- Hardcover: 528 pages
- Publisher: Everyman; New Ed edition (8 Oct. 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1857150945
- ISBN-13: 978-1857150940
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3 x 21 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 289,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Odyssey (Everyman's Library Classics) Hardcover – 8 Oct 1992
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More About the Author
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.
About the Author
Homer is a much-debated figure traditionally considered to have composed the two great oral poems The Odyssey and The Iliad in eighth or seventh-century-BC Greece
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Top Customer Reviews
The edition begins with an introduction by Seamus Heaney, who provides an inventive and insightful foreword, it in no way preaches as to how the work should be perceived, but it isn't as in-depth as the introduction by Peter Jones in the Penguin edition. The text follows and I found that I much preferred the layout to the Penguin, it's present far better, much more accessible, not just a clump of text but spaced in accordance with the rhythms in the piece, Heaney writes that Fitzgerald's translation `grounds it in the realms of modern English verse. His metre is loose iambic pentameter, which encompasses the natural pace and normal breathing rate of English verse.' This is evident when reading, the passages pass with great fluidity. Also included is a lengthy postscript by Fitzgerald that is very interesting.
I recommend this edition for people who want a nice edition, to place on their keeper self and enjoy again and again (and it's really very reasonable priced), if you're looking for a copy for study the Penguin is possibly more suitable as you're not going to want to write notes in the margin in this edition and it takes a more learned look at most aspect of the narrative, this is more concise. I'm sure you know something of the story so I won't bore with another synopsis but I will quote Heaney again on the books magnitude and resonance:
`...classical poetry is forever calling us towards the future: its perfected visions of reality propel the spirit forward into a joyful recognition rather than calling it back or keeping it on hold.'
The tale of the wandering of Odysseus and the trials, tribulations and adventures that befall him as he attempts to return to his rocky Ithaca and Penelope of the shapely ankles. It's a rollicking read. You'll be reminded of snippets of Sindbad, Aladdin, Watership Down, Captain Corelli's bloody Mandolin and so many other later works that involve a "homecoming". But this was the first.
The first time these stories about men, gods and monsters were all pulled together into a pretty coherent narrative. Most of the sub-tales such as Odysseus' trip into Hell, his encounter with monsters such as Polyphemus the Cyclops and the Harpies; with Proteus, the Sirens and the witch Circe were all probably part of a repetoire of tales delivered by the local poet/entertainer long before someone called Homer grabbed the posthumous glory by having them ascribed to him.
Homecomings are still a pretty popular genre in film, television and print. There must be something in the plot device which touches an unconscious part of us. It's a bit feelgood; it's a bit dreadful. It engages us all. Is Odyseus going to get home? What will happen to his wife and son? What would I do?
So, read it first for the story. And surprise yourself at how well you recognise the motivations and actions of characters placed in these situations over 2700 years ago. We haven't changed much, have we?
Then read it again.
This time, read it for the world of Odysseus. For what it tells you about the way we lived in a pre-literate, feudal society where any kind of progress was hard-won and very easily lost. Read it for the similes and metaphors Homer uses to describe things and events to an audience to make them come alive and be real to them.Read more ›
But this epic is not only a story of Oddyseus' long absence, but describes how his wife and son survive at home and particularly touching is the recount of Penelope's moral dilemma of whether to wait for her husband to return or to carry on with her life and marry another suitor.
The Odyssey is an epic which has something in it for everyone, with many strong varied characters that can be empathised with, and situations that are still reflected in today's society. It is poetical whilst still being direct; humourous whilst still being touching; and an epic which you will actually enjoy reading until the very last page!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Absolutely Great. Bought for my neice, she was over the moon. Certainly great Value for the money.
Nicely presented. Delivery was very quick.
The Odyssey is definetly a must read book! If you like your Greek mythology this is the book for you!
I really enjoyed reading it in school and I had to own it. Read more