The Odyssey

by Homer

Other authorsBernard Knox (Introduction), Robert Fagles (Translator), Grahame Baker (Illustrator)
Paperback, 1998





London : The Folio Society, 1998.


Classic Literature. Fiction. Poetry. Folklore. HTML: Widely regarded as one of the finest works of literature in the Western canon, Homer's Odyssey is a masterpiece of classical epic poetry. The tale follows the travels of the Greek hero Odysseus as he strives to return to his homeland after waging battle in the Trojan War. Long presumed dead after a 20-year absence, Odysseus finally returns to his native Ithaca and is forced to fight to resume his long-lost life and save his family from ruin. The Odyssey is a can't-miss experience for cultured readers..

Media reviews

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,
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The New York Times
Exploring the timeless journey of Odysseus in Homer's epic, 'The Odyssey,' is like embarking on a voyage through the depths of human experience. As readers everywhere know, the story’s themes of homecoming and hospitality, hubris and humility, suffering and survival continue to resonate across
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the centuries. I recently been given the literature review of Odysseus as a weighted assignment. But due to my work schedule, i wasn't able to complete it on time. So i asked professional writers at Literature review writing service to do it for me. They did an awesome job and i scored an A.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member atimco
It's good to meet classics in person after being distant acquaintances who know one another just well enough to nod in passing. Now I can shake The Odyssey heartily by the hand when I meet it in other stories, hail-well-met. And meet it in other stories I will, this revered grandfather of the
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revenge story and the travelogue.

Besides being a classic, The Odyssey is a fascinating tale in its own right of strange wonders and awful dangers, of the faithful and the faithless, of wrongs committed and retribution meted out. Odysseus, Achaean hero of the Trojan War, has been ten years fighting at Troy and another ten making his way home. Imprisoned by a nymph, shipwrecked, lost, waylaid — Odysseus, beloved of some gods, is hated by others. Meanwhile at home in Ithaca, many have despaired of his coming, including his wife Penelope and son Telemachus, who now suffer at the hands of Penelope's suitors, leading men of the Achaeans who wish to possess her. Odysseus will never return, they say, as they sit in his house eating and drinking up all his wealth. Telemachus is just a young man and cannot prevent their ravages. The situation is indeed desperate, as Penelope, worn out with mourning Odysseus, begins to accept her fate to become another man's wife.

Once I got used to it, I loved the repetition of certain phrases and descriptions: "long-tried royal Odysseus," "discreet Telemachus," "heedful Penelope," "clear-eyed Athena," "the gods who hold the open sky," "rosy-fingered dawn," "on the food before them they laid hands," and more. It reminded me that I was hearing a poem (I listened on audiobook) and that it was originally memorized by the bard, not read off the page. The repetition is comforting. It was easy to fall into the rhythm of the story and the archaic language, surrendering to the storyteller's art.

I find the interplay between the gods and men so interesting. I don't know if The Odyssey is an accurate picture of ancient Greek theology and I don't want to draw too many conclusions from what was understood even at the time to be mythological. But I had a similar experience listening to The Iliad — the gods are great and powerful and all that, but they are so very involved in human affairs, almost as if they can't bear to be left out... why should Athena care so much whether Odysseus ever gets home? Why is it that human affairs so concern the councils of Olympus? I suppose the simple answer is that these stories were made up by humans and since the thing that interests us most is ourselves, we can't imagine gods who aren't likewise fascinated.

I listened to an older translation by George Herbert Palmer and I'm glad I did. My experience of The Iliad was marred by the fact that it was a modernized translation, the latest and greatest supposedly. But all that really means is that it was dumbed-down for lazy listeners, to the point where some of the heroic moments almost became comical in our modern parlance. No thank you! I'm no expert in translation, but this one presented no jarring moments of disconnect between the style and substance, and I thought it fitted the subject matter very well. The reader of this particular audiobook, Norman Dietz, has a low, smooth, calm voice that I quickly learned to like.

