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This review is from: The Odyssey of Homer (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
People are generally supposed to be either an 'Iliad' person or an 'Odyssey' person and I have to confess that I'm definitely an 'Iliad' person. Even so, this is THE translation of the Odyssey, whether you're a student or a general reader. Lattimore amazingly maintains the narrative drive of the original with a sense of the majestic sound and rhythm of the language so that you know you're reading an 'epic' - in all senses of the word.
Hailed as a fantasy/romance depicting the Greek's engagement with the outside world that they were coming into contact with through colonisation, or a meditation on what it means to be civilised and urban as opposed to being 'natural' such as the cyclops or Circe, this is still a wonderful story with which anyone can engage.
Where the Iliad is about dissolution, death and the breaking of all human bonds, the Odyssey is about reconciliation, restitution and homecoming. Odysseus (the Roman Ulysses) is a Greek 'everyman' struggling to make it home from Troy to his faithful wife Penelope while facing the challenges (both martial and sexual) of his opponents, and on his journey meets and defeats the sirens, the cyclops, Sylla and Charybdis, Circe, Kalypso and a host of other obstacles.
For me, one of the most fascinating and poignant episodes is where we see Helen back at home in Sparta with her husband Menelaus who has brought her back from Troy.
Essential reading as one of the foundations of European literature, this is a far better translation that the prose Penguin or Oxford versions.