Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Iliad of Homer

Audiocourse: Iliad of Homer by Professor Elizabeth Vandiver
Rating: 5

I am reading the Iliad and thought it would be helpful to listen to this course.  I would highly recommend anything by Professor Vandiver - she has a gift of making the material accessible and interesting.

The Iliad of Homer
Translated by Richmond Lattimore (Professor Vandiver's suggested translation)
First published: 750 BC
Rating: 5
Helpful resources: audio course (see above),  The Great Books: A Journey Through 2,500 Years of the West's Classic Literature by Anthony O'Hear, Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton.

Prior to reading, these were my preconceived ideas about The Iliad:  ancient literature, must know Greek to understand therefore inaccessible to the general public, uninteresting, old, irrelevant, boring, very difficult read so why bother?

 I was pleasantly surprised at the read-ability and accessibility of Lattimore's translation.  Listening to Professor Vandiver's lectures certainly helped.   There is a reason why this epic has not been lost to obscurity.  I found it to be very interesting and plan to journal through it, after which I will write a more thorough post.

The interaction and interplay of human and gods is sometimes funny, many times tragic and downright captivating.  It is a story of war that showcases all aspects of human drama and emotion:  courage, honor, sacrifice, love, revenge, hate, death, grief, fear, shame, nobility and fate.

The gods in Homer's world are immortal but not necessarily good.  In fact, O'Hear quotes Longinus, a first-century A.D writer: "as far as possible Homer made the humans in the Trojan War gods, and the gods human."  I would agree.

I have Lattimore's translation of The Odyssey of Homer on my nightstand and plan to tackle it next.

1 comment:

  1. Somehow I went into this book thinking that it would include the whole Trojan horse story and because of that I was disappointed. I kept waiting for that to happen. How funny that our preconceived notions can sometimes throw us completely when we read a book. Great review!