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The Odyssey (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 30 Jan 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Rev Ed edition (30 Jan. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140449116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140449112
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

[Robert Fitzgerald s translation is] a masterpiece . . . An "Odyssey" worthy of the original. "The Nation" [Fitzgerald s" Odyssey" and "Iliad"] open up once more the unique greatness of Homer s art at the level above the formula; yet at the same time they do not neglect the brilliant texture of Homeric verse at the level of the line and the phrase. "The Yale Review " [In] Robert Fitzgerald s translation . . . there is no anxious straining after mighty effects, but rather a constant readiness for what the occasion demands, a kind of Odyssean adequacy to the task in hand, and this line-by-line vigilance builds up into a completely credible imagined world. from the Introduction by Seamus Heaney"

About the Author

Homer is thought to have lived c.750-700 BC in Ionia and is believed to be the author of the earliest works of Western Literature: The Odyssey and The Iliad.

E V Rieu was a celebrated translator from Latin and Greek, and editor of Penguin Classics from 1944-64. His son, D C H Rieu, has revised his work.

Peter Jones is former lecturer in Classics at Newcastle. He co-founded the 'Friends of Classics' society and is the editor of their journal and a columnist for The Spectator.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Tell me, Muse, the story of that resourceful man who was driven to wander far and wide after he had sacked the holy citadel of Troy. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By William Shardlow on 25 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
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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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Timotheos on 29 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
NB. This is a review of the WILDSIDE PRESS edition of Pope's Odyssey.

Physically, this is a well-produced paperback, but whoever was responsible for the actual text at Wildside Press should hang their head in shame! It appears to have been copied from a hopelessly inaccurate edition circulating on the Internet and to have received no proofreading whatsoever. Leaving aside the poor punctuation, let me give you just one example (taken from Book One) of how Pope's wonderful verse is regularly mangled in this dire edition.

At lines 245-8 (not that this unscholarly edition contains any line numbers) we read:

Who, press'd with heart-corroding grief and years,
To the gay court a rural shed pretors, ["pretors"?! - should read "prefers"]
Where, sole of all his train, a matron sage
Supports with homely fond his drooping age, ["fond"?! - should read "food"]

My advice (for what it's worth) would be to always check line 42 when inspecting an edition for the first time. If it reads "absolute degree" instead of "absolute decree", avoid!

Chartwell Books' 2009 edition of Pope's masterpiece, The Odyssey, with illustrations by John Flaxman, appears to be mercifully free of these appalling errors (judging from the Look Inside facility at Amazon.com).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dr. H. A. Lavender on 17 April 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a revised copy of an email which my husband sent to the supposed email address of Book Jungle (which bounced):

Subject: The Odyssey Of Homer (translated by Alexander Pope)
To: sales@bookjungle.com
Date 16/04/2012

Recently I purchased this work in your edition from Amazon on-line. I am in the process of reading it.

I have been amazed, shocked and angered by your production. On every page there are multiple mistakes in punctuation (errors of omission or commission of periods, commas, colons, semi-colons); and in words ( erroneous omission or insertion of letters, or wrong words).

I cannot understand how you allowed this abominably produced book to be released. These errors begin in carelessness in type-setting/wordprocessing, and continue through proof-reading and editing.

Have you no sense of professionalism, pride in your work or sense of responsibility to customers?
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78 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Neil Sellen on 16 Jan. 2007
Format: Paperback
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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