This is an excellent story that never slackens its pace or lets you stop caring what happens to its hero. Don't be intimidated by its status as a classic — all that means is that it's a good story that has stood the test of time, delighting its hearers both in ancient days and now. I recommend it!
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LibraryThing member steve.clason
I read the Odyssey in college (don't remember what translation) and even struggled through bits in Greek in a first-year language class, but I never got what the big deal was. I didn't like Odysseus--raised as I was in a cowboy ethos I took his celebrated cunning as a kind of weakness, believing
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that a true man delat directly and simply with everything.

Some decades later, I am much more sympathetic. Scarred, bruised and broken in places with a head often barely screwed on, I've come to value a little forethought more than I ever did when younger, and come to sympathize with Odysseus' tormented wanderings and to celebrate his eventual triumph profoundly.

Fagles' translation is true to the story, readable yet retaining the loftiness of spirit so crucial to the unfolding of the story. I'll be returning to this many times, I think.
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LibraryThing member BookWallah
Experienced an unplanned event while traveling? Or feel like you are living through an epic of misfortune that will not end? Or just having a really bad day? If you answered yes to any of these questions then rush to your shelves and re-read a chapter of Odysseus’ travails on his way home.

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for you to finish reading chapter].

OK, deep breath, now your problems don’t seem so bad, do they? Recommended for all adventurers who need more perspective.
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LibraryThing member Bookmarque
It is difficult to read and review a book like this. To read because I can’t help but view it with my 21st century sensibilities in place and to review because I’m sure that I missed elements of importance because I don’t have a classical background. But since a lot of people will approach
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this book in exactly this way, I’ll try to organize my thoughts.

Let me get this out of the way – yes I was trying to fit each episode into O Brother, Where Art Thou? the whole time. Most don’t fit. Like…who exactly where the Hogwallops? And the ladies in the stream…were they Sirens or the girls who helped Odysseus when he washed up in the river on Ithaca? And just what was Baby-face Nelson supposed to represent? Ha! So I guess the Coens took a few liberties with their bong hits.

Oh and another thing I’ll get out of the way – ancient Greek men are insufferable. I’m aghast at how little they thought of women. The table in my dining room has more say over its destiny than a woman did in ancient Greece. They treat their dogs better. Penelope’s fate was so maddening because she had no say in it. The *ssh*l*s eating her out of house and home had a perfect right to do so apparently, and neither she nor Telemachus could do a thing about it. And here I thought ancient Roman women got the short end of the stick…at least they got to eat in the same room as the men. Bah! Weak-minded humanity. Renders ½ its population as inert property while it slaughters the other. Men are weird.

Ok. That’s over now. I’m still mad about it, but what can I do? So the story itself went in a way I didn’t expect. Telemachus gets going first and we see him granted warm welcomes in the houses of both Nestor and Menelaus. The thing that really struck me here was how naive the ancient Greeks seemed to be. They accept strangers on the face of things and don’t even ask their names before giving gifts, new clothes, baths, money and ships with men and provisions to further their journeys. Weird. No wonder they found Odysseus highly tricky for a simple ploy like the horse at Troy. These days subterfuge is just an accepted part of any conflict and just daily life half the time. Anyway, we get some of Odysseus’s story from Nestor and Menelaus and not directly from Odysseus as I thought we would.

And the parts of the story I thought would be big deals and go on forever were treated with just a few lines and then – zip – they were done. The Sirens are a perfect example. That episode gets a lot of press and artwork devoted to it and it hardly lasts a minute with nothing of import happening at all. Again, not what I expected. There is, however, a lot of repetition of baths and anointing with olive oil and the rosy-fingered presence of dawn. Boy Homer ground that metaphor to death. The broad back of the sea or the fish-giving sea was another. But I guess it became more of a refrain for the bards who told this story again and again.

