I have made it my business over the past couple of years to find and read copies of all of the major translations of Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey. While I very much love the elegant and classy translations by Richmond Lattimore (The Iliad, 1951; The Odyssey, 1965), I'd have to say that my current favorites are those by the late Robert Fagles (The Iliad, 1990; The Odyssey, 1996). In my opinion, the Fagles translations are eminently readable and enthralling, and it is my understanding that he did a truly masterful job of adapting the original meaning of the Greek into the idiom of Modern English. Well, at any rate, it sure works for me!
Anyway, I've just recently become aware of a new translation of Homer's The Iliad by Stephen Mitchell that is being released on October 11, 2011, published by Free Press. From the reviews I've managed to find and read, Mitchell is well qualified and up to the task of giving the world this new translation of The Iliad. In fact, a publication release I found on-line may provide a bit of the back-story of why Mitchell felt compelled to tackle his own translation of this epic poem--
"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."Well, I for one, can't wait to get my grubby little paws on a brand-spanking-new hardcover edition of this book and dive in and form my own opinion. I'm also seriously contemplating picking up my well-read copy of Fagles' translation and giving it a reread over the next couple of weeks, just so I'll have something to compare and contrast.
Finally, I've just found out that Stephen Mitchell is coming to the independent bookseller, Vroman's Bookstore, in Pasadena on Saturday, November 5th at 4:00 p.m., for a book-signing and discussion of his new translation of The Iliad. Yup, you guessed it, I'll be there. Wouldn't miss it for the world!