The Odyssey

The Odyssey

by Barry B. Powell

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Sing to me of the resourceful man, O Muse, who wandered far after he had sacked the sacred city of Troy. He saw the cities of many men and he learned their minds. He suffered many pains on the sea in his spirit, seeking to save his life and the homecoming of his companions. Odysseus--soldier, sailor, trickster, and everyman--is one of the most recognizable characters in world literature. His arduous, ten-year journey home after the Trojan War, the subject of Homer's Odyssey, is the most accessible tale to survive from ancient Greece, and its impact is still felt today across many different cultures. This lively free verse translation, from one of today's leading Homeric scholars, preserves the clarity and simplicity of the original while conveying Odysseus' adventures in a modern style. By avoiding the technical formality of earlier translations, and the colloquial and sometimes exaggerated effects of recent attempts, Barry B. Powell's translation deftly captures the most essential truths of this vital text. Due to his thorough familiarity with the world of Homer and Homeric language, Powell's introduction provides rich historical and literary perspectives on the poem. This volume also includes illustrations from classical artwork, detailed maps, explanatory notes, a timeline, and a glossary. Modern and pleasing to the ear while accurately reflecting the meaning of the original, this Odyssey is a superlative translation for twenty-first-century readers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199360338
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 05/01/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 692,196
File size: 13 MB
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About the Author

Barry B. Powell is Halls-Bascomb Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His translation of The Iliad (2013) was also published by Oxford University Press.