The wind-up took forever with lots of extraneous detail and elaborate lies to cover up Odysseus’s true identity. The whole time Odysseus was disguised as a beggar I was grinding my teeth with wanting to get to the ass-kicking. I mean, I don’t care what made up crap you tell everyone, just get on with it. Eventually, we get it, but like everything else he does, Odysseus takes his time. For a man who wanted to get home really fast, he spent a lot of time farting around…like spending all that time with Circe. Oh sure he really wanted to see Ithaca again. And it’s the same with the ass-kicking, he strings it out as long as possible. Finally everyone is dead and we think he and Penelope will just rush into each other’s arms and fade to black. Not so. More lamentations, disbelief and foot-dragging.

Anyway, it’s an interesting story and an enlightening one. I learned a lot about how the Greeks viewed their world and how helpless they really felt. So much sh*t just rolled downhill. Injustice heaped on injustice with a full complement of excuses. Cranky, childish and mercurial gods at the top, women and slaves on the bottom.
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LibraryThing member julie10reads
Just finished listening to the unabridged audiobook of The Odyssey, translated by Samuel Butler (no relation to Gerard Butler) and read in rich, rotund diction by John Lee. Who is, of course, English.

I don’t remember when I first heard the story of Odysseus’ journey home to Ithaca; seems as if
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I’ve always known it.

In my 20s,I heard and fell in love with Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria (which sounds inestimably more luscious in Italian than English:The Return of Ulysses to his Country) from the Met with baritone Richard Stilwell as the wily hero and mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade as Penelope. The joyful babbling of their ecstatic reunion duet brought out the humanity of the characters.
And I used to read Tales from the Odyssey by Mary Pope Osborne to my youngest daughter. She is still the only one who shares my enthusiasm for this classic.

End of long intro…..

The Odyssey can be enjoyed on many levels. It’s a great yarn about a shrewd soldier/king making his perilous (and tardy!) way home after the Trojan War (by the way, it was Odysseus who thought up the Trojan horse). It’s also a wide-ranging allegory about the often perilous journey of life. It abounds in psychological and spiritual archetypes. There’s something for every kind of reader.

As for Odysseus himself, he seems to lie for the sake of lying, is boastful and reckless. His very name means “he who causes pain or makes others angry.” Early on in the story, having outwitted the cyclops Polyphemus, Odysseus and his men make their escape by boat. When he judges them to be out of danger, Odysseus does a “nyah-nyah” boasting chant to the cyclops who of course tears the top off a mountain and hurls it at the boat. This causes an enormous wake whose waves draw Odysseus’ boat back to shore! The sailors row like mad to get away from the shore. When they are at a safe distance, our wily hero starts up with the “nyah-nyah” chant again! His poor men beg him to stop.

In the Iliad, it was all manly soldiers fighting other manly soldiers to recover the prize trophy wife, Helen. Conservative, stylistic, a time already ancient when Homer sang of it . By contrast, the Odyssey looks to the future, reflecting a new culture currently stable enough to become introspective. Odysseus’ journey home is populated by women/goddesses and monsters. No all out war any more, army against army, face-to-face combat. Rather the enemy becomes singular, hidden in caves or in the bodies of beautiful women or “lotus-eaters”. While completely enjoyable on a literal level, the story is also leading the listener, as all good stories do, into the realm of the inner life. It seems to me that few could identify with Achilles or Hector or Helen. However, we are all Odysseus and Penelope and Telemachus in one way or another. Homecoming can be almost anything: love,death, faith, consciousness. Likewise waiting.

Back to the story…..

