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Homer's Odyssey by Simon Armitage

Homer's Odyssey

by Simon Armitage

Other authors: Homer

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1114108,775 (3.92)41



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It's funny to think I didn't enjoy Armitage's work the first time I came across it. I think it was his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight that changed that. He brought something fresh and dynamic to the poem, which made it a very different reading experience to other translations and adaptations. He's done the same here with The Odyssey. This is not a translation, or even a completely faithful adaptation: I can think of several places where it departs from the original poem.

However, he brings that same dynamism to Homer's voice as he did to the Gawain-poet's. Some of the turns of phrase still ring perfectly true, mixed in with the modern vernacular he uses as well. I'm sure it drives purists crazy, but I set aside any professional qualms and just read it for enjoyment, and thought that he rendered some scenes beautifully -- more true to the spirit of the original than any stuffy translation, too, I think.

If you want to read The Odyssey without reading the phrase 'rosy-fingered dawn', and you don't want to worry about Greek customs (xenia, for example), this makes it very easy to follow the story and understand the basic motivations of all the characters. It has a robust beauty to it that wouldn't work in translating, say, Vergil, but I think in translating Homer it works very well. ( )
  shanaqui | Aug 24, 2014 |
Absolutely brilliant adaptation. It does leave out the bulk of the Telemachiad, and though I missed it, it didn't feel like a gap at all. Some will scoff at the modern idiomatic phrases, I'm sure, but I think it's just brilliant. ( )
  JWarren42 | Oct 10, 2013 |
Armitage's "Odyssey" is funny, exciting, much shorter than Homer's original, but most importantly--it's accessible to anyone, regardless of your exposure to the classic Greek epic poems. Originally written as a radio play, "The Odyssey, A Dramatic Retelling" brings the reader into the wonderful adventure tale of Odysseus's ten year struggle to reach his home, his wife, and his son after a decade fighting in the Trojan war. Filled with humor, kindness, tragedy, passion and reunion, this delightful book will leave any reader with an appreciation of the classic story, and maybe even a desire to read the original poem. Highly recommended! ( )
  bkwurm | Oct 6, 2011 |
This dramatisation of the Homeric story of the prolonged homeward journey of Odysseus after the seige of Troy was commissioned by the BBC and broadcast in 2004. It is published by Faber as Poetry, which given the author seems fair enough, although, in truth, the reader would hardly notice that it was. The tale is written as dialogue, sometimes with Odysseus relating the story to Nausicaa and the other Phaeacians, sometimes as a dramatisation of a particular part of the adventure. The language is 21st C. British English with a distinct hint of Armitage's Yorkshire roots (e.g. the word ' mithered' is used).

All the familiar episodes from the voyage are covered and the story moves along at a cracking pace. With no descriptive writing, someone (Is there anyone?) new to the myth might feel they were missing something but the format works and is well suited to be read aloud.

In his preface, Armitage stated that, although written as a radio script it was always at the back of his mind that it was "Not just something to be performed, but something to read. A book, in fact." ( )
  abbottthomas | Jan 27, 2008 |
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Simon Armitageprimary authorall editionscalculated
Homersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393330818, Paperback)

"Armitage has given an ageless story new vigor, and has done it with style, wit and elegance."—Literary Review

In this new verse adaptation, originally commissioned for BBC radio, Simon Armitage has recast Homer's epic as a series of bristling dramatic dialogues: between gods and men; between no-nonsense Captain Odysseus and his unruly, lotus-eating, homesick companions; and between subtle Odysseus (wiliest hero of antiquity) and a range of shape-shifting adversaries—Calypso, Circe, the Sirens, the Cyclops—as he and his men are "pinballed between islands" of adversity. One of the most individual voices of his generation, Armitage revitalizes our sense of the Odyssey as oral poetry, as indeed one of the greatest of tall tales.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:17 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

20 years after the Trojan war, the Gods have decided it is time for Odysseus to return to Ithaca, before his wife Penelope is forced to marry again. But angry Poseidon is seeking revenge for the murder of his son, and Odysseus has many perilous storms and treacherous landfalls ahead of him if he is to be reunited with Penelope.… (more)

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W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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