'The Song of Achilles' Puts A New Spin On A Classic Work09:22

This article is more than 8 years old.

When you think of Homer's "The Iliad," what comes to mind? A riveting tale of lust, jealously, war and bloodshed? Or were you one of the many that fought to stay awake through the 500-plus pages of epic poetry?

Madeline Miller, a Cambridge-based writer and Latin teacher, was not one of those people. She fell in love with "The Iliad" at age 5, listening to her mother read it in its entirety at her bedside. Miller went on to earn a BA and MA in the Classics, and currently works as a teacher of tutor of Latin and Ancient Greek.

But Miller can certainly understand the lack enthusiasm for the Classics. It's part of the reason why she decided to write her own adaptation of "The Iliad," titled "The Song of Achilles." Unlike Homer's original, "The Song of Achilles" gives voice to Patroclus — the character whose death ultimately turns the tides of the Trojan War — and the romance with his childhood friend, the great warrior Achilles.

"The Song of Achilles" was 10 years in the making, and it's the recipient of the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction.


This segment aired on July 18, 2012.