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The Odyssey by Homer

The Odyssey (edition 1996)

by Homer, Bernard MacGregor Walker Knox (Introduction), Robert Fagles (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
29,38524831 (4.03)5 / 713
Title:The Odyssey
Other authors:Bernard MacGregor Walker Knox (Introduction), Robert Fagles (Translator)
Info:Viking, Penguin Group.
Collections:Your library
Tags:Greek literature

Work details

The Odyssey by Homer

  1. 212
    The Iliad by Homer (caflores)
  2. 182
    The Aeneid by Virgil (caflores)
  3. 132
    The King Must Die by Mary Renault (alalba)
  4. 50
    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. 96
    Ulysses by James Joyce (chrisharpe)
  6. 52
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Gawain Poet (chrisharpe)
  7. 42
    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. 32
    The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson (chrisharpe)
  9. 10
    Voyages and Discoveries: Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques & Discoveries of the English Nation by Richard Hakluyt (KayCliff)
  10. 77
    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)
  11. 33
    The Lost Books of The Odyssey: A Novel by Zachary Mason (slickdpdx)
  12. 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.
  13. 49
    Lawrence of Arabia: The Authorized Biography of T.E. Lawrence by Jeremy Wilson (KayCliff)

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English (217)  Spanish (8)  Dutch (6)  French (4)  Danish (3)  Italian (3)  Swedish (2)  Portuguese (2)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (248)
Showing 1-5 of 217 (next | show all)
Great classic book of travel, adventure, and myths. ( )
  kslade | Apr 2, 2015 |
I found this book at Books for America in DC. Inside I found a number of ephemera, clipping/copies, from the New York Times - Mel Gussow, "Finding the Right Words for the Father of Poetry" from April 15, 1997; Chris Hedges, "A Bridge Between the Classics and the Masses" from April 13, 2004. There is a poignant sense about these finds, but I am glad these were retained and not thrown out.
  Kinen | Mar 8, 2015 |
An excellent prose translation, the book reads like a ripping good novel. Read it for a class in college and loved it. Just got a very nice hardcover edition to replace that paperback, which was literally falling apart. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Feb 14, 2015 |
The Odyssey, along with its predecessor, The Iliad, are the oldest known works of Western literature. Attributed to the Greek epic poet, Homer (whose history and authorship are subjects of dispute), The Iliad chronicles the Trojan War. The Odyssey is the sequel, which details the adventures of the Greek hero Odysseus as he attempts to return to his home on Ithaca.

Most are familiar with the travails of Odysseus as he encounters the Cyclops, Calypso, Scilla, Charybdis and various other Gods and obstacles before finally making his way home after a twenty year absence. In his absence, his wife Penelope and son Telemachus have been beset by a large group of “suitors” who have dissipated the estate of Odysseus.

The text is surprisingly approachable (depending upon the translation, I’m sure) given its age. The constant reference to God worship becomes a little tiresome (most frequent phrase, “..the child of morn, Rosy fingered Dawn…”), but otherwise the cultural differences are not so extreme as to make understanding difficult.

Written in 24 “chapters”, the first fourteen are devoted to the journey to Ithaca. Thereafter, the story deals with resolution of the “suitor” situation. I must say there was a stretch of about six chapters (15-21) that progressed VERY slowly and became somewhat repetitive. Aside from that, however, I was very pleasantly surprised with my tolerance of this classic. ( )
  santhony | Jan 25, 2015 |
The Odyssey is one of two narrative poems that have been attributed to the Greek poet Homer; while it is not entirely clear that he actually composed both or any of them. While it can be said that The Odyssey is a sequel to Homer’s Iliad, reading them out of order will not put you at a major disadvantage. Iliad tells the story of the war on Troy and remains popular due to the fact that it is one of the only surviving Greek classics that actually deals with thetopic. The destruction of the Library of Alexandria was a great cultural loss and many poems and documents were lost, leaving Homer’s works even more culturally significant as it pretty much all we have left to go on. The Iliad and Odyssey remain fundamental to the Western canon for being the oldest works still in existent in literature.

While the Iliad focused on the events that happened in Troy, The Odyssey takes place ten years after the Trojan War. Odysseus has still not returned home from the war, his wife Penelope is still hopeful for his return while the Suitors (a group of over 100 men) try to persuade her to marry one of them. The Suitors are enjoying the hospitality of Odysseus, eating up his wealth while he is not around to stop them. Up on Mount Olympos, the gods are debating on whether to let Odysseus return. The goddess Athene pleads to her father Zeus in favour of letting him return, but Poseidon wishes to wipe his ship out. Obviously this is an over simplified synopsis; to give The Odyssey’s plot any justice, I would need to write a few paragraphs of information.

