The Iliad (The Stephen Mitchell Translation)

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-08-14
  • Publisher: Atria Books

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TOLSTOY CALLED THE ILIAD A miracle; Goethe said that it always thrust him into a state of astonishment. Homer's story is thrilling, and his Greek is perhaps the most beautiful poetry ever sung or written. But until now, even the best English translations haven't been able to re-create the energy and simplicity, the speed, grace, and pulsing rhythm of the original. In Stephen Mitchell's Iliad, the epic story resounds again across 2,700 years, as if the lifeblood of its heroes Achilles and Patroclus, Hector and Priam flows in every word. And we are there with them, amid the horror and ecstasy of war, carried along by a poetry that lifts even the most devastating human events into the realm of the beautiful. Mitchell's Iliad is the first translation based on the work of the preeminent Homeric scholar Martin L. West, whose edition of the original Greek identifies many passages that were added after the Iliad was first written down, to the detriment of the music and the story. Omitting these hundreds of interpolated lines restores a dramatically sharper, leaner text. In addition, Mitchell's illuminating introduction opens the epic still further to our understanding and appreciation. Now, thanks to Stephen Mitchell's scholarship and the power of his language, the Iliad's ancient story comes to moving, vivid new life.

Author Biography

Stephen Mitchell is widely known for his ability to make ancient masterpieces thrillingly new, to step in where many have tried before and to create versions that are definitive for our time. His many books include the bestselling Tao Te Ching, Gilgamesh, The Book of Job, Bhagavad Gita, The Second Book of the Tao, and The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. His website is stephenmitchellbooks.com.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xv
About the Greek Textp. lvii
About This Translationp. lix
On the Pronunciation of Greek Namesp. lxiii
Mapp. lxiv
The Iliad
The quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles. Achilles withdraws from the war and sends his mother, Thetis, to beg Zeus to help the Trojans. Zeus agrees. (Day 1, after nine days of plague, through day 14.)p. 1
Agamemnon tests the troops, who immediately disperse. Odysseus restores order. Thersítes insults Agamemnon and is thrashed by Odysseus. The Achaeans march to battle. The Catalogue of Ships: lists of the Achaean and Trojan forces. (Night before day 15; day 15.)p. 18
Paris challenges Menelaus to single combat. Helen and Priam observe the Achaean commanders from the wall of Troy. The two armies declare a truce and take a solemn oath not to break it. When Paris is defeated, Aphrodite saves him and carries him back to the palace. Paris and Helen in their bedroomp. 42
Zeus quarrels with Hera and Athena, then sends Athena to Troy to break the truce. She persuades Pandarus to shoot an arrow at Menelaus. Agamemnon sends for Macháon to heal his brother, then visits the commanders, praising some and rebuking others. The two armies fightp. 55
The exploits of Diomedes. He kills Pandarus and wounds Aeneas. Aphrodite rescues Aeneas but is wounded by Diomedes. Ares encourages the Trojans, and Aeneas, cured by Apollo, returns to the battle. Athena and Hera help the Achaeans, and Diomedes wounds Ares.p. 70
The encounter between Glaucus and Diomedes. Hector returns to Troy and speaks with Hecuba, Helen, Paris, and finally Andromache. Hector and Paris return to the fighting.p. 94
The combat between Hector and Ajax. Hector is losing when night comes on and the combat is halted. The burial of the dead. The Achaeans build a defensive wall and trench around their ships. (Night before day 16; days 16 and 17.)p. 109
Zeus forbids the gods to intervene in the war. Hector, inspired by Zeus, drives the Achaeans back behind their wall. Hera and Athena go to help the Achaeans, but Zeus sends Iris to intercept them. Hectors triumph is ended by the arrival of night. The Trojans bivouac on the plain. (Day 18.)p. 122
The embassy to Achilles. Odysseus, Phoenix, and Ajax in turn try to persuade him to accept Agamemnon's gifts of reconciliation and return to the war, but Achilles refuses. (Evening of day 18.)p. 137
The exploits of Agamemnon. He drives the Trojans back until he is wounded. Hector is hit by Diomedes, who is then wounded by Paris. Odysseus is wounded as well. Nestor urges Patroclus to enter the battle. (Day 19.)p. 157
The Trojans attack the Achaeans' wall. Hector breaks through it, and the Trojans swarm in. The Achaeans retreat to their ships.p. 180
Poseidon rallies the Achaeans. The exploits of Idómeneus. Hector rallies the Trojans.p. 193
Discussion between Nestor and the three wounded Achaean commanders. Hera seduces Zeus and puts him to sleep. In his absence, Poseidon rallies the Achaeans. Ajax wounds Hector.p. 216
Zeus wakes up and orders Poseidon to leave the battlefield. Apollo heals Hector and smashes the Achaean wall. The Trojans push the Achaeans back among their ships.p. 230
Patroclus gets Achilles' permission to borrow his armor and march out at the head of the Myrmidon troops. The Trojans set Protesiláüs's ship on fire. Patroclus leads the Myrmidons into battle and drives back the Trojans, but is killed by Euphárbus and Hector, with Apollo's help.p. 250
The battle around Patroclus's body.p. 273
Achilles'grief over Patroclus. Thetis goes to Hephaestus, who creates magnificent new armor for Achilles.p. 294
Achilles is reconciled with Agamemnon, puts on the armor, and goes out to fight. (Day 20.)p. 311
The gods hold a council. A combat between Achilles and Aeneas is interrupted by Poseidon, who saves Aeneas. Achilles kills many Trojans.p. 323
The battle between Achilles and the river Scamander. The gods fight among themselves. Achilles drives the Trojans inside their wall.p. 336
Achilles chases Hector around the wall of Troy and finally kills him, with Athena's help.p. 353
The funeral ofPatroclus and the funeral games. (Evening of day 20 through day 22.)p. 367
Zeus commands Achilles to return HectorÆs body and commands Priam to go to Achilles' hut with a large ransom. Priam is led to the hut by Hermes. The encounter between Priam and Achilles. The funeral of Hector. (Evening of day 22 through day 45.)p. 393
Appendix: Book 10p. 417
Notes on the Introductory Sectionsp. 431
Notes on the Translationp. 445
Notes on the Greek Textp. 467
Pronouncing Glossaryp. 471
Bibliographyp. 477
Acknowledgmentsp. 479
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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