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The Odyssey by Homer

The Odyssey

by Homer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Homer's Epic Cycle (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
37,98433227 (4.03)5 / 1112
  1. 282
    The Iliad by Homer (caflores)
  2. 222
    The Aeneid by Vergilius (caflores)
  3. 152
    The King Must Die by Mary Renault (alalba)
  4. 60
    Homer's Daughter by Robert Graves (MarcusBrutus)
    MarcusBrutus: Robert Graves took the story of "The Odyssey's" authorship and expounds on the theory that it was written by a woman. This is a novel based on that idea.
  5. 116
    Ulysses by James Joyce (chrisharpe)
  6. 62
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Gawain Poet (chrisharpe)
  7. 52
    The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel by Nikos Kazantzakis (lilithcat)
    lilithcat: Only Greece's greatest modern writer would have the nerve and ability to send Odysseus back on his journeying.
  8. 20
    The quest for Ulysses by W. B. Stanford (Michael.Rimmer)
  9. 10
    Voyages and Discoveries: Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques & Discoveries of the English Nation by Richard Hakluyt (KayCliff)
  10. 10
    Antigone / Oedipus Rex / Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles (chwiggy)
  11. 32
    The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson (chrisharpe)
  12. 87
    Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing (BookWallah)
    BookWallah: Odysseus & Shackleton both had travails getting home from their epic voyages. Differences in their stories: The former’s took 17 years, lost all his men, & was told as epic poetry. The latter’s took 16 months, saved all his men, & is told as gripping biography.… (more)
  13. 33
    The Lost Books of The Odyssey: A Novel by Zachary Mason (slickdpdx)
  14. 37
    The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan (Jitsusama)
    Jitsusama: An ancient classic revolving around Greek Myth. A great help to better understand the mythology of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
  15. 510
    Lawrence of Arabia: The Authorized Biography of T.E. Lawrence by Jeremy Wilson (KayCliff)
Europe (133)

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English (282)  Spanish (21)  Dutch (7)  French (4)  Italian (4)  Swedish (3)  Danish (3)  Portuguese (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Russian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  All languages (331)
Showing 1-5 of 282 (next | show all)
Despite my lower rating, I just want to emphasize from the start that I do find the work itself quite impressive. It’s a humongous poem, traditionally performed orally. It was written nearly 3000 years ago and yet still has a major influence on modern culture today. My ratings are always based primarily on how much I did (or didn’t) enjoy reading the book, and that doesn't always correlate to the book's literary merit.

After reading Lattimore’s translation of Iliad last year, I chose to read Lattimore’s translation of Odyssey this year. I had originally chosen Lattimore because I wanted to read a more “traditional” version, and I wanted it to be in a poetic format so I might get some feel of what it had been like to hear the original. I then stuck with Lattimore for the sake of consistency in format and word choices. At some point, probably many years in the future, I may try other translations.

One thing I have enjoyed about both of these works is the repetition of certain phrases throughout that helps enhance that epic poetry feel, sort of like the way the chorus of a song is repeated many times. Some of the phrases amused me, like “what sort of word escaped your teeth’s barrier” and others just made me appreciate the epic-poeticness of it like how people would respond to questions with various versions of the phrase “I will give you an accurate answer”. As various people travel to different islands, the residents on the islands tend to ask the visitors about who they are and where they came from and how they got there, often saying, “for I do not think you could have traveled on foot to this country.” Somehow this became funnier and funnier to me the more it was repeated. It just came across to me as so sarcastic, because it’s not like these people didn’t know what boats (or “hollow ships”) were.

The story itself I didn’t find that interesting. It also wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I was expecting it to be more about Odysseus’ odyssey, but that actually only took up about half of the poem if that. The rest of it focused on what was going on at his home and with his family while he was gone, and on what happened when his odyssey was finished. Most of his journey is told by Odysseus himself to his current hosts when he's near the end of his journey, and there really wasn’t as much detail or adventure as I expected. The things that happened were often interesting and adventurous, but they were told quickly. These stories were mostly familiar to me already, usually with no more detail added beyond what I already knew. There was also a ton of foreshadowing. We were often told “this is what’s going to happen” and then, a few books later, that’s what happened. Surprise! That kind of thing makes a read feel more tedious to me. I like twists and surprises.

Similar to Iliad, the main character isn’t an easy person to like. Odysseus complains a lot and is demanding, and I’m not sure he’s familiar with the word honesty. When the narrator is telling the story, we see him lie frequently. When Odysseus is narrating his own story of his journeys, I suspect the reader/listener wasn’t supposed to take much of it at face value. He usually painted himself and his actions in a good light, but I suspect he caused a lot of his own problems and played more of a role in the loss of his companions than he admitted. Between all of the characters, there are enough tears in this book to explain the formation of the islands. To some extent I also struggled with not judging the characters based on what I assume for them would have been normal cultural expectations, like the constant aforementioned tears and also how characters expected to be able to show up as a stranger on somebody’s doorstep and be given expensive gifts just for gracing them with their presence, and be conveyed to wherever they needed to go even if it was a huge inconvenience for the people doing the conveying.

