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The Odyssey (Penguin Classics) by [Homer]
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The Odyssey (Penguin Classics) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Amazon Review

With the Trojan war finally over after many long years, Odysseus wants nothing more than a swift journey home where his throne and beloved wife, Penelope, await him. But Poseidon, the sea god, bears a grudge against him and plans to prevent his return across the wine-dark sea to Ithaca. Many tests of strength and character ensue as Odysseus's journey stretches out over the years, taking in a multitude of strange and wonderful places and creatures. That's the basic plot of the epic poem Homer told nearly 3,000 years ago, but, even now, a new English translation is a true literary event. The ancient story is told in easy-going, beautiful poetry, the characters speak naturally and the action moves along briskly. Even the gods come across as real people, despite the divine powers they constantly exercise. The Odyssey really is a gripping, fast-moving read.

Review

Robert Fagles is the best living translator of ancient Greek drama, lyric poetry, and epic into modern English. (Garry Wills, "The New Yorker")

Mr. Fagles has been remarkably successful in finding a style that is of our time and yet timeless. (Richard Jenkyns, "The New York Times Book Review")

Wonderfully readable... Just the right blend of roughness and sophistication. (Ted Hughes)
Robert Fagles is the best living translator of ancient Greek drama, lyric poetry, and epic into modern English. (Garry Wills, "The New Yorker")
Mr. Fagles has been remarkably successful in finding a style that is of our time and yet timeless. (Richard Jenkyns, "The New York Times Book Review")

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1291 KB
  • Print Length: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (1 Nov. 1997)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000OCXGRS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #135,439 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 7 Oct. 1997
Format: Hardcover
Since you ask me, you word-hungry Amazonians,
How I came solate in life to the end of a tale
That schoolchildren read in comic books,
A tale that is one of the sturdy legs
Of the table on which our culture rests
Since you ask, I will tell you, and gladly, too.
My journey started, though you grin in disbelief,
In ninth-grade Latin class, where "Ulysses"
Duped the cyclops by calling himself "Nemo."
Then a deep sleep fell over me,
And I knew no more Homer, not in Greek or Latin
Or English or even the strange tongue
Of the network miniseries, while Sun
Drove his blazing chariot round Earth
One hundred hundred times.
In this sleep I wandered the world of letters,
Homerless but unable to avoid the homeric:
Achilles' heel, the Sirens' song,
Calypso, the Trojan Horse, and swinemaking Circe--
Crouched like Scylla, aswirl like Charybdis,
Threatening cultural death to epic ignorance.
At last I found my literary Tiresias,
The New York Times Book Review.
I shook from this seer the name Fagles,
And so guided, I made my way home at last,
Through a translation that rings of a heroic time,
A time when men were stronger and grander than we,
When women were more beautiful,
And when, granted, sexual equality wanted
A few millennia's labor;
But even so, a rendering as modern
As anything DeLillo, new god of the underworld,
Or the infinitely jesting Wallace
Can lay before us.
The best, in fine, of both worlds, an epic worthy
Of the blind bard and of his heroes, his heroines,
And the deathless denizens of Olympus.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Purchased to accompany a course of study, but still a "must" for students of mythology or Greek history, In it the reader follows the adventures of Odysseus on his way to the Trojan War and how he eventually found his way home after many trials and tribulations, it is also a "coming of age" story of his son, Telemachus, who over the course of the poem transitions from ineffectual youth to newly fledged adult mythical hero.
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Format: Audio CD
This performance does justice neither to Ian McKellen, nor to the text; the reason? because it has been speeded up to reduce the time. Hence the notes made by other reviewers to the loss of the end of final consonants on some words. If you like speed reading, then this is for you - Penguin Audio squeeze Fagles unabridged translation into 11 hours. If on the other hand you want to enjoy listening to this great masterpiece at a more leisurely or regular reading pace then you might want to try the unabridged Naxos version read by Anton Lessor in 12 hours 45 mins - bear in mind also that Fagles' translation uses more words and lines than do rival translations, so if Anton Lessor were to be reading Fagles' translation then it would probably take in excess of 13 hours. Another alternative is Derek Jacobi's reading of an abridged version of the Odyssey.

However the most authoritative translations of Homer are by Richmond Lattimore - sadly not as far as I know available in audio format. These are still the preferred translation in universities on both sides of the Atlantic, still unrivalled after 50+ years!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a real delight; the text is clear without sounding trivial, and Sir Ian reads with great energy and conviction.

My only concern - and I hesitate to say this about one of our greatest actors - is that he tends to let his voice fade away before the end of the last word in a phrase or sentence: so 'He was astonished' becomes 'He was astoni'. Only once or twice has this actually stopped me from understanding the text - you usually get enough of the word to guess - but I find it distracting, as if you can never quite relax into the experience, because you are always listening out for the next vanishing syllable.

I would still heartily recommend the CDs, but I would be interested to know if anyone else finds this a problem.
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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Poor Odysseus. First he spent a decade fighting in a war he didn't want to go to in the first place. Then he spent ANOTHER decade trying to slog home.

And in one of many spinoffs of "The Iliad," the classical, archetypical trickster-hero spends the entire epic poem "The Odyssey" doing his absolute best to get home, despite the entire universe conspiring to stop him. Like the poem before it, it dances in odd chronological side-steps, with stories within stories, yet the presence of an intelligent and wily hero (just consider how he fools the Cyclops) keeps the story as fresh as ever. And Fagles' translation is a masterful piece of work.

It begins ten years after the end of the Trojan War. Odysseus has been missing ever since the war ended, and everybody assumes he's now dead. His son Telemachus is moping, and his wife Penelope has been fending off her ambitious suitors for several years. The goddess Athena, after interceding on Odysseus' behalf, begins guiding Telemachus to find news of his long-absent father.

Turns out Odysseus is actually alive, and has been the captive of the lovestruck sea-nymph Calypso for seven years. But when he finally gets away, he ends up shipwrecked on a far-off land (due to Poseidon being angry at him), and relates his bizarre story to the people who rescue him.

Among his adventures: his encounter with the Lotus-Eaters and a cruel man-eating Cyclops, the Laestrygonians, the sorceress Circe (who turns his men into pigs), the deadly Sirens, Scylla and Charibdis, and the wrath of a god when the crew eats sacred cattle. But even after all this weirdness and twenty years away, Odysseus is still determined to return home and reclaim his family and kingship.
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