March 30th, 2008

Chris Keeley

WashPost Obit of Robert Fagles

As I have reported earlier, we keep losing wonderful people. Robert Fagles was a great person, a great professor, and a great translator. The three epics he translated also tell us some lessons about the mistakes of proponents of empires.. Those who cannot learn from history...

Robert Fagles; Translated Classical Epics

By Matt Schudel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 30, 2008; C08

Robert Fagles, 74, a Princeton University professor whose translations of the three great epics of the classical world -- "The Iliad," "The Odyssey" and "The Aeneid" -- have been recognized as enduring literary works in their own right, died March 26 of prostate cancer at his home in Princeton, N.J.

Dr. Fagles was one of the few scholars to translate all three epic poems, which are considered the fountainhead of Western literature. His translations, written in clear, simple English that retained the dignity of the Greek and Latin originals, became unexpected bestsellers.

His translations of "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" came out in 1990 and 1996, respectively. He then brushed up on his Latin for his translation of Virgil's "Aeneid," which was published in 2006. His versions of the three epics have sold more than 4 million copies worldwide and have become established as the definitive translations of our time.

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Chris Keeley

The Smart Way Out of a Foolish War -- Zbigniew Brzezinski

This is a worthy thinkpiece from Brzezinski, which will run in The Washington Post of March 30th.  Among others, the pro-Israel militant hawks will be going after his hide.
QUOTED EXCERPT:    Terminating the war in Iraq is the necessary first step to calming the Middle East, but other measures will be needed. It is in the U.S. interest to engage Iran in serious negotiations -- on both regional security and the nuclear challenge it poses. But such negotiations are unlikely as long as Washington's price of participation is unreciprocated concessions from Tehran. Threats to use force on Iran are also counterproductive because they tend to fuse Iranian nationalism with religious fanaticism.  Real progress in the badly stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process would also help soothe the region's religious and nationalist passions. But for such progress to take place, the United States must vigorously help the two sides start making the mutual concessions without which a historic compromise cannot be achieved. Peace between Israel and Palestine would be a giant step toward greater regional stability, and it would finally let both Israelis and Palestinians benefit from the Middle East's growing wealth.  END QUOTE
Regards,  John