Anxious Mo-Fo

An anxious m*********** from Seattle

George Chapman’s Iliad

with one comment

Starts off with a bang:

Achilles’ banefull wrath resound, O Goddesse, that imposed
Infinite sorrowes on the Greekes, and many brave soules losd
From breasts Heroique–sent them farre, to that invisible cave
That no light comforts; and their lims to dogs and vultures gave.
To all which Jove’s will gave effect; from whom first strife begunne
Betwixt Atrides, king of men, and Thetis’ godlike Sonne.

I found a used copy for four dollars. I guess I can thank most of you for not reading poetry: if you did, it probably would have cost me more.

Update Jan. 4th, 2010: It is not available on Gutenberg, but there is a somewhat lame Google Books version online.

Written by JPP

August 16, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Posted in Books, Poetry

One Response

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  1. In my opinion (and I have read the Iliad in Greek during some graduate work) Chapman’s reworking of it actually improves upon it. Chapman’s verse is more rhythmical, and it even rhymes, which may not have meant anything to poets of Homer’s day, but it sure sounds fantastic in English! The longer verse length in Chapman allows him to interpret the poem and draw out meaning that a thoughtful meditative person might draw out of such a great epic. I judge translators of Homer not by how close their poem stands to Homer’s but by how much they have been able to improve on his. If you have a model in front of your face that you are reworking into your native tongue, you should be able to make it better than it was in the original, since you can focus only on HOW you tell the story, but not WHAT you tell.


    July 12, 2011 at 7:40 pm

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