research product . 2013

Homer's Epic, 'The Iliad': a world classic in a South African context

Whitaker, Richard;
Open Access English
  • Published: 01 Feb 2013
  • Publisher: University of Cape Town
  • Country: South Africa
For anyone interested in learning more about the interpretation and translation of Homer's epic in a South African context. A lecture series by Emeritus Professor Richard Whitaker, translator, writer, freelance travel writer. Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad, which tells the tale of Troy, has been continuously loved, read and translated for two and a half thousand years. This course will explain why the poem has achieved classic status, and then will explore the poem in a South African context. After an introduction to the archaic Greek world of Homer and the epic, it will look at the plot and major themes of the Iliad, analysing aspects such as the nature of the hero, heroic values and the representation of women. Translation is a vital part of the Iliad’s history, as most readers have always read the epic in translation. The course will compare selected passages in English translations by Alexander Pope (1720), Christopher Logue (War Music, 1959–2005) and the lecturer’s recent southern African version (2012) to show that every translation is an interpretation. Using the lecturer’s own translation, the course will demonstrate how the Iliad can be understood in the light of South Africa’s present and past. Similarities will be drawn between the world of the epic and aspects of South African society, such as the assessment of bride-price in cattle and poetic praise singing as a central way in which a person’s identity survives into the future in an oral culture. LECTURE TITLES: 1. Homer and the Iliad: Where? When? How?; 2. ‘Muse sing the anger of Achilles’: the plot of the Iliad; 3. Major themes of the epic: gods and heroes, life and death; 4. The Iliad in English: translation as interpretation; 5. Understanding the Iliad in a southern African context. Recommended reading: * Griffin, J. 1980. Homer on Life and Death. Oxford: Clarendon Press. * Steiner, G. 1996. Homer in English. London: Penguin. * Whitaker, R. 2012. The Iliad of Homer: a Southern African Translation. Cape Town: New Voices.
Persistent Identifiers
free text keywords: classics, history, Homer, Iliad, literature
  • Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage
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Providers: OpenUCT
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