Reading of The Iliad Mesmerizes Emory Audience

Talk about a blast from the past and message from the gods.  An audience at Atlanta’s Emory University heard Nick Fesette, an Assistant Professor of Theater at Oxford College, do a live reading of Homer’s Iliad – while a thunderstorm roared outside.

It was the version translated by Stanley Lombardo, Professor Emeritus of Classics at the University of Kansas who also narrated several books of the poem to a rapt audience in a library decorated with Greco-Roman style pillars.

When asked why he chose to contribute to the long list of Iliad translations, Lombardo explained that he “just fell in love with Homer,” the Emory Wheel reported.

“I was a poet, took Homeric Greek, and I had never read poetry like that,” Lombardo said in an interview. “I heard a voice that was not like any other poet’s voice I had ever heard.”

He explained that his translation is made for performance, unlike other versions. “What I am trying to do in my translation is not simply translate the meaning – I’m trying to capture Homer’s voice, which means capturing his mind,” Lombardo said. Listeners of the reading shared the reverence for the classical world.