jacobi was a real pleasure. The excitement of the story came through so well. Try this version of The Iliad.
I rented this as an unabridge book for my daughter who is studying 'The Iliad'. and she found out it has skipped many pages. now I look it up and it says abridge! Why would you audio this book as abridged?So many students read this and it is so helpful to have a complete book!
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.
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