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The Iliad: A New Translation

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Reception to follow

The Iliad: A New Translation

Caroline Alexander and Gregory Nagy

Composed around 730 B.C.E., Homer’s Iliad recounts the events of a few momentous weeks in the protracted ten-year war between the invading Achaeans, or Greeks, and the Trojans in their besieged city of Ilion (Troy). From the confrontation between Achilles and Agamemnon through to its tragic conclusion, this ancient tale of a Bronze Age conflict becomes a sublime and sweeping evocation of the destruction of war throughout the ages.

Join us for a conversation between Caroline Alexander, the first woman to have published an English translation of the Iliad, and Gregory Nagy, one of the great Homeric and Iliadic scholars of our age. The audience is encouraged to ask questions about the work: "Why read it? Why does it matter? Why has it endured?"—which will provoke wide-ranging reflection during the Q&A portion to follow.

Caroline Alexander is the author of the bestselling book The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition which has been translated into thirteen languages. She writes frequently for The New Yorker and National Geographic, and she is the author of The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War. She established the classics department at Chancellor College in Zomba, part of the University of Malawi, during the rule of Hastings Banda.

Gregory Nagy is the Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, the Curator of the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature, and Director of Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies. Nagy is a renowned authority in the field of Homeric and related Greek studies. His numerous honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Goodwin Award of Merit of the American Philological Association for his book, The Best of the Achaeans. In addition to this path-breaking work, he has most recently published Homeric Responses and Homer's Text and Language as well as edited or co-edited various volumes and written almost a hundred articles and reviews. Nagy has lectured widely in North America and Europe on a great range of topics, especially concentrated in Homeric and Archaic Greek questions. He is a strong proponent of the use of technology in teaching, and in the teaching and use of student writing in the core curriculum.

Make an appointment in the Vershbow Special Collections Reading Room to compare Caroline Alexander’s translation of the Iliad with other English translations, including those by William Cowper, George Chapman, and Alexander Pope.

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