The women want to sleep with Odysseus and the monsters want to eat him. The monsters ultimately succeed in devouring his crew leaving the ageing soldier to finish the journey alone. Polyphemus, Calypso, Circe, Scylla and Charibdis, the eponymous Mentor, Poseidon, and Athena make this a mythological all-star story. But for me, none of them can rival Penelope in character and depth. She is the other half of the “wily” Odysseus and I think that we can extrapolate much about her from what is said about him. She is the modern “Helen”:the kidnapped trophy wife appropriate for the old militaristic nation becomes the faithful wife and mother who waits 20 years (!) for the return of her husband. It only requires one man, Paris, to steal Helen away (she seems to have been agreeable to the idea). Yet an invading mob of suitors cannot coerce Penelope into abandoning her absent husband. Helen’s is “the face that launched a thousand ships”; Penelope holds herself in readiness for one ship only. Her waiting is not in the least passive however. Her husband’s goal is to reach home; Penelope’s goal is to keep her property and marriage intact until Odysseus returns. This demands skill and cunning equal to her husband’s.

I felt entertained and enriched as I listened to The Odyssey on my drive to and from work (for about 2 weeks). Narrator John Lee brings a virile sound to Homer’s lines. You can almost hear him enjoying the story as he reads. I highly recommend this way of experiencing The Odyssey; it is an oral work designed to arouse the intellect through the sounds of precisely chosen words. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy it!

10 out of 10!
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LibraryThing member headless
This review is of the translation, not of Homer's great song. Fagles domesticates, flattens, Americanizes at every turn. To get a feeling of the high poetic sweep of the original Greek, compare this with Robert Fitzgerald's version, which really sings.
LibraryThing member clothingoptional
Don't read this book - listen to it. Epic poetry is meant to be recited...
LibraryThing member sjclance
Finally finished The Odyssey translated by Robert Fagles. Definitely more readable than Lattimore's translation of The Iliad. However, for me, readable does not equal better. Some passages were translated with phrases that were just too modern and made my flow of reading stop because it didn't
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quite fit. While I admit that Lattimore was difficult to read, I liked to be able to stop and think about a passage and wonder what it might mean and maybe even look up the background of a phrase. Different translations for different readers. If you have to get through the book and know what it is about go with Fagles. If you want to stop, think and research, go with Lattimore. Beyond all that, the story of The Iliad and The Odyssey are each enjoyable in their own way. The Iliad has grusome battles but these are lightened up with the way the Gods are portrayed. The Odyssey, with the travels of Odysseus, made you realize how many of these adventures you have already heard throughout the years. As an aside, while I was reading The Odyssey, I just happened to start reading Tom Jones by Fielding and read in the preface that The Odyssey was very much in Fielding's mind when he wrote Tom Jones.
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LibraryThing member jwhenderson
Sing to me of the man, Muses, the man of twists and turns
driven time and again off course, once he had plundered
the hallowed heights of Troy.

Here we are once again, with the poet imploring the Muse to sing her song about the adventures ensuing the the fall of Troy. Having just finished rereading
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The Iliad which told of the rage of Achilles and the Trojan War, I find The Odyssey a much more congenial book, seeimngly modern in structure and outlook, even as it tells of events before the beginning of history as we know it. It tells the journey of Odysseus on his way hhome from Troy, a journey that takes him ten years. Odysseus is a man who, according to none other than Zeus, "excels all men in wisdom," (1.79). Odysseus has offended Poseidon, the god of the seas, by blinding his son Polyphemus the Cyclops; and, Poseidon, in retaliation has driven Odysseus off-course and delayed his return home to Ithaca. Athena rouses the rest of the gods and takes up Odysseus case. It is thus that we find Athena going to Ithaca and, in the form of Mentes, helping Odysseus' son Telemachus as part of her plan. We also meet Penelope, the wise and patient wife of Odysseus, who has been fending off the suitors who have been pursuing her in Odysseus absence. Telemachus tells Athena: "And mother . . . she neither rejects a marriage she despises nor cn she bear to bring the courting to an end -- while they continue to bleed my household white."(1.289-91). The situation is untenable and calls for action. With Athena's assurance that his father is still alive, Telelmachus may take the necessary action. We find ourselves in a very different kind of poem than The Iliad, but one that promises suspense and excitement. Key themes that appear and will reappear as we continue include the idea of the heroic journey, both for Odysseus and Telemachus, and the growth of the character of Odysseus, who is described by Athena as he endures his captivity under Calypso's power:

