Anthony Verity’s fine new translation of the Iliad is one of a trio to appear within the last year.1 Verity’s is the best of the three, as I hope to show. But his translation also does what good Homeric translations since Chapman have always done: it provokes broader questions about the state of English literature and the nature of poetry in general.

Verity takes minimal liberties with the original. Good: we need straightforward English translations of Homer which keep closely to the Greek, and Verity’s Iliad, supplemented by its useful apparatus and a sharply eloquent introductory essay by Emily Greenwood, sets a high standard for translation of that kind. Verity gives us English close enough to the lexical sense of the Greek that you could use it as a crib. And yet...

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