Table of Contents

Foreword, by Ian Morris Introduction The Odyssey Notes

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The Odyssey (Marvel Illustrated) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 388 reviews.
ZebraStripe More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing translation; the language is flawless, almost poetic. And, of course, a timless classic. I had to read this book for my English Honors course and expected boredom. However, I was pleasently surprised-- I enjoyed it! It's the story of the Greek hero, Odysseus, after the Trojan War. On the start of his voyage home, he provokes Poseidon, god of the sea. Thus, releasing the god's wrath. Odysseus faces many obstacles, on account of Poseidon's anger, including an encounter with Cyclops, Circe, and the Sirens, and a journey to Hades' Underworld. I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates classic literature. Though the language does take time to become accustomed to, the hardest part of this book is the vast amount of characters. I recommend composing a list of all the gods and goddesses in addition to demigods and heroes.
extreme-reader08 More than 1 year ago
I am amazed at this book! I was actually required to read this for summer reading and I wasn't exactly thrilled to see how thick it was of pages. But as I read it I became enchanted of the way the words are written and the characters, and the plot! I loved it so much I kept on reading, and before I knew it I was finished with it! An incredible tale written in ancient times that tells the story of an exiled soldier trying to return home with many sinister obstacles bloking his way. A great read for anyone who loves greek mythology, and for people who just love monsters and heroes.
Diangirl More than 1 year ago
Fagles makes this classical story accessible to everyone, using easy to read language while relating the adventures of Aeneas as he leaves Troy after being defeated by the Greeks and makes his way to Italy to found Rome. It contains travel tales like the Oddyssey and battles as in the Illiad. The introduction is also well worth reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for those who are new to epic poetry, like myself. It's written in prose (in paragraphs, rather than poetic stanzas). Squillace has done a fine job of introducing contemporary terms, where appropriate, without interrupting Homer/Palmer's story-telling rhythm. It's an engaging story, and the characters are fascinating, and I enjoyed it so much that I read all the footnotes at the end. Somewhat-interesting discussion questions at the conclusion. Read the Introduction after you read the book, not before. I wish I could find a translation of the Illiad by Palmer/Squillace, as they did a very good job of making the story, the characters and the language approachable. 'O'Brother Where Art Thou'? Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby.
dirkjohnson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(This review applies specifically to the HighBridge audiobook. From my point of view, Homer requires no review, being the fountainhead of European, and by extension, American culture.)This is a well-executed reading by Derek Jacobi of the fine Mandelbaum translation. Unfortunately this is an abridgment, and I only realized that it was abridged while listening to it after having already bought it at a bookstore. If the ratings were for the specific execution, I'd give this book (recording) one star because of the fact that it's abridged. It seems very likely to me that there are people who have heard this and believe that they've heard a translation of the Odyssey. They have most definitely not heard a translation of the Odyssey. I would never this audiobook it to anyone except, possibly, someone already very well versed in the available translations of the Odyssey, and maybe to someone who has read Homer in Greek for them to listen to when they go on a driving vacation.If publishers trick me into buying an abridgment, I am far less likely to ever purchase anything from them if I can get it elsewhere. I won't forget that HighBridge didn't prominently display the fact that this was an abridgment.
mnlohman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Okay, I finally forced myself to read it after all these years, and I found it boring,lengthy, slow reading, who cares! The gods are mad at Odysseus, so they put him through hell getting home. He's forced to sleep with a bevy of minor goddesses while his wife is plagued by slimy suitors at home. His son goes in search of him, but after slogging through nearly 200 pages, I gave up. Skip the book and watch "O, brother, Where art Thou?" Far more entertaining!
librarianbryan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've never been inspired by Homer. If you're looking for the blueprint for the best/worst action movie you ever saw here ya go. But in another way it is about fate, are arguably, that's the lesson of the Odyssey. You are not in control. The "gods" are. So just keep on keepin' on. Lombardo's translation is brisk. I recommend it.
jimmaclachlan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure, but I think this was the edition I read & liked the best - I've read several over the years. I liked the 'full' or 'best translated' versions & the highly edited versions the least. There's a happy medium in there. The full versions have a lot characters & stuff going on that doesn't add to the story & just confuses me. When edited too much, the story loses its flavor. The story line, plot, can't be beat. Much of the motivation of the characters seems weak or over-used, but that's only because it is the great-granddaddy of so much of our current literature, of course.
superphoenix on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining book..there is drama, action, romance, mythical creatures, magic, gods and goddesses, and many more. Its not just for those who love classics but should be read by everyone. Its worth the time and one gets to understand why people love the work of Homer so much
Emlyn_Chand on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
Tpoi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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).
es135 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a harrowing epic tale. While I enjoyed reading it, I think it may have been more effective if I heard it told, much like it would have been when Homer was alive. Regardless, adventure fans should enjoy this.
jpsnow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
Ameliaiif on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
if only circe had turned the men into guinea pigs...i might have liked this more
BookWallah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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. [Pause 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.
janemarieprice on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This translation is a must read for anyone interested in literature, classics, or history. The pace of the story is amazing with action and adventure mixed in with society and home life.
Elizabeth.Michele on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
How much more can possibly be said about this book?
steve.clason on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
akbibliophile on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Everything classic Greek literature should be.
sjstuckey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Absolutely a classic and a must-read for anyone interested in pre-classical Greece.
julie10reads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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; Penelop
Jsaj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great story, but can be a bit hard to read. Some of the phrases used in this translation are a bit weird- I suppose they were chosen to fit the rhythm, but it doesn't really fit. However, it is a very readable translation and the story is, of course, excellent.
lyzadanger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having trouble getting through the more academic poetic translations? I totally recommend the modern prose tranlsation by Eickhoff. Reads more like a novel than an esoteric, long-ago epic. Not that he can erase Homer's overarching misogynism, but that's a story for another day ;).
TerrapinJetta on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good fun to read, the end in this translation though seems to descend into rambling nonsense. A lot of it didn't really seem to make much sense, but the poetry of it carries you away so you don't really care anyway. I'd say this was a lot easier to read than say, Dickens, or somebody, for those who think they might be put off by the language/age of the text.
tcarter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
How do I meaningfully review a piece of work that has been around so long and is part of the foundation of all western literature? If you've read it, you'll know how great it is, and if you're thinking about reading it, then do so. Don't be afraid. It is great literature, but it's also a great read. It's deep but it's readable, it's tragic and it's comic. What strikes me is that you can imagine meeting the characters today, despite them having been written thousands of years ago, in another language, in another place. Sheer, accessible, genius.