Homer's exact lifetime is unknown, but it is estimated as around 700-800 BC. Homer wrote the epic poems of 'The Iliad' and 'The Odyssey' and has had an enormous influence on the history of literature. He is considered the greatest of the ancient Greek poets.
Homer's Iliad and Odyssey are among the oldest and most influential works in the Western canon, with verse translations by Robert Fitzgerald, Richmond Lattimore, and, more recently, Robert Fagles as standouts. This year brings two new verse translations, this one by a writer who is not only a seasoned translator but a poet himself. Working from the Greek edition of M.L. West, Mitchell offers a vigorous and readable translation. To match the speed and energy of Homer's Greek, he adapts, like Fagles, a loosely iambic English line instead of Homer's hexameter, which, while thrusting in Greek, becomes ponderous in English. Mitchell also seeks a diction that sounds natural to a modern reader and, while idiomatic, avoids the colloquial. The results are good poetry as well as a competent translation. VERDICT This version joins that of Fagles for readers who want a good reading version of the Iliad. For those more interested in catching a sense of the specifics of Homer's own language, Anthony Verity's translation, reviewed below, might be preferred.-T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.