Stanley Lombardo translated and edited both The Iliad and The Odyssey and compiled them into one book, The Essential Homer. The book is fast-paced, as it is written in a contemporary style containing many common idioms of today. It is also roughly half the length of a full translation.

The text comes from his experience as an actual "bard", as he travelled (and still does) around the country performing sections aloud, sometimes accompanied by drum or harp/lyre. Because his performances required shorter, faster verse, his translations were much shorter, and hence the shorter book.

I personally had a chance to see him perform sections of The Iliad when he performed at the University of Texas at Austin. I recommend both the book and his performances for even the less literary-inclined; I realize not everyone is a Liberal Arts major.

He is currently also a professor of Classics at the University of Kansas.

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