Robert Fagles

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Robert Fagles (born September 11, 1933) is an American professor, poet, and academic, best known for his many translations of ancient Greek classics, especially his acclaimed translations of the epic poems of Homer. He taught comparative literature and English at Yale University and for many years at Princeton University.

Fagles was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles Fagles, a lawyer, and Vera Voynow Fargles, an architect. He attended Amherst College, graduating in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. The following year, he received his master's degree from Yale University. On June 17, 1956, he married Marilyn Duchovnay, a teacher, and they have since had two children. In 1959, Fagles received his Ph.D in English and for the next year taught English there.

From 1960 to 1962, Fagles was an instructor of English at Princeton University. In 1962 he was promoted to assistant professor, and in 1965 became an associate professor of English and comparative literature and later that year director of the program in comparative literature. In 1970, he became a full professor, and from 1975 was the founding department chair. He retired from teaching as the Arthur W. Marks '19 Professor of comparative literaure in 2002, and remains a professor emeritus at Princeton.

Between 1961 and 1996, Fagles translated many ancient Greek works. His first translation was of the poetry of Bacchylides, publishing a complete set in 1961. In the 1970s, Fagles began translating much Greek drama, beginning with The Oresteia by Aeschylus. He went on to publish translations of Sophocles's three Theban plays (1982) and Homer's Iliad (1990) and Odyssey (1996). In all of the last three, the introduction and notes were by Bernard Knox. Fagles' translations generally emphasize contemporary English phrasing and idiom but are faithful to the original ancient Greek as much as possible.

In 1978, Fagles published I, Vincent: Poems from the Pictures of Van Gogh. He was the co-editor of Homer: A Collection of Critical Essays (1962) and Pope's Iliad and Odyssey (1967).

Fagles was nominated for the National Book Award in Translation and won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award of the Academy of American Poets in 1991 for his translation of the Iliad. In 1996, he received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his translation of the Odyssey. In 1997 he received the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for lifetime achievement in translation. Fagles has since undertaken a new English translation of the Aeneid, which was published in November 2006.

In addition to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Fagles is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

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Robert Fagles

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