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Classics Prof. Reimagines Homer’s Iliad for a Modern Audience

by Christina Ritchie Rogers '03

100 down, roughly 16,900 to go. Lines, that is. Of poetry. Ancient Greek poetry.

Classics Prof. Keyne Cheshire has embarked on a project that could be a life's work.

Critical of the way our modern culture tends to receive ancient texts-placing them on "pedestals" of literary greatness far removed from their original production, in translating Homer's Iliad Cheshire hopes to more closely reflect the way ancient Greeks would have presented the text.

"When I translate the Iliad I try to translate it incrementally, even with parts of lines, in ways that ancient Greeks would have received this oral poetry as it was being performed," Cheshire said. "The oral poetry of Homer comes out in tiny little bits that are pretty loosely attached, and translations tend to mask this, because most translations are highly literary."

Cheshire teaches Greek and Latin at all levels at Davidson, as well as Greek literature and translation, and the theory of translation. His translation of the first 50 lines of the Iliad is slated to be published in the spring 2015 issue of the literary journal Subtropics.