So in summary it’s an impressive work, and I’m glad I read it for the sake of understanding its cultural significance, but it’s not the kind of thing that I really enjoyed reading. It did have its moments though when I was caught up in the story, and there were things I liked about it. ( )
1 vote YouKneeK | Aug 17, 2019 |
This is the third and probably best translation of the Odyssey I've ever read. It's thoughtful, careful, and better yet, it's mold-breaking with the way it characterizes Odysseus and his journey home. ( )
  hatingongodot | Aug 12, 2019 |
This feels like a book that needs two distinct reviews.

First, Emily Wilson's translation, which is wonderful. Just as Heaney moved Beowulf from "worthy work" to a fun read, Wilson's made The Odyssey eminently readable, while keeping it a formally structured long poem and apparently sticking scrupulously to the pacing of the original Greek. I had started reading other translations of this work but never actually finished them, so I'm delighted that this one now exists. And the maps, introduction, footnotes and dramatis personae all helped me follow a work that's heavy on reference and allusion.

But I have to say I didn't get on very well with the content. Some of it is delightful, from learning that Greeks have appreciated wine, olive oil and the sea for longer than much of the world's had written records, to all the descriptions that weren't about Odysseus himself. But there's a degree of repetitiveness to the language that grated--Wilson's introduction explains why it was so in a work written to be performed but it still took away from my experience of reading this as written text--a few too many passages that consist of just listing characters from other Greek myths to the point that they felt like the Torah's "begats", and by the end I found the character of Odysseus dislikable enough to not care about his fortunes.

I'm still glad to have read this. I didn't get anywhere near the exposure to Greek mythology that US schools seem to give, so much of the story was either new to me or connected dots that I'd picked up scattershot from English literature referencing them. And I have to say that I'm re-reading the Torah this year, which seems to be of approximately the same age, and found The Odyssey so much more sophisticated and compelling as a work of literature. But I can't exactly say that I _like_ this story. ( )
1 vote eldang | Aug 11, 2019 |
A wonderful translation, easy to read and understand. But thank goodness for the intro.

It's hard to believe I never read this in high school or college. Rather than get lost in the lengthy introduction, I decided to jump ahead and begin the tale itself. I found it hard to put down and sped right through it, but by the end I was thinking, "Boy, these people were weird", so thank goodness for that intro, which I started right after finishing the main work. One of the first things mentioned is that no one in the ancient world, at any time, acted or spoke like these people. So that was one question answered. Still, I found all the weeping by both men and women really strange. It doesn't seem like the kind of detail that would be just thrown in there, so I'm thinking it might actually be the way it was.

I do think reading the story and then the introduction was a successful strategy because there are so many people, places and events mentioned that it was easier to read the intro already knowing where they fit rather than trying to remember all the information from the intro while reading the actual work.

I'd love to give a more thoughtful review but not having learned ancient Greek, and having read no other translation, I doubt I'm knowledgeable enough to do it justice. All I can say is that for me it was a great reading experience. ( )
  auntmarge64 | Aug 3, 2019 |
  QuietWinters | Jul 22, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 282 (next | show all)
In this interview, we discuss how her [Wilson's] identity as a woman—and a cis-gendered feminist—informs her translation work, how her Odyssey translation honors both ancient traditions and contemporary reading practices, and what Homer meant when he called Dawn, repeatedly, “rosy-fingered.”
(Emily Wilson translation): To read a translation is like looking at a photo of a sculpture: It shows the thing, but not from every angle. Like every translator, Wilson brings out some features more clearly than others. But altogether it’s as good an “Odyssey” as one could hope for.
The verse idiom of the 20th century does not allow poets to create a grand style, but Mr. Fagles has been remarkably successful in finding a style that is of our time and yet timeless, dignified and yet animated by the vigor and energy essential to any good rendering of this poem. ... This book is a memorable achievement, and the long and excellent introduction by Bernard Knox is a further bonus, scholarly but also relaxed and compellingly readable. Mr. Fagles's translation of the ''Iliad'' was greeted by a chorus of praise when it appeared; his ''Odyssey'' is a worthy successor.

