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Epic poetic

They threw over the anchor stones and made fast the stern cables
and themselves stepped out on to the break of the sea beach,
and led forth the hecatomb of the archer Apollo,
and Chryseis herself stepped forth from the sea-going vessel. (Lattimore, from Iliad)

Lattimore's translation of Homer's epic preserves the formal structure of the language, but reading it aloud doesn't seem to have the same effect as does reciting Fagles' translation:

Out went the bow-stones--cables fast astern--
and the crew themselves climbed out in the breaking surf,
leading out the sacrifice for the archer god Apollo,
and out of the deep-sea ship Chryseis stepped too. (Fagles, from Iliad)

Here the poem reads more like the lyrics of a song. The beats appear more rapidly, thus the rhythm picks up and the action in the poem seems more lively. The use of a different vocabulary--including nouns like "crew" and "surf," verbs like "climbed," and modifiers like "deep-sea"--change the mood and imagery of the poem significantly. The removal of the presence of the crew in the first line here also has an effect, making it seem like the ship has taken on a life of its own.

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Comments

Chris,

Excellent observation. I agreed in my entry on this reading that Lattimore definitely keeps Homer's language intact. It's evident even by glancing at the two passages on the same page that they're written with different intent.

I can see Lattimore's version being told around a lazy campfire, where people are settled in for the night ready to listen to a story, as we often fall asleep after watching a movie.

Fagles writes with more suspense, as if to be preformed on stage. I agree it's much like a song because of the rhythmic qualities.

The use of rhyme served as a great memorization tool. Just as we, modern man, writes a speech, we memorize off the paper, preparing for the oral talk.

as I learned in Form and Analysis 1. the greeks would recite poetry to flute and other tyoes of music. May be the translator was trying to re-create how he thought the poem would have sounded, maybe as part of the neo-classicism movement.

at the same time, maybe the translator was modernize the poem a little bit. Parts of Hamlet have had that done

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