I was a little worried going into this epic poem; I have often found medieval literature difficult and the idea of reading something so much older scared me. I was lucky enough to be assigned a prose translation by Walter Shewring which was a perfect choice for me. Out of interest I had a look at another prose translation, the Project Gutenberg edition (translated by Alexander Pope) and was shocked to see Jove, Neptune and Minerva used in the text. A Greek epic poem that was using Roman gods, that didn’t work for me. Shewring’s was superb; it made things easier for me and helped me find the beauty with this text.

Obviously when The Odyssey was first composed (believed to be around the 8th century BC) it was shared in an oral tradition by an aoidos (poet or singer). We can see a lot techniques being used that have since been established as the literary norm. The Odyssey reads almost like a modern day thriller, continually keeping up a fast pace with slight repetition to remind the audience of key plot points. It is a story of a variety of adventures, told in a non-linear fashion that doesn’t have much in the way of philosophising or introspection.

While the Iliad and Odyssey is attributed to Homer, there isn’t much other information about this Greek poet. The bearded blind man often depicted as an image of Homer is not even one that can be historically verified. The lack of information about the author (if in fact he was the author) means that the poems have to speak for themselves; a new experience for me in my study of literature. It is surprising that the literary terms ‘Homeric Greek’ and ‘Homeric world’ were named after someone we know nothing about.

There is a lot going on in The Odyssey but I want to look at two things I found interesting; first of all the idea of hospitality. Within the poem the idea of hospitality is a little weird; the Suitors just move in and make themselves at home, taking advantage of the hospitality of someone who wasn’t around to stop them. Further in the poem, Odysseus and his soldiers are doing the exact same thing to the Cyclops. Hospitality is expected and within this poem it is often being taken advantage of. What does that say of humanity during the time this was set and has it changed much now?

Secondly I want to talk about gender inequality, ever since reading The Fictional Woman I see it in almost everything I read, so I can’t help but talk about. Odysseus is not faithful to his wife Penelope, there are countless times he is sleeping with someone else. In fact the idea of him being a highly sexual being is pretty much glorified within this poem but if it is a woman, then she isn’t an ‘ideal’ woman or evil. Just look at how Clytemnestra, the sirens and Calypso are portrayed within this poem. In fact Penelope is the symbol of a perfect woman and Odysseus has to test her before revealing who he is. My problem is the scary notion that this gender inequality is still a problem now; in the 8th century BC it was evident; why is this still a problem?

Odysseus is an interesting character, a smart and witty hero; you could even say he had the favour of Athene (goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, strategic warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill) on his side. It is interesting the way Odysseus is portrayed as a hero; it is different to a modern interpretation of the word. He isn’t necessarily a good person, in fact, I would say he wasn’t but his actions are often heroic. He tries to save his men from the Cyclops but his pride and ego almost got them killed and there are many more instances of this. In this modern world we seem to combine a good character with heroics but that isn’t often the case. A person can be heroic and try to protect or save others, doesn’t mean they are not a jerk.

I went into this epic poem nervous and I ended up loving it; I will have to track down the Iliad and read that one as well. I think Walter Shewring’s translation did help and the fact that this was an Oxford World Classics edition meant that I knew I would have some helpful information to help me understand The Odyssey. On a more personal note, writing this review was rather difficult, I had to remember Homer didn’t write this, he spoke it and this is a poem not a novel or book. I have so much I want to say about this poem but I had to edit this review down already.

This review originally appeared on my blog: http://literary-exploration.com/2014/10/07/the-odyssey-by-homer/ ( )
1 vote knowledge_lost | Dec 8, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (200 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Homerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aafjes, BertusTranslatorsecondary 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
Chapman, GeorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Christian, AntonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coornhert, Dierick Volckertsz.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cullen, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dimock, GeorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Due, Otto SteenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eliot, Charles WilliamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fagles, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fitzgerald, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flaxman, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fuchs, J.W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, Peter V.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirk, G. S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knox, BernardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lagerlöf, ErlandTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lang, AndrewTranslatorsecondary 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
McKellen, IanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, Walter JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montbel, DugasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morris, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palmer, George HerbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pope, AlexanderTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, Howard N.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rees, EnnisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riba, CarlesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rieu, D. C. H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rieu, Emile VictorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, AdamIntroductionsecondary 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
Stanford, William Bedell.Editorsecondary 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

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Much have I travelled in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific--and all his men
Looked at each other with a wild surmise--
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

John Keats
for my sons and daughters - Translator's dedication (Fitzgerald, 1963)
For Lynne
su gar m'ebiôsao, kourê - Translator's dedication (Fagles, 1996)
First words
By now the other warriors, those that had escaped headlong ruin by sea or in battle, were safely home.
Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy.
This is the story of a man, one who was never at a loss.
Tell me Muse, of the man of many ways, who was driven far journeys, after he had sacked Troy's sacred citadel.
(Lattimore translation}
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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.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:16 -0400)

(see all 11 descriptions)

A new translation of the epic poem retells the story of Odysseus's ten-year voyage home to Ithaca after the Trojan War.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 46 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

7 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140268863, 0143039954, 0140445927, 0140449116, 0140383093, 0451530683, 0141192445


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