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The Odyssey of Homer: A New Verse Translation [Paperback]

Homer , Allen Mandelbaum
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Sep 1991 0553213997 978-0553213997 Reprint
Homer's epic chronicle of the Greek hero Odysseus' journey home from the Trojan War has inspired  writers from Virgil to James Joyce. Odysseus  survives storm and shipwreck, the cave of the Cyclops  and the isle of Circe, the lure of the Sirens' song  and a trip to the Underworld, only to find his  most difficult challenge at home, where treacherous  suitors seek to steal his kingdom and his loyal  wife, Penelope. Favorite of the gods, Odysseus  embodies the energy, intellect, and resourcefulness  that were of highest value to the ancients and that  remain ideals in out time.

In this  new verse translation, Allen  Mandelbaum--celebrated poet and translator of Virgil's  Aeneid and Dante's Divine Comedy  --realizes the power and beauty of the original  Greek verse and demonstrates why the epic tale of  The Odyssey has captured the human  imagination for nearly three thousand  years.


Product details

  • Paperback: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam USA; Reprint edition (1 Sep 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553213997
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553213997
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 2.8 x 10.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,849,750 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.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but I had not expected so many pages 26 Nov 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent but I had not expected so many pages. My own fault. Heavyweight and a bit difficult to read in bed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars review 16 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I studied this book in the original classical Greek as an undergraduate. I've not used my ancient Greek for many years therefore sadly I invested in the English translation. One for dipping into to remind me what a terrific story is told by the ancient poets - alos a bit of nostalgia when I read a chapter for my undergraduate days in Glasgow.
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By bernie VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
The Trojan War is over and one of our hero kings is lost. His son (Telemachus) travels to find any information about his father's fait. His wife (Penelope) must cunningly hold off suitors that are eating them out of house and home.

If he ever makes it home, Odysseus will have to detect those servants loyal from those who are not. One absent king against rows of suitors; how will he give them their just desserts? We look to Bright Eyed Pallas Athena to help prophecy come true.

Interestingly all the tales of monsters and gods on the sea voyage was told by Odysseus. Notice that no one else survives to tell the tale. Therefore, we have to rely on Odysseus' word.

Many movies took sections of The Odyssey, and expanded them to make interesting stories those selves.

Not just the story but also the way in which it is told will keep you up late at night reading.

The Odyssey

Troy (Two-Disc Widescreen Edition)
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  94 reviews
149 of 155 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic translation 8 Nov 2002
By An Attorney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This review will focus upon the translation of "The Odyssey" more than the work itself. Having withstood the test of time and considered the first great work of the Western tradition, "The Odyssey" can do well enough without my two cents.

This translation is among the most accurate on the market. Though I speak no Greek myself, classics professors have urged me to read this translation, the best English source available. Despite the usual popularity of the Fitzgerald translation, the Lattimore version provides a more literal translation with consistent themes of word choice running throughout. "They put their hands to the good things that lay ready before them," for example, will come up over and over again because, quite simply, the phrase comes up over and over again. And we have the same adjectives consistently before each of the major players: resourceful Odysseus, thoughtful Telemachos, and circumspect Penelope, along with the gray-eyed Athene. Lattimore explains how he chooses to translate the work, and his translation is a literal work of a genius. He retains the lyric style in form throughout the work, aligning this translation even more closely with the original text.