But he, straining for no more than a glimpse
of hearth-smoke drifting up from his own land,
Odysseus longs to die . . .
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LibraryThing member Sean191
What can I say? The Oddysey is one of the first thrillers, actions, adventure, love and horror stories all rolled into one. That being said, it's a great work, not just for being an ancestor of modern works, but for being a great work even in comparison. This particular version could have done
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without the editor's extended information in the back - or I suppose I could have done without it, rather than scholarly, it seemed pretentious.
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LibraryThing member StephanieDDunn
This particular edition translated by Robert Fagles is by far the best translation that I have come across. This edition really makes it easy to enjoy the epic tale while other translations sometimes lets the reader muddle through the language barriers. I have read this for undergraduate level as
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well as reading this for pleasure this wins my 4 stars in both categories.
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LibraryThing member jpsnow
Perhaps the proof of a classic is that upon reading it one says: I can see why that's a classic. Whether one man or a compilation of storytellers actually wrote this tale, it clearly does well in its role as the first epic and a fundamental tale of early Greece. The struggle is man against god and
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man against man. It brings out the relationships felt between the early Greeks and their gods in a way none of the shorter myths possibly can. I have always heard of strong parallels between Christian stories and the Greek myths, but have never seen the comparisons as strong as here. Odysseus plays the role first of David, condemned to wander and suffer one setback after another because of the disfavor of Poseidon. And yet upon his return to his own land, the analogy transfers to the role of Christ, with Odysseus returning at a time unknown, with his prophecying it, and clearing his house of the wooers of his bride. He also tests the nature of each man and maid, slaying those untrue to him. Other events of note: his entrapment with Calypso, his leaving and being cast to the shores of the land of Alcinous, the Cyclops, the Lotus-eaters, the men turned to swine, the visit to the edge of Hades (and speaking with relatives, friends, and foe), the Sirens, the return to his own land, his ruse as a beggar, and the slaying of the wooers.
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LibraryThing member Carmenere
Haha, who am I to rate Homer?! So funny!

In my opinion, Homer's work is a beautiful love story, Shakespearean before there was a Shakespeare.
My beef is the tediousness of Odysseus' trials and tribulations but that's just a matter of opinion. In the 21st century, we desire expedience but something
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has to be said about the titillating slowness of 750 BC.
The Greek gods, popping in and out, are amusing and entertaining. Humans, mere mortals, are puppet-like to their will. Hmm, but are they really?
Odysseus's journey somewhat mirrors our own. In that way, the novel/poem is adaptable to every age and thus makes it a classic for the ages.
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LibraryThing member Greatrakes
I recently read The Iliad, also in a translation by Fagles, and I was disappointed with The Odyssey. The stories that make up the book feature many of the gods and monsters familiar from Greek mythology, but it seems a far less majestic work, more a rattle-bag of tales published to cash in on the
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success of The Iliad! Still, it has Cyclops, Sirens, giant cannibals, horny Calypso and the lovely Scylla, so there is much to enjoy.

Odysseus spends much of his time recounting his story to halls full of nobles who give him shelter at various points on his ten year journey. The nobles spend all their time drinking, feasting, playing games, standing on their dignity and raiding each other. The glory of The Iliad, is that is the kings and their retinues are fulfilling their real purpose, it is their intensity that makes the drama of the siege of Troy and makes that book so magnificent. The nobles at peace are an unattractive bunch.

For me, the most interesting part was Odysseus' visit to the underworld, the Greeks believed in an afterlife and it gave them a very good reason to stay alive, the underworld isn't very pleasant.
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LibraryThing member datrappert
There are certainly some great episodes in the Odyssey, but after the incredible intensity of the Iliad, I found it somewhat tedious, and it took me a long time to finish. I liked Lombardo's translation of the Iliad very much, so I assume the fault is not his.
LibraryThing member JoseArcadio
Robert Fagles once again preserves the timeless nature of the human spirit in Homer's The Odyssey. Odysseus portray the the endurance of the human spirit against all odds.

