The Odyssey

The Odyssey

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Overview

The Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of every man's journey through life. In the myths and legends that are retold here, renowned translator Robert Fagles has captured the energy and poetry of Homer's original in a bold, contemporary idiom and given us an edition of The Odyssey to read aloud, to savor, and to treasure for its sheer lyrical mastery. This is an edition to delight both the classicist and the general reader, and to captivate a new generation of Homer's students.

 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101221846
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/01/1997
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 222,030
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author



Homer was probably born around 725BC on the Coast of Asia Minor, now the coast of Turkey, but then really a part of Greece. Homer was the first Greek writer whose work survives. He was one of a long line of bards, or poets, who worked in the oral tradition. Homer and other bards of the time could recite, or chant, long epic poems. Both works attributed to Homer – the Iliad and the Odyssey – are over ten thousand lines long in the original. Homer must have had an amazing memory but was helped by the formulaic poetry style of the time.



In the Iliad Homer sang of death and glory, of a few days in the struggle between the Greeks and the Trojans. Mortal men played out their fate under the gaze of the gods. The Odyssey is the original collection of tall traveller’s tales. Odysseus, on his way home from the Trojan War, encounters all kinds of marvels from one-eyed giants to witches and beautiful temptresses. His adventures are many and memorable before he gets back to Ithaca and his faithful wife Penelope. We can never be certain that both these stories belonged to Homer. In fact ‘Homer’ may not be a real name but a kind of nickname meaning perhaps ‘the hostage’ or ‘the blind one’. Whatever the truth of their origin, the two stories, developed around three thousand years ago, may well still be read in three thousand years’ time.



Robert Fagles (1933-2008) was Arthur W. Marks ’19 Professor of Comparative Literature, Emeritus, at Princeton University. He was the recipient of the 1997 PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His translations include Sophocles’s Three Theban Plays, Aeschylus’s Oresteia (nominated for a National Book Award), Homer’s Iliad (winner of the 1991 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award by The Academy of American Poets), Homer’s Odyssey, and Virgil's Aeneid.



Bernard Knox (1914-2010) was Director Emeritus of Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. He taught at Yale University for many years. Among his numerous honors are awards from the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His works include The Heroic Temper: Studies in Sophoclean Tragedy, Oedipus at Thebes: Sophocles’ Tragic Hero and His Time and Essays Ancient and Modern (awarded the 1989 PEN/Spielvogel-Diamonstein Award).




Read an Excerpt

I

Athene Visits Telemachus

Tell me, Muse, the story of that resourceful man who was driven to wander far and wide after he had sacked the holy citadel of Troy. He saw the cities of many people and he learnt their ways. He suffered great anguish on the high seas in his struggles to preserve his life and bring his comrades home. But he failed to save those comrades, in spite of all his efforts. It was their own transgression that brought them to their doom, for in their folly they devoured the oxen of Hyperion the Sun-god and he saw to it that they would never return. Tell us this story, goddess daughter of Zeus, beginning at whatever point you will.

All the survivors of the war had reached their homes by now and so put the perils of battle and the sea behind them. Odysseus alone was prevented from returning to the home and wife he yearned for by that powerful goddess, the Nymph Calypso, who longed for him to marry her, and kept him in her vaulted cave. Not even when the rolling seasons brought in the year which the gods had chosen for his homecoming to Ithaca was he clear of his troubles and safe among his friends. Yet all the gods pitied him, except Poseidon, who pursued the heroic Odysseus with relentless malice till the day when he reached his own country.

Poseidon, however, was now gone on a visit to the distant Ethiopians, in the most remote part of the world, half of whom live where the Sun goes down, and half where he rises. He had gone to accept a sacrifice of bulls and rams, and there he sat and enjoyed the pleasures of the feast. Meanwhile the rest of the gods had assembled in the palace of Olympian Zeus, and the Father of men and gods opened a discussion among them. He had been thinking of the handsome Aegisthus, whom Agamemnon’s far-famed son Orestes killed; and it was with Aegisthus in his mind that Zeus now addressed the immortals:

‘What a lamentable thing it is that men should blame the gods and regard us as the source of their troubles, when it is their own transgressions which bring them suffering that was not their destiny. Consider Aegisthus: it was not his destiny to steal Agamemnon’s wife and murder her husband when he came home. He knew the result would be utter disaster, since we ourselves had sent Hermes, the keen-eyed Giant-slayer, to warn him neither to kill the man nor to court his wife. For Orestes, as Hermes told him, was bound to avenge Agamemnon as soon as he grew up and thought with longing of his home. Yet with all his friendly counsel Hermes failed to dissuade him. And now Aegisthus has paid the final price for all his sins.’

Table of Contents

Translator's Preface
Introduction, by Richard P. Martin
The ODYSSEY
1. Trouble at Home
2. A Gathering and a Parting
3. In the Great Hall of Nestor
4. With Menelaos and Helen
5. A Raft on the High Seas
6. Laundry Friends
7. The Warmest Welcome
8. Songs, Challenges, Dances, and Gifts
9. A Battle, the Lotos, and a Savage's Cave
10. Mad Winds, Laistrugonians, and an Enchantress
11. The Land of the Dead
12. Evil Song, a Deadly Strait, and Forbidden Herds
13. A Strange Arrival Home
14. The House of the Swineherd
15. Son and Father Converging
16. Father and Son Reunite
17. Unknown in His Own House
18. Fights in the Great Hall
19. Memory and Dream in the Palace
20. Dawn of the Death-Day
21. The Stringing of the Bow
22. Revenge in the Great Hall
23. Husband and Wife at Last
24. Last Tensions and Peace
Notes, by Richard P. Martin
Names in the Odyssey
Bibliography, by Richard P. Martin

What People are Saying About This

William F. Wyatt

"Edward McCrorie's translation of the Odyssey answers the demands of movement and accuracy in a rendition of the poem. His verse line is brisk and efficient, often captures the rhythm and the sound of the Greek, and functions well as an English equivalent of the Greek hexameter. Unlike most translators, he wishes to preserve at least some of the sound of the Greek, and his rendition of the formula glaukôpis Athene as glow-eyed Athene is inspired. He remains true to the formulae of Homeric verse, and several of his choices—such as rose-fingered daylight or words had a feathery swiftness—delight. Homer, Zeus-like, would have nodded his approval."

Keith Stanley

"This is a fine, fast-moving version of the liveliest epic of classical antiquity. With a bracing economy, accuracy, and poetic control, Edward McCrorie conveys the freshness and challenge of the original in clear, sensitive, and direct language. Instead of the uncertain solemnity of some previous translations or the free re-creation of others, McCrorie has managed a version that will have immediate appeal to this generation of students and general readers alike."

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