Monday, April 14, 2008

In Memoriam: Robert Fagles

The great translator, poet, and teacher Robert Fagles died at age 74 on March 26, 2008. His translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey were published in the '90s, and his Aeneid followed in 2006.

In an interesting video interview 2003, Fagles discusses how he originally "fell into" the classics and translation while he was an undergraduate at Amherst. He recalls his early love for Lattimore's translations and how learning Russian head him towards translation. Fagles affectionately quotes Auden's description of translation as "Braille for the blind".

Each new translation of a classic work, he claims, is a different performance, with its own nuances and foregrounded elements. In his own translation of The Odyssey, he attempts to bring across Homer's "single ruling imagination". Homer, he claims, is "the great conceiver."

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