Although Odysseus is favored by the gods for his wit and courage, he is damned by Poseidon to roam the seas for 10 years before
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reaching his beloved home of Ithaca. During these ten years Odysseus encounters many entertaining conflicts and characters. The Odyssey accounts for the greek heroes famous journey and struggle to finally have peace at his home.
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LibraryThing member Pondlife
I read The Iliad shortly before reading The Odyssey. I found The Odyssey by far the better book: it's structure is clever, starting in medius res, and then giving the hero a chance to fill in the gaps later.

It contains a lot of the classic episodes that are often retold in different settings: the
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sirens, the cyclops, scylla and charibdis, the beguiling woman who keeps the hero hostage.

The only bit that I felt dragged a bit was when Odysseus returned to Ithaca as a beggar and stayed with the swineherd. But other than that, it was a surprisingly good read for a classic that dates back to ancient Greece.
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LibraryThing member carterchristian1
I bought this book because my granddaughter was studying it her freshman year. In order to help her understand it I checked out a number of juvenile books, which frankly made it a lot easier to follow the story. It is interesting to learn some scholars believe the author was a woman.
LibraryThing member sjstuckey
Absolutely a classic and a must-read for anyone interested in pre-classical Greece.
LibraryThing member Narilka
I had attempted to read The Odyssey once before and failed miserably. Since then I've learned just how important the translator is when choosing to read ancient classics. I'm happy that I found a different translation to try which made this a much more enjoyable and engaging read. Given that the
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story comes from a time of oral tradition I decided to try out the audio book, which I think was the right idea but the wrong narrator for me. More on that below.

For anyone who doesn't know, The Odyssey was written by Homer somewhere around 800 BC. The epic poem relates the story of Odysseus and his trials on his return journey home after the Trojan war. For such a simple premise, the scope is vast. It has a little bit of everything (magic, monsters, gods, suitors, shipwrecks, action) and touches on so many themes (violence and the aftermath of war, poverty, wealth, marriage and family, betrayal, yearning for ones home, hospitality) that is is easy to see why this poem is so important and how it has inspired many stories to this day.

One of the best and worst parts about this version was the introduction to the poem. The intro goes into great detail about the controversies about the poem's origins and dives deeply into the poem's many themes. This was great for someone who already knows the story and wants to learn more before getting into Odysseus's tale. For those that don't like spoilers, it's best if you skip the introduction and read/listen to it after you're done with the poem. Fair warning for audio book listeners - the introduction is roughly 3.5 hours long and I was definitely getting impatient to hear the poem long before it was done.

I listened to the audio book narrated by Claire Danes. This has really driven home that I need to listen to a sample of the narrator before choosing my audio books. Claire does an adequate job when reading the descriptive paragraphs but just didn't work for me when it came to dialog. All her characters, male and female, sounded the same and were a bit over done so it was a challenge to keep who was speaking apart. She is going on my avoid list for future audio books.
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LibraryThing member TobinElliott
As with The Iliad, I find myself once again shocked at the disparity between what I remember reading forty years ago in high school, and what actually transpires.

For instance, I would have bet a lot of money that the death of Achilles and the entire Trojan Horse thing were both detailed toward the
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end of The Iliad. Obviously, I know now that I would have been wrong and would have paid out a lot of money.

Similarly, after completing that book, I seemed to have remembered that no, those two scenes were near the beginning of The Odyssey, perhaps in the first two or three books (of the 24 in total), then all but the last book or two (so, maybe 19 or 20 books) would have detailed Odysseus' long trip home. And I would have sworn he left Troy and all the various delays totalled to another decade before he got home. And that he basically burst in just after his wife Penelope offered up the whole string-my-husband's-bow-and-shoot-an-arrow-through-a-dozen-ax-heads thing. death of Achilles scene—though we do meet up with him later on in Hades—and the Trojan Horse deal gets a very brief mention. But Odysseus spends most of that decade hanging with Calypso, and only spends three years getting home.

