In 2001, he produced an edition of Homer's Iliad for the Bibliotheca Teubneriana, accompanied by a study of its critical tradition and overall philology entitled Studies in the Text and Transmission of the Iliad. A further volume on The Making of the Iliad appeared ten years later, and one on The Making of the Odyssey was published in 2014.
Life and career
Early life and education
Martin Litchfield West was born on 23 September 1937 at Eltham General Hospital (Eltham, London), the first and only child of Catherine (née Baker Stainthorpe) and Maurice Charles West, a civil engineer. His parents lived at that time in Orpington, but moved in 1939 to Hampton, where his father was appointed resident engineer at the Metropolitan Water Board-operated waterworks. West father's family were from the Home Counties, and his mother's family from Yorkshire and Durham. His paternal grandfather, Robert West, lectured in electrical engineering; his maternal grandfather, John Stainthorpe, was a railwayman from Pickering. Litchfield was the maiden name of his paternal grandmother.
From the mid-sixties, West took especial interest in the relation of Greek literature to the Orient, and over several decades, culminating in his masterpiece The East Face of Helicon (1997), defended his view that Greek literature derives significant influences and inspiration from Near Eastern literature. He took up a position as tutorial fellow at University College, a position he filled from 1963 to 1974. In 1973 he became the second youngest person to be elected a Fellow of the British Academy, at the age of 35. He obtained a chair at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, which he held from 1974 until 1991, when he became a fellow of All Souls College. West retired formally in 2004, but remained active in All Souls until the end of his life.
West died of a heart attack in 2015 in Oxford at the age of 77. Fellow Oxford academic Armand D'Angour paid tribute to him as "a man of few words in seven languages."
Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1971, xv + 256 pp.; translation into Italian, Bologna 1993
Textual Criticism and Editorial Technique Applicable to Greek and Latin Texts (Teubner Studienbücher), Stuttgart: B.G. Teubner 1973, 155 pp.; translation into Greek, Athens 1989; translation into Italian, Palermo 1991; translation into Hungarian, Budapest 1999
Studies in Greek Elegy and Iambus (Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte 14), Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter 1974, ix + 198 pp.
Immortal Helen: an inaugural lecture delivered on 30 April 1975, London: Bedford College 1975, 18 pp. ISBN 0-900145-30-7
Greek Metre, Oxford 1982, xiv + 208 pp. ISBN 0-19-814018-5
The Orphic Poems, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1983, xii + 275 pp. ISBN 0-19-814854-2; translation into Italian, Naples 1993;
The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women: Its Nature, Structure, and Origins, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1985, viii + 193 pp. ISBN 0-19-814034-7
Introduction to Greek Metre, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1987, xi + 90 pp. ISBN 0-19-872132-3
Studies in Aeschylus (Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 1), Stuttgart: B.G. Teubner 1990, x + 406 pp. ISBN 3-519-07450-8
Ancient Greek Music, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1992, xiii + 410 pp ISBN 0-19-814897-6; translation into Greek, Athens 1999
Die griechische Dichterin: Bild und Rolle (Lectio Teubneriana v), Stuttgart & Leipzig: B.G. Teubner 1996, 48 pp. ISBN 3-519-07554-7
The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1997, xxvi + 662 pp. ISBN 0-19-815042-3
Studies in the text and transmission of the Iliad. München: K.G. Saur 2001 304 pp. ISBN 3-598-73005-5
Indo-European Poetry and Myth. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2007 480 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-928075-9
The Making of the Iliad: Disquisition and Analytical Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2011 441 pp. ISBN 978-0-199-59007-0
The Making of the 'Odyssey', Oxford University Press 2014.ISBN 978-0-198-71836-9
Editions, commentaries and translations
Hesiod, Theogony, ed. with prolegomena and commentary by M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1966, xiii + 459 pp.
Fragmenta Hesiodea, ed.: R. Merkelbach et M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1967, 236 pp.
Iambi et elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum cantati. 1 : Archilochus. Hipponax. Theognidea, ed. M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1971, revised edition 1989, xvi + 256
Iambi et elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum cantati. 2 : Callinus. Mimnermus. Semonides. Solon. Tyrtaeus. Minora adespota, ed. M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1972, revised edition 1992 x + 246 pp.
Sing me, goddess. Being the first recitation of Homer's Iliad, translated by Martin West, London: Duckworth 1971, 43 pp. ISBN 0-7156-0595-X
Theognidis et Phocylidis fragmenta et adespota quaedam gnomica, ed. M. L. West (Kleine Texte für Vorlesungen und Übungen 192), Berlin: Walter de Gruyter 1978, iv + 49 pp.
Hesiod, Works and Days, ed. with prolegomena and commentary by M.L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1978, xiii + 399 pp.
Delectus ex Iambis et Elegis Graecis, ed. M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1980, ix + 295 pp. ISBN 0-19-814589-6
Greek Lyric Poetry. The poems and fragments of the Greek iambic, elegiac, and melic poets (excluding Pindar and Bacchylides) down to 450 B.C., [verse translation] Oxford: Oxford university Press 1993, xxv + 213 pp. ISBN 0-19-282360-4
Greek Epic Fragments from the Seventh to the Fifth Centuries BC, edited and translated by Martin L. West (The Loeb Classical Library 497). London Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press 2003 ISBN 0-674-99605-4
^British Academy: Medals and Prizes (Kenyon Medal)
^P. J. Finglass, C. Collard, N. J. Richardson (eds.) Hesperos: Studies in Ancient Greek Poetry, Oxford University Press, 2007; ISBN 978-0-19-928568-6; reviewed by John Gibert, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 23 June 2008.
^Table of contents for Greek lyric, tragedy, and textual criticism : collected papers / W. S. Barrett ; assembled and edited by M. L. West at catdir.loc.gov, accessed 15 August 2008
Fowler, Robert (2018). "Martin Litchfield West" (PDF). Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the British Academy. XVII: 89–120.
Lightfoot, Jane L. (13 August 2015). "Martin West obituary". The Guardian.
Lightfoot, J. L. (2019). "West, Martin Litchfield (1937–2015), Greek scholar, textual critic, and philologist". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/odnb/9780198614128.013.109926. ISBN 9780198614128.
Staff (21 July 2015). "Professor Martin West, OM". The Telegraph.