Archived in 2022

Originally posted on 31 Oct 2006

Robert Fagles, NYT best-selling translator of Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad has just locked his epic hat trick by publishing a new translation of Vergil’s Aeneid.

In a word: Wow.

It’s not that he’s slogged his way through thousands of lines of text. It’s not that he’s done it three times. It’s that each time this man does this sort of thing he does it so damn well. Translating these things isn’t just a matter of matching word A with English meaning B and then slapping all the words together to form sentences. Fagles does a quite literally beautiful job of capturing the tone and spirit of the original. He respects the original work and manages to avoid overlaying his own voice on that of the author(s). Along the way, he produces some very readable and accessible literature.

If you get the chance, drop by your local bookstore and browse through some of these translations. Or, better yet, actually buy them.