From e.g. and i.e. to metonymy and synecdoche, Greek and Latin have a tenacious hold on our language. Ever-evolving English capaciously welcomes "r u txting?" messages, e-books, and FedEx as a verb, but both the classics and old English endure at its roots. Let's take a look at two new books that demonstrate how the toga-clad still captures our attention and speaks across the centuries.


Stephen Mitchell's new translation of Homer's tale of Achilles's rage and the Trojan War leaves out hundreds of lines that some literary researchers claim were later interpolations. Lean and mean, The Iliad (The Stephen Mitchell Translation)  may set the classicists all a-twitter. (Yes, there are classicists on twitter.)


Rendering the ancient Greek verse in swift-moving five-beat blank verse, this translation is well worth reading, whether one has previously studied the work and misses the omitted sections or one comes to it fresh, aware only that it is a story of war as relevant to the young soldiers going to Iraq and Afghanistan today as it was to soldiers going to war throughout the past 2,700 years.



by Fricka on ‎12-12-2011 10:03 AM

Oh, oh. Another couple of books to add to my TBR pile! I'm probably due for a re-reading of The Odyssey anyway, so Stephen Mitchell's leaner & meaner version should be worth a look. The Swerve by Greenblatt looks interesting too. Oh, the joys of geek reading at Christmas-time! Huzzah!

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