Hector bidding farewell to his wife and baby son, Odysseus bound to the mast listening to the Sirens, Penelope at the loom, Achilles dragging Hector's body round the walls of Troy - scenes from Homer have been reportrayed in every generation. The questions about mortality and identity that Homer's heroes ask, the bonds of love, respect and fellowship that motivate them, have gripped audiences for three millennia. Chapman's Iliad and Odyssey are great English epic poems, but they are also two of the liveliest and readable translations of Homer. Chapman's freshness makes the everyday world of nature and the craftsman as vivid as the battlefield and Mount Olympus. His poetry is driven by the excitement of the Renaissance discovery of classical civilisation as at once vital and distant, and is enriched by the perspectives of humanist thought.
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