Saturday, March 29, 2008

Robert Fagles, 1933-2008

From The Daily Princetonian:

Robert Fagles, the Arthur Marks '19 professor of comparative literature emeritus best known for his translations of Greek epic poems and other widely read classic texts, died in Princeton on Wednesday, March 26, after battling prostate cancer. He was 74.

Fagles' translations of Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey were both popularly and critically acclaimed. In 1991, the Academy of American Poets awarded him the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award for his translation of The Iliad, and his work on The Odyssey won him an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1996. . . .

"No translator of major writers in the Western literary tradition has ever met with the kind of success that Robert Fagles has enjoyed," Robert Hollander '55, professor of European literature and French and Italian emeritus, said in a statement issued by the University. "His 'trilogy,' both epics of Homer and that of Virgil, has brought these texts to life for over a million readers."
Robert Fagles, Translator of the Classics, Dies at 74 (New York Times)
Robert Fagles, celebrated translator of ancient epics, dies at age 74 (Princeton press release)

comments: 4

Jason said...

I didn't know very much about this man, other than what I heard from Bruce Guernsey in a few poetry courses I took from him, but I do have the translations of both _The Illiad_ and _The Odyssey_ that he did.

Michael Leddy said...

BG wrote a poem à la Keats, "On First Looking into Fagles' Homer."

I'm impressed by the way in which any dedicated translator serves another's art. For me though, Robert Fitzgerald and Stanley Lombardo offer much better versions of Homer in English.

Diana said...

That was a great interview that you linked to. In honor of Fagles, I finally finished his version of The Odyssey yesterday.

Michael Leddy said...

Good on you, Diana.

There's Paris Review Fagles interview, from 1999, that you might want to look up. For a while, the PR was putting its interviews online as free .pdfs, but many have now disappeared. The Fagles interview never made it online, and I guess it won't, at least not soon.