My god, no wonder humans are such lousy witnesses. I was so off on all of this.

As for the actual story itself, it was good, and I enjoyed reacquainting myself with the adventures of Odysseus, but overall, I found this one to be much more repetitious (I think we get Penelope's story of weaving a shroud by day and unspooling it by night at least three times), and overall a little less fun. Maybe it was the lack of shenanigans by all the gods, with only Calypso, Poseidon, and Athena getting any significant air time.

I still believe both these books are an essential read, and I will be also diving into Virgil's The Aenied...and might even follow that up with Beowulf. Have a bit of a taste for these epic tales right now.
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LibraryThing member Zoes_Human
The Odyssey is well worth reading not only to experience a story that has so heavily influenced Western literature, but also because, as appalling of a hero as Odysseus may be, it's a fun story. In all its extravagance, it set the standard for epic adventures.

I cannot recommend Emily Wilson's
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translation enough. It is beautiful and fluid. She maintains a poetic rhythm yet the language is modern and clear. It's worth the extra time to read it out loud so you can truly savor the language for both its flow and the way it captures the sentiments of the characters.

For those with several Odysseys under their belt, I would still recommend this version, if for no other reason than to read her introduction. Her analysis of the story is brilliant.
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LibraryThing member Emlyn_Chand
Preview…If you’re looking for a crash course in ancient Greek mythology, there is perhaps no better choice of reading material than the exciting epic poem “The Odyssey.” The details of Odysseus’ heroic journey home from the Trojan War were kept alive through oral tradition for hundreds of
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years before Homer ever set pen to parchment—which means every detail works together to weave a fascinating and rhythmic tale.Athena, goddess of wisdom, is on Odysseus’ side. Unfortunately, Poseidon, god of the sea, wants for his destruction. Every time Athena helps him gain some ground, Poseidon finds a way to introduce new difficulties to our hero. Odysseus faces angry gods, lustful goddesses and princesses, tempting sirens, the deadly Scylla and the Charybdis, the haunted underworld, the cursed cattle of the sun, a hungry Cyclops and oh-so much more.When he finally returns home, more than 10 years after the war’s end, he finds that a group of hostile suitors have taken over his palace in Ithaca. They are all vying for his wife Penelope’s hand; ultimately whoever she chooses will be made the new ruler. The suitors also have secret designs to murder Odysseus’ son, Telemachus, thus removing their last remaining obstacle.Penelope, the faithful wife, has through a variety of tricks and stalls been able to put off choosing a groom thus far. Will Odysseus make it home in time to save his family and the kingdom? Even if you already know how the tale ends, it’s so exciting getting there that you won’t want to pass up the opportunity to give “The Odyssey” another look or to read it for the very first time.You may like this book if…you like Greek mythology; you enjoy epic adventure tales, you like stories written in verse; the thought of gods meddling in the lives of mortals appeals to you; you’re intrigued by fantastic elements; you’re looking for something different than much of contemporary literature; you like reading books for free online.You may not like this book if…you don’t like stories that couldn’t really happen; poetry annoys or confuses you; it bothers you that the male gods can take on lovers whenever they want but when Calypso wants the very same thing she isn’t allowed to have it; you don’t like how Penelope remains faithful for so many years but Odysseus engages in a string of love affairs.
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LibraryThing member desultory
I've got the E V Rieu translation - a bit stodgy. It makes Homer sound like he went to an English public school. That can't be right.
LibraryThing member Tpoi
I resented being forced to read this in high school though even then parts of it struck me as potent, heavy, cool. Reading it aloud in class in college made it come alive, fire dry to tinder (more so than the Illiad which, aside from the actual fighting and the bits of betrayal, was ponderous).


Original language

Greek (Ancient)

Other editions

The Odyssey by Homer (Paperback)
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