Richmond Lattimore's Iliad and the University of Chicago Press
Poet and classicist Richmond Lattimore first published passages from his verse translation of the Iliad in the 1945 anthology War and the Poet. In 1946, Lattimore sent an early version of book 1 to Fred Wieck, humanities editor at the University of Chicago Press. Wieck's enthusiastic response encouraged him to complete the translation.
Lattimore's Iliad became a standard classroom translation within a year. The Press expedited production of a cheaper, paperback edition, in part at the request of Columbia University, which wanted to use it for its required Humanities core curriculum. All Columbia freshmen still read Lattimore's Iliad as their first college text. By the time Lattimore completed his translation of the Odyssey, Fred Wieck had moved to Harper & Row, which published Lattimore's Odyssey in 1967.
In 1960, the University of Chicago Press asked wood engraver, sculptor, and artist Leonard Baskin to prepare drawings for an illustrated edition of Lattimore's translation of the Iliad. The handsome volume was much admired although some critics were shocked by the drawings. One claimed that Baskin had created "a gallery of heroes as far removed from Flaxman's as is the translator's work from that of Pope." Another commented they were so savage "that one expects to get blood on his hands when touching the drawings and turning the pages."