Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
War Music

War Music

An Account of Homer's Iliad

Christopher Logue; Edited by Christopher Reid

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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A remarkable hybrid of translation, adaptation, and invention

Picture the east Aegean sea by night,
And on a beach aslant its shimmering
Upwards of 50,000 men
Asleep like spoons beside their lethal Fleet.

“Your life at every instant up for— / Gone. / And, candidly, who gives a toss? / Your heart beats strong. Your spirit grips,” writes Christopher Logue in his original version of Homer’s Iliad, the uncanny “translation of translations” that won ecstatic and unparalleled acclaim as “the best translation of Homer since Pope’s” (The New York Review of Books).

Logue’s account of Homer’s Iliad is a radical reimagining and reconfiguration of Homer’s tale of warfare, human folly, and the power of the gods in language and verse that is emphatically modern and “possessed of a very terrible beauty” (Slate). Illness prevented him from bringing his version of the Iliad to completion, but enough survives in notebooks and letters to assemble a compilation that includes the previously published volumes War Music, Kings, The Husbands, All Day Permanent Red, and Cold Calls, along with previously unpublished material, in one final illuminating volume arranged by his friend and fellow poet Christopher Reid. The result, War Music, comes as near as possible to representing the poet’s complete vision and confirms what his admirers have long known: that “Logue’s Homer is likely to endure as one of the great long poems of the twentieth century” (The Times Literary Supplement).

The Independent (UK) Best Books of the Year, The Times Literary Supplement Books of the Year

EXCERPT

Preamble



Two limestone plates support the Aegean world.

The greater Anatolian still lies flat,

But half an aeon since, through silent eyes:

‘Ave!’

God watched the counterplate subside, until

Only...

Reviews

Praise for War Music

"This is not Homer: it’s Logue’s Homer. Like all translations, it departs fundamentally from the language of the original. Unlike many translations, it arrives at a version that, because of its radical departures, gets us closer to the original than many more defensibly 'faithful' translations have ever managed . . . He died before he could conclude much more than half of a full account of those ancient sounds. But, oh, what he managed to leave us: a vision of Homer as intimate and alive as a breath." —Wyatt Mason, New York Times Magazine

"I still grasp Zeus by the knees and ask that he bless the translators. And Christopher Logue, among them, bless him highly . . . [Homer's Iliad] was strange from the beginning, wonderfully, heroically strange. And Logue, in turn, is wonderfully, Homerically strange . . . In War Music, Christopher Logue has worked from what is still the greatest story of war ever told and created a vivid and fresh poem in a language he knew very well, indeed. My advice: 'Drop into it,' friends." —Jeffrey Brown, New York Times Book Review

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Christopher Logue; Edited by Christopher Reid

Christopher Logue (1926–2011), poet, playwright, scriptwriter, and actor, was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire. He moved to Paris in 1951, where he published his first books, Wand and Quadrant; Seven Sonnets; and Devil, Maggot and Son. Logue won the Paris Review / Bernard F. O’Connor Award and was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his contributions to literature.

Christopher Logue

Christopher Logue

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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