For those who desire the most accurate translation of this great work, I would highly recommend the Lattimore translation of "The Odyssey of Homer."
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight-forward translation 8 Nov 2007
By Mark Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I own and have read translations of The Iliad & The Odyssey by Fagles, Fitzgerald, and Lattimore. I rate them as follows:
1. Lattimore
2. Fitzgerald
3. Fagles
Fitzgerald's translations are often the most enjoyable. However, I feel that Lattimore's clarity facilitates greater understanding of the story by the reader.
76 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The stuff that heroes are made of? 29 Jan 2001
By sid1gen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This Lattimore translation of "The Odyssey" was the first book I read last quarter for my Comparative Literature class, and it became a preview of coming wonders. I had neglected the old classics out of ignorance and prejudice (these two tend to go together) and "The Odyssey" was one of those books that forced me to look at an entire collection of genres and literary epochs in a different, far more positive way. I do not know Greek, therefore I cannot say whether the translation is absolutely faithful to the original, but it flows well when read silently and it sounds even better when I read it aloud, alone at night. This is the story of Odysseus, King of Ithaka, Captain of the Greeks, who must return to his homeland and his family after helping defeat the Trojans. Amazingly enough, many people seem to have bought entirely into the idea of Odysseus as a noble, courageous, and honorable leader of men who gets sidetracked solely because of the wrath of Poseidon. I finished this poem with an entirely different view of its protagonist. To me, Odysseus was an arrogant liar, a murderer and a rapist who did not hesitate to attack people who were not his enemies (the Kikonians on his way back after sacking Troy and killing and/or enslaving most of its people, as reads in Book IX, page 138), and who did not hesitate to endanger the lives of his men just to boast of his deeds (same Book, page 150). This "hero" eventually makes it to Ithaka and ends up drenched in the blood of the suitors of his wife, ordering the torture and death of the serving women who had become lovers of the suitors. His son Telemachos becomes a murderer as well: he kills a man by stabbing him on the back with a javelin. Since the suitors represented the youth of Ithaka's noble families, Odysseus has arranged to create a blood feud with everyone on the island. Only the intervention of Athena will save the day, and after all the bloodshed, all the lies, the pillaging, and the murders, he leaves Ithaka and Penelope once more to wander in other lands and thus follow a prophecy regarding his own death.
"The Odyssey" is a great poem. It is never boring and only after reading it complete one understands how little the film and TV productions kept of the original work, and how poorly we have been served with such adaptations. My reading of this timeless classic is rather different to that of other people who may have much better qualifications in this area. What I got out of it was the impression that Homer, whomever he was, used irony to drive home a message regarding his "hero," and this irony, together with the folklore that surrounded the Trojan War and its participants, helped Euripides, by the Fifth century BC, paint a far more direct and damaging picture of the Greek victors in his "Trojan Women."
I now consider "The Odyssey" necessary reading. Even if you read it and arrive to a different understanding of the poem, I think it will be an extremely valuable experience.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I like THIS translation 15 Nov 2011
By Mrs. E - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I teach both the Iliad and the Odyssey at the high-school level, and I use the Lattimore translations for both. No one preserves the stately dactylic hexameter verse as he does. Lattimore also preserves the (yes, formulaic) xenia scenes and epithets.
Now let me say why I prefer this translation to all others. It's just mind-bendingly beautiful. Homer should NOT be trivialized or "vernacularized" - the reader should be able to immerse himself in the culture, to hear the voice of the singer, and to know the workings of the mind of "the man of many ways." This translation allows that.
I read another review concerning the reader's discovery that Odysseus was a horrible rapist and war-monger. Well, such were the times - he was a soldier returning from 10 years of rape, pillage, and plunder of the Trojans and their allies. Hence, the seemingly-random attack on the Kikonians. But it wasn't random - they were Trojan allies and fair game. Odysseus doesn't always behave well, according to our standards, but he is the perfect product of a superlative storyteller.
36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hear the Sirens sing. 25 Jun 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When I was a younger lad, I bought Richard Lattimore's translation, which is a grandiose bore. Then I had the good fortune to read Mandelbaum's Aeneid, which shines. This brought me to Mandelbaum's Odyssey. And it is the ideal Odyssey for scholarship and pleasure:
-The language is simple and strong. Mandelbaum knows his job--he tells the story simply and brings the ancient genius of Homer through with vigor and clarity. Occasionally Mandelbaum goes on a stint of rhyme and that's distracting, but overall the translation is beautiful.
-There's a well-drawn map of Ancient Greece in the beginning that really sets the scene for the wild sea adventures.
-One of the complaints I often hear about epics is that the many characters are difficult to keep straight. Mandelbaum solves this by giving us a comprehensive glossary in the back of the book that explains who everyone is and lists the page numbers of where they occur in the book.
-Another thing makes this a swift read is that, at the beginning of each book, Mandelbaum gives a quick summary of what's about to happen (a fantastic feature for reference and review).
Thus, with the book summaries, the glossary, and the map, you always know where you are in the epic--so while Odysseus wanders, you are never lost.
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