A man seduces another's wife then kidnaps her. The husband and his brother get a gang together to steal her back and take revenge. The woman regrets being seduced and wants to escape whilst the man's entourage resent the position they have been placed in. Yet the battle lines have been drawn and there is no going back....
Not the plot of the latest Hollywood thriller, but the basis of The Iliad - the Greek classic that details the war between the Greeks and the Trojans after the kidnapping of Helen of Sparta. Based on the superb M.L. West edition of the Greek, this Iliad is more readable and moving than any previous version. Thanks to the scholarship and poetic power of the highly acclaimed Stephen Mitchell, this new translation recreates the energy and simplicity, the speed, grace, and continual thrust and pull of the original.
Book 10, recognized since ancient times as a later addition to the Iliad, has been omitted in this translation.
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Stephen Mitchell, Yes, Homer, not so much. Alfred Molina was delightful.
Stephen Mitchell's translations of the Bhagavad Gita and the Tao Te Ching are amongst my most prized possessions. I would read a shopping list by Mitchell, and bought this book on the strength of that. Unfortunately, whilst the text was beautifully written, I found the fighting and mayhem tedious. It was like a Shoot-em-up movie's car chase that just went on and on and on, and you find yourself going off to the fridge to get another beer. It could handle a good abridging, I suppose. Then again, parts of the story were most touching and wonderful.
Probably the various scenes of the gods discussing the battle and their strategies. Moments of reflection on the part of Achilles were also wonderfully written.
I think Homer did that with the Odyssey, didn't he?
I was in equal parts delighted and bored stiff. It was the best of books, it was the worst of books. I accept that that is probably just a poor reflection on my cultural development, but there you go. Joe Ordinary, beware.
Brilliant intro; Fab translation; Great reader
- Caroline Lawrence