I suppose that I’ll try to see the new movie based loosely on some old poem by Homer, who starred in The Simpsons. A colleague who saw the film panned it and told me that the whole business of the love between Achilles and Patroclus was taken out, which made it pretty ridiculous when Achilles screams at Hector, “You killed my…..cousin!” Uh, right. That would explain all the rage and the dragging of Hector around the city. I’ll do penance for seeing the movie by re-reading the book.

3 Responses to “Troy”

  1. I would like to join your unnamed friend in panning the movie. I was not bored, and it was not terrible, but it definitely did not live up to the hype. The acting is pretty bad and the chemistry of the movie is plain awful at times. Brad Pitt saves a few scenes as does Peter O’Toole (did I get his name right?).

    Interestingly, the Illiad is one of my probable summer reads. I was looking at the Fagle translation. Any suggestions?

  2. Tom G. Palmer

    Great choice of a summer book. I think that the Fagles translation is quite vivid, especially for the Odyssey. But the translation of the Iliad is also good. Lattimore’s is also a fine translation, but it didn’t bring the work alive (for me, at least) like Fagles’ does.

    Also, avoid the Rowse translation (I’m pretty sure that was the one), which was awful:

    Achilles says,

    “Death is waiting if you work,
    Death is waiting if you shirk.”

    Another memorable line:

    “You work all night, you work all day,
    and all you get is equal pay.”

    No wonder Achilles was so pissed off….with lines like that.

  3. Fagles is my favorite as well. Lattimore seems to be most popular with the scholars because his translation is very precise, but with poetry, I like a degree of license when it helps create in the reader the emotional power that the original would create in a native speaker.

    Another example of this is Edith Hamilton’s translation of Prometheus Bound, which I much prefer to the others, even though it’s certainly not a literal translation. The last line of the play, which carries a great deal of emotional depth, is rendered as something like “I am treated unjustly” by Lattimore and other literal-minded translators, while Hamilton makes it “I am wronged.” I think the latter has a lot more power.