Classics Professor Robert Fagles, 74, Dies
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
Achilles may have killed the mighty hector, but Robert Fagles did something far more heroic and arguably more difficult.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
He translated three of the greatest and longest poems in all literature; "The Iliad," "The Odyssey" and the "The Aeneid." Fagles died Wednesday at the age of 74.
Here he is reading from his translation of "The Iliad" as Andromache mourns her fallen husband.
Professor ROBERT FAGLE (English and Comparative Literature, Princeton University): (Reading) Oh, Hector, I am destroyed. Both born to the same fate after all. You, you at Troy and the halls of King Priam. I, at Thebes, under the timberline of Placos, Eetion's house. You raised me as a child, that men of doom. His daughter just as doomed, would to god he'd never fathered me. Now you go down to the House of Death, the dark depths of the earth, and leave me here to waste away in grief.
A widow lost in the royal halls, and a boy only a baby, the son we bore together. You and I so doomed. Hector, what help are you to him now you're dead? What help is he to you? Think, even if he escapes the wrenching horrors of war against the Argives, pain and labor will plague him all his days to come.
NORRIS: That was Robert Fagles reading from his translation of "The Iliad." He died Wednesday. He was 74.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.