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The Odyssey of Homer [Paperback]

Homer , Alexander Pope
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
Price: £9.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

6 Sep 2007
The Odyssey is the sequel to the Illiad in which the Greek hero Odysseus has many adventures in his travels. After the fall of Troy Ulysses (the name the Roman's gave Odysseus) returns to Ithica. During the nine years of the Trojan War and the subsequent eleven years it takes Odysseus to return home, his wife Penelope has to deal with a group of disruptive suitors.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 532 pages
  • Publisher: Book Jungle (6 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604240687
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604240689
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 19 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,590,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ace who launched a thousand books 25 Nov 2008
I will avoid hubris by not attempting to rate "the Odyssey" per se! My five stars are for the translation by E.V. Rieu in the Penguin Classics edition, updated by his son and Peter Jones to make it even more readable for the current generation. The transparent, joyful prose makes this a superb experience for child or adult. It doesn't read like a translation. There is no tortured struggle with the Greek. There are no King James' bible archaisms. I can't see how it could be made more accessible or joyful for modern readers. If a teenager watches a film of this epic and asks for the "book version", give them this this! They will instantly get the message that the film version is never better than the original book.

One reviewer had trouble digesting some paragraphs. Were they reading a different translation? I had little trouble digesting this; the only (slight) difficulty was with the large cast of characters. Greek Gods are dropped in without much explanation, and as I'm not an expert on Ancient Greek Myth I needed some help with placing these endlessly interesting characters. Fortunately the editors provide a superb glossary! This gives you a short sentence about every place and person involved -- no more or less than you need to get on with the story.

Rieu's translation was the first of the Penguin Classics,the series which he and Sir Andrew Lane founded. His aim was to translate classics into good modern English. So I guess he thought he had to to a really good job on this first book. And he did! The vision of founding the Penguin Classics came to him while translating the Odyssey aloud to his wife and daughters while bombs dropped on London during the blitz. You might call him "the ace who launched a thousand books".
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
This book is a joy to encounter. It is an English translation of Homer's (c.750BCE) ancient Greek Classic, often referred to as the second book in Western literature - the first being Homer's Illiad. It is the story of Odysseus' 20 year return journey back to the Greek island of Ithaca, from the Trojan War - the Trojan War campaign being the subject of the Illiad. It is believed to have originally been a poem describing events dating to around 1,200BCE. Homer appears to have written this story of oral tradition onto paper for the first time. Although Homer lived in the 8th century (BCE), which was the Iron Age in Greece, the Odyssesy continuously refers to weapons and armour being made of bronze, which again suggest an earlier time. However, although the core of the story may well be hundreds of years older thanHomer's time, nevertheless, certain curious contemporary practices appear to be recorded. In around 1,200 BCE, the habit for dealing with the dead was burial, in Homer's time it was cremation. Homer cites in the Odyssesy that dead people were 'cremated'. This means that oral traditions are not static but continue to develop all the time, around a much older core story.

The paperback (1991) edition contains 394 numbered pages and contains the following sections:

1) Preface.
2) Introduction - Peter V Jones.
3) Brief Reading List - Peter V Jones.
4) The Odyssesy - Pages 1-394.

The original text of this translation was published in 1946, by EV Rieu, the co-founder of the Penguin Classics series (with Sir Allen Lane). The purpose of this series was to produce modern English version of literary classics that everyone could easily access. The Oydssey was the first published Penguin Classic, whilst the Illiad was the second.
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74 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this twice.... 16 Jan 2007
The first time, read it for the tale.

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.
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