Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Published English Translations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey

Direct link

A nice directory of numerous translations with dates, form, useful comments and links where available.  I think it's fascinating and stumbled across it while trying to find out if there had ever been a translation using the original meter (dactylic hexameters which would be close to unreadable in English - and of course there have been some attempts).

Most of the translators are unfamiliar to me though there are surprises such as one from Thomas Hobbes.  (Oxford currently has an edition in print which claims it's a translation "of a great poet by a great philosopher".  They must have really been desperate for something nice to say.)

There's also a couple done into Spenserian stanzas which is so inexplicable that the translator must have felt the need for a challenge.

It's missing one recent translation of the Iliad by Caroline Alexander but there's enough here to stay busy for a while.

My only real and minor complaint is that the comments are at the end of the excerpts so you can't easily skim the selections.  Then again that keeps the main page clean so maybe it's a trade off.