SINCE THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY, English translators have been striving to do justice to The Iliad. It is a poem of brutal, relentless violence, but it is a violence without haste. The action unfolds in a boundless, inexhaustible present. Warriors die, but they do not age. The hour hangs at dawn, dusk, noon, or night, without transition. Opponents meet on the field, in the midst of chaos, but there is time to exchange pedigrees or insults without stint. And Homer’s hexameters, with their stately pause at each half-line, proceed with an Olympian pace fitting the detachment of their godly source. The unhurried movement of Homer’s verse plays against the graphic assault and energy of the action, intensifying their effect. Sublime passion and urgency rendered bright and hard, with none of the blur of time.
Source: Los Angeles Review of Books.