» Add other authors (952 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Homerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ameis, Karl FriedrichEditormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cauer, PaulEditormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hentze, CarlEditormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aafjes, BertusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ģiezens, AugustsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Østbye, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bendz, GerhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Björkeson, IngvarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boutens, P.C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buckland-Wright, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burkert, WalterAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Butcher, Samuel HenryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Butler, SamuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Calzecchi Onesti, RosaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chapman, Georgesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Christian, AntonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Church, Alfred JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Codino, FaustoForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coornhert, Dierick Volckertsz.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cullen, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dimock, GeorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dros, ImmeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Due, Otto SteenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dugas-Montbel, Jean-BaptisteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eliot, Charles WilliamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Erni, HansIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fagles, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fitzgerald, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flaxman, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fridrihsons, KurtsIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fuchs, J.W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gelsted, OttoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gertz, Martin ClarentiusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, Peter V.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirk, G. S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knox, BernardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lagerlöf, ErlandTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lattimore, RichmondTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, T. E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Linkomies, EdwinPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lombardo, StanleyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Loomis, Louise RopesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lucas, F. L.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mandelbaum, AllenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manninen, OttoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mühll, Peter von derEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKellen, IanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merry, W. W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, Walter JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montbel, DugasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morris, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palmer, George HerbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pindemonte, IppolitoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pope, AlexanderTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, Howard N.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rasovsky, YuriNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rees, EnnisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riba, CarlesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rieu, D. C. H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rieu, E. V.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rouse, W. H. D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Segalá y Estalella, LuisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shaw, T. E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shewring, WalterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Squillace, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steinmann, KurtTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stolpe, JanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Svenbro, JesperForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Timmerman, Aegidius W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vosmaer, C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Voss, Johann HeinrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Way, Arthur S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilding, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, EmilyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, Emily R.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To my daughters, Imogen, Psyche, and Freya
First words
The man for wisdom's various arts renown'd,
Long exercised in woes, O Muse! resound;
Who, when his arms had wrought the destined fall
Of sacred Troy, and razed her heaven-built wall,
Wandering from clime to clime, observant stray'd,
Their manners noted, and their states survey'd,
On stormy seas unnumber'd toils he bore,
Safe with his friends to gain his natal shore. (Alexander Pope)
The Man, O Muse, informe that many a way
Wound with his wisedome to his wished stay;
That wanderd wondrous farre when He the towne
Of sacred Troy had sackt and shiverd downe.
The cities of a world of nations,
With all their manners, mindes and fashions,
He saw and knew; at Sea felt many woes,
Much care sustaind, to save from overthrowes
Himselfe and friends in their retreate for home. (George Chapman)
Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life and bring his men safely home. (Samuel Butler)
Tell me, Muse, of the man of many ways, who was driven
far journeys, after he had sacked Troy's sacred citadel.
Many were they whose cities he saw, whose minds he learned of,
many the pains he suffered in his spirit on the wide sea,
struggling for his own life and the homecoming of his companions. (Richmond Lattimore)
Muse, tell me of the man of many wiles,
the man who wandered many paths of exile
after he sacked Troy's sacred citadel.
He saw the cities—mapped the minds—of many;
and on the sea, his spirit suffered every
adversity—to keep his life intact,
to bring his comrades back. (Allen Mandelbaum)
But by this earth, and by the sky above, and by the waters of the Styx below, which is the strongest oath for blessed gods..." - Calypso, Book 5
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The version by Barbara Leonie Picard is a retelling
Publisher's editors
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Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Book description
The Odyssey is the epic poem about the great adventurer Odysseus. After the great fall of Troy, Odysseus has some difficulties finding his way back to Ithaca. He encounters sirens, giants and many other mythical creatures and it takes him 10 years to find his way home. I enjoyed this book because it of the mythology and the adventure that it portrays and I think it is a good read.

AR Level 10.3, 24 pts
Haiku summary
Greek hero of Troy
Takes long time getting back home
Having adventures.
Son wants his Paw home;
Paw away on business trip--
Sneaks home for bloodbath.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140268863, Paperback)

Robert Fagles's translation is a jaw-droppingly beautiful rendering of Homer's Odyssey, the most accessible and enthralling epic of classical Greece. Fagles captures the rapid and direct language of the original Greek, while telling the story of Odysseus in lyrics that ring with a clear, energetic voice. The story itself has never seemed more dynamic, the action more compelling, nor the descriptions so brilliant in detail. It is often said that every age demands its own translation of the classics. Fagles's work is a triumph because he has not merely provided a contemporary version of Homer's classic poem, but has located the right language for the timeless character of this great tale. Fagles brings the Odyssey so near, one wonders if the Hollywood adaption can be far behind. This is a terrific book.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:01 -0400)

(see all 13 descriptions)

Homer's best-loved poem, recounting Odysseus' wanderings after the Trojan War. With wit and wile, Odysseus meets the challenges of gods and monsters.

» see all 83 descriptions

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Average: (4.03)
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Penguin Australia

5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140268863, 0143039954, 0140449116, 0451530683, 0141192445

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