. I decided to teach THE DOYSSEY (in a college general education course) from E.V. Rieu's prose translation (Penguin) because I am teaching students at a somewhat introductory level and wanted to do the simplest modern translation possible. To my surprise, I found the simplest, after some comparison, to be revealed as the best. For one thing, epic simile in Rieu's translation is not obtrusive, nor is it meant to be. It is meant to familiarize the non-Homeric reader with the Homeric world, not to serve self-consciously as an example of metaphor as such, which is what freshman-English teachers wanting to smuggle a bit of "literature" into their heavy Great Books diet tend to do. A good example here is in the Circe episode when the mountain lions threatening Odysseus' men but drugged by Circe are compared to dogs whining for scraps at their masters' table. Rieu lets the image speak for itself, and perform its rhetorical function, without having it obtrude from the narrative . The fuss that has greeted Robert Fagles' recent translation of the Odyssey is unprecedented--except if one remembers, as I do, that the Richmond Lattimore and Robert Fitzgerald translations were greeted with equal acclaim a generation ago. Both Bernard Knox (who wrote the introduction to Fagles' translation) and Fagles himself speak of Fitzgerald and Lattimore with mild disparagement, while the reviewers, implicitly by their attitude of "Fagles has finally provided us with a Homer for our time" implicitly dismiss Fitzgerald and Lattimore as failures. Yet the funny thing is Fagles, Fitzgerald, and Lattimore are all rather similar. They were all born within twenty years of each other, in the first quarter of the 20th century. Fagles, Fitzgerald, Lattimore all see themselves as tough-minded modernists, Poundian types, hewers to a stringent poetic line, none of this romantic eloquence or any of this "art" nonsense. They are all of the same vintage. Whatever the social and cultural changes from 1960 to n! ow, they have probably not been substantial enough to change the way we see Homer, a poet writing at the earliest 2700 years ago, from the perspective of a senior scholar/translator. Fagles is probably the best of the poetic versions, as he retreats from the extreme Hellenization in some of the others which gave us "Kirke" instead of the more familiar Circe. Fagles also includes Telemachus' rebuke to his mother, telling her to return to the women's quarters and mind her own business. Fitzgerald had deleted this in apparent recognition of the women's movement. I guess you can see Fagles' re-inclusion of the rebuke as third-wave feminism. Anyway, I don't see that Fagles represents anything but a slight improvement over Fitzgerald and Lattimore, and I do not recommend any of the three. If you want a prose translation that preserves both the sense and phrasing of Homer and is good for introductory students and the general reader, than take the E.V. Rieu translation.