Robert Fagles (/ˈfeɪɡəlz/; September 11, 1933 – March 26,
2008) was an American professor, poet, and academic, best known
for his many translations of ancient Greek and Roman classics,
especially his acclaimed translations of the epic poems of Homer. He
taught English and comparative literature for many years at Princeton
4 See also
6 External links
Fagles was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles
Fagles, a lawyer, and Vera Voynow Fagles, 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 (Lynne) Duchovnay, a
teacher, and they had two children. In 1959, Fagles received his Ph.D
in English from Yale and for the next year taught English there.
From 1960 to 1962, Fagles was an English instructor at Princeton
University. In 1962 he was promoted to Assistant Professor, and in
1965 became an Associate
Professor of English and comparative
literature. Later that year he became director of the comparative
literature program. In 1970, he became a full professor, and from 1975
was the department chair. He retired from teaching as the Arthur W.
Professor of Comparative Literature in 2002, and remained 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 Aeschylus's The Oresteia. He went on to
publish translations of Sophocles's three Theban plays (1982), Homer's
Iliad (1990) and
Odyssey (1996), and Virgil's
Aeneid (2006). In these
Bernard Knox authored the introduction and notes. Fagles'
translations generally emphasize contemporary English phrasing and
idiom but are faithful to the original 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
Fagles died at his home in Princeton, New Jersey, on March 26, 2008,
from prostate cancer.
Fagles was nominated for the National Book Award in
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
PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for lifetime achievement in
translation. Fagles later undertook a new English translation of the
Aeneid, which was published in November 2006.
In addition to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Fagles was
also a member of the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the
American Philosophical Society.
He received a
National Humanities Medal
National Humanities Medal by the National Endowment for
On June 8, 2011, a resource center devoted to the study of the
Classics was dedicated to Dr. Fagles at Princeton High School. At the
dedication, students and teachers paid tribute to Dr. Fagles.
Bacchylides, Complete Poems (1961)
The Oresteia (1975)
The Three Theban Plays
The Three Theban Plays (1982)
Sophocles, Oedipus the King
English translations of Homer#Fagles
^ Ian McKellen Reads Book I of Homer's
Odyssey on YouTube
^ Obituary from Princeton University
^ Robert Fagles, Translator of the Classics, Dies at 74. The New York
Times. 2008. March 29.
^  Archived July 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
^ "Robert Fagles: Awards & Honors: 2006 NAtional Humanities
medalist". National Endowment for the Humanities. 2012. Retrieved
November 29, 2012.
^  Archived April 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
Edwin Frank, Andrew McCord (Summer 1999). "Robert Fagles, The Art of
Translation No. 2". Paris Review.
ISNI: 0000 0001 1456 2694
BNF: cb135261953 (data)