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Odyssey Hardcover – Jan 1968


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Joanna Cotler Books (Jan 1968)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060125314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060125318
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 314,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More 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.

Product Description

Book Description

‘The best living translator of Greek poetry into English is Richmond Lattimore…. This is the best Odyssey in modern English.’ – Gilbert Highet

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

‘The best living translator of Greek poetry into English is Richmond Lattimore…. This is the best Odyssey in modern English.’ – Gilbert Highet

"In this Odyssey Professor Lattimore has achieved his 'chef-d´oeuvre' as a translator. Studied in retrospect, much of his previous work takes on the appearance, technically speaking, of prolegomena to this dazzling and well-nigh flawless performance…"

"In the Odyssey he has found the ideal poem both poem for himself and for his audience; and he has come to it at the very height of his powers… Here is a master in perfect control of his medium. The apparent ease with which he surmounts every problem, the perfect balance struck and maintained between vivid, fast-moving narrative and epic formality, the rhythmic subtleties, the freshness and vigour of language displayed from first page to last – all these make his Odyssey a landmark in the history of modern translation…"

"He has, in fact, come about as near as any man could to conveying, in English, the utterly alien movement and structure of Homer's poetry…"

"It would be a crime to underestimate the miraculous and self-effacing artistry with which Professor Lattimore has reanimated Homer for this generation, and perhaps for other generations to come."
THE TIMES (LONDON) LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

"The many admires of Richmond Lattimore's 'Iliad' will not be disappointed in his 'Odyssey'. His complete Homer is indeed a splendid achievement, and I shall be very far from being alone in regarding it much the best translation there is of a great, perhaps the greatest, poet."
REX WARNER, 'New York Times Book Review'

"Richmond Lattimore's translation of Homer's 'Odyssey' is the most eloquent, persuasive and imaginative I have seen. It reads as if the poem had originally been written in English…"
PAUL EAGLE

"Richmond Lattimore's… 'Odyssey' is his masterpiece. It has the accuracy that too many translators take to be beneath themselves; the images are Homer's own; and Lattimore does not permit himself flights of his own fancy."
WALTER KAUFMANN

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
Tell me, Muse, of the man of many ways, who was driven far journeys, after he had sacked Troy's sacred citadel. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By John Sheldon on 24 Sep 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a new translation, the translator Richard Lattimore died a few years ago, but it is one of the best blank verse translations I have ever read (the other really good one is by Francis Caulfeild, but you would be lucky to find a copy now). The translator has attempted to reproduce in English blank verse the style and idiom of Homer's original Greek version (dating from about 2600 years ago). I am not qualified to comment on the technicalities of Lattimore's Greek-English translation, but I have been enjoying The Odyssey in English translations for several decades now and know a 'good read' when I find one.
There is a very good introduction which, yes, gives the plot away, but that does not matter as Homer's original audience knew the story well anyway - what made Homer's Odyssey so good was the way he told it; and in essence it is the same thing that makes Lattimore's translation so good - there is a freshness that keeps you reading, and although I have read a number of different versions, each of them several times, this book is still compulsive reading. The introdction also covers the construction of the story, which starts halfway through, then fills in the earlier events like a 'flashback' before continung to the end (yes, Homer thought of this way of telling a story long before our current film/TV industry did).
There is an exhaustive and very helpful glossary, mostly concerning the identities of the numerous people and gods who appear or are referred to in the story.
Yes, this is a recommended book to anyone who wants something a bit more demanding than airport pulp fiction and who can be patient with and open to the idiosyncracies of a very old, and comparatively expansive, writing style.
The "Odyssey" of Homer (P.S.)
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Graham S on 14 May 2009
Format: Paperback
There's a confusing choice of translations of The Odyssey available on the market; some are wonderful, and some are frankly torrid and almost impenetrable even to a reader who is educated in and familiar with the classics.

Although some of the prose translations may initially seem to offer an easier route into the marvels of Homer, don't be fooled! Lattimore has produced a translation that is sparkling in its imagery and is therefore in many respects a far easier read than many prose versions.

Quite simply, as the blurb on the cover states: you'd be excused for thinking that The Odyssey was actually originally written in English!

For a verse translation of Homer's Odyssey, you won't go wrong with Lattimore.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By alexkemp on 19 Feb 2006
Format: Paperback
When I was at school we studied the Rieu transalation of The Odyssey so when I revisited the epic as part of my university course I was reluctant to switch to the recommended Lattimore version. I eventually overcame my fear of change and am pleased to report that the Lattimore is the most faithful and accurate translation that I have encountered. It also makes a great study aid when refering back to the original ancient greek sources.
While Lattimore or Rieu are both suitable for those of us with slight scholarly inclinations - I understand that beginners might be better with a prose translation such as Shewring. I will still keep my Rieu translation on the bookshelf out of fondness!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 19 Oct 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
People are generally supposed to be either an 'Iliad' person or an 'Odyssey' person and I have to confess that I'm definitely an 'Iliad' person. Even so, this is THE translation of the Odyssey, whether you're a student or a general reader. Lattimore amazingly maintains the narrative drive of the original with a sense of the majestic sound and rhythm of the language so that you know you're reading an 'epic' - in all senses of the word.

Hailed as a fantasy/romance depicting the Greek's engagement with the outside world that they were coming into contact with through colonisation, or a meditation on what it means to be civilised and urban as opposed to being 'natural' such as the cyclops or Circe, this is still a wonderful story with which anyone can engage.

Where the Iliad is about dissolution, death and the breaking of all human bonds, the Odyssey is about reconciliation, restitution and homecoming. Odysseus (the Roman Ulysses) is a Greek 'everyman' struggling to make it home from Troy to his faithful wife Penelope while facing the challenges (both martial and sexual) of his opponents, and on his journey meets and defeats the sirens, the cyclops, Sylla and Charybdis, Circe, Kalypso and a host of other obstacles.

For me, one of the most fascinating and poignant episodes is where we see Helen back at home in Sparta with her husband Menelaus who has brought her back from Troy.

Essential reading as one of the foundations of European literature, this is a far better translation that the prose Penguin or Oxford versions.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Graham Mummery TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 Mar 2003
Format: Paperback
This translation of The Odyssey is highly rated by classics scholars. My classics teacher at school rated as the finest following the original Greek virtually line for line with astonishing accuracy into English. Not having quite reached that level in Classical Greek, I cannot comment on that. But I have read several translations of this work (surely one of the greatest books ever written). The poetry flows without ever losing the narrative thread. Those unused to reading poetry will have no problems with this. The notes on place names, gods etc (which are liberally spread inside the text) are clear and helpful. Lattimore's introduction to the text is excellent. Those coming first to the Odyssey wanting a prose translation might try Rieu's excellent one in Penguin Classics. But you hardly need it- translation does not get better than this - nor or that matter does poetry.
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