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on 6 August 2017
I've tried to read the Iliad a few times before, knowing it to be a classic, worthwhile and influential on modern culture - and given up. However, I was so relieved to discover this fluid, poet translation that, while appearing to lose nothing, makes it very readable. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants to discover where Western Culture originated.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 28 May 2018
Homer’s The Odyssey I see has been voted by a number of writers and critics as the top book to read as one of those that has shaped the world and thought. It is easy to see why, and also why this story has always been well regarded.

In this Amazon Classics Edition Odysseus here is translated as Ulysses, and as there are a number of editions cross-posted on this site, and if you somehow do not know the tale, please remember this and bear it in mind. With The Iliad we read of the Trojan War, but here it is over and thus we read of Ulysses’ return home, which takes many years. Whilst he is away so his son is brought up seeing many men living off the wealth of the land and wooing his mother, Ulysses’ wife.

With only two episodes recounted by another, the majority is thus what we are told by Ulysses himself, and thus we read of adventure and intrigue for our hapless hero. But the question always sits in the back of your mind – is this what really happened, or was Ulysses more likely having dalliances with other women? Because although his journey wasn’t too long across the sea, so he seems to travel everywhere thwarted by the gods, in his efforts to get home to his loving wife.

So, although this is serious in structure and plotting, every time you read this you feel like this is a tall tale, and one that would have been told in the taverns of the day, by someone who was perhaps a little inebriated. So, if you want to read this as being what happened, or as a series of porkies, it doesn’t really matter, as it is still enjoyable; however, if you take it as the latter you may come up with ideas to explain to the missus why you have been a bit too long down the pub.

Translated into most languages, and highly influential on others, creating adaptations and spin-off tales this is something that is always well worth reading.
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on 25 May 2018
I cannot give this a low review in light of it's historical importance, but to be honest, I will have to read this in stages.

I was finding it hard to keep track of the characters - especially since there are Roman names for Greek characters. And to be honest, I would have preferred to find a translation written as a story.

I am sure the translation is genius, but I would rather read a story than keep struggling through a poem.

My bad, I think.in this case.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 5 September 2013
" `... insignificant / mortals, who are as leaves are, and now flourish and grow warm / with life, and feed on what the ground gives, but then again / fade away and are dead.' "

Note: this review is of the translation of the Iliad by Richmond Lattimore (University of Chicago Press, first published 1951: ISBN 0-226-46940-9)

While nearly everyone may be familiar with parts of the story of the Iliad, it probably comes as a surprise to many that Achilles does not actually die in the poem, but his fate is already set. I've read a lot of novels over the years based on stories around the Iliad and the Odyssey, and am familiar with much that happens in the overall storyline, but it's not until you read a really good transation, such as this one (assuming you cannot read the original Greek which I'm sorry to say I cannot) that you `hear' the beauty and compellingly stunning craft of this epic poem.

The lines of description, of action, of beauty and of horror remain true to colour even at this distance of years and culture. So much of the action in the book is of horrific battle scenes, where those who were wounded, unless it was superficial, had little or no chance of survival given the manner of war in those times. The descriptive battle scenes are, even to our `modern' jaded senses still horrific - for example "Patroklos coming close up to him stabbed with a spear-thrust at the right side of the jaw and drove it on through the teeth, then hooked and dragged him with the spear over the rail ... and as he fell the life left him." (16.404-410).

Lattimore's transation, first published in 1951, remains the translation of choice still for many scholars, and I'm glad I have read the Iliad right through in this translation. It is empathetic and retains much of the rhythm and structure of the original poem, according to other commentaries and works on the Iliad that I am currently studying in conjunction with this work.

15,693 lines of epic poetry, if composed by one man, that mysterious `Homer', and written down perhaps some two and a half thousand or more years ago, is a stunning accomplishment even today; to have been able to compose such a beautiful and astonishingly crafted work such a long time ago, especially if it was originally an orally remembered and transmitted work really does boggle the mind to consider. Brilliant stuff.
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on 22 November 2016
While it's hard to say this without ever having read the original Greek, I dare say this is an excellent English rendition of The Odyssey. I can only imagine it is as rythmic as the original, which is quite a lot to say considering that translating Greek into English while keeping the metric of the text must be quite challenging. Although I must make clear I never read any other English translation of The Odyssey, my final impression of this translation was that of a fine example of unmissable ancient literature made accessible to present times.
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on 23 August 2016
A must-read for anyone remotely interested in ancient cultures, the Greek pantheon, and - frankly - any kind of literature. Homer's epic will engage you, break your heart, and raise a lot of good questions about warfare. This translation is decent (I had to read the poetic translations for academic work) for a general reading, and very enjoyable. The Odyssey is more of an adventure, per se, but there's nothing like the Iliad to so effectively convey human emotions.
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on 30 November 2015
I've got a very eclectic taste in reading e.get. I have just read all the Harry Potter books and I love Jilly Cooper, and many more, but I also love all the Classics. The Odyssey is fantastic. The first time is a bit heavy going but read it again and you pick up things you may have missed. A great read.
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on 16 November 2017
This is an absolutely stunning production. Robert Fitzgerald's wonderful translation - my personal favourite - brought to life by Dan Stevens with astonishing variety, understanding and depth. I'd recommend it unreservedly
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on 10 May 2013
The Odyssey is a great story, I only wish I could read it in the original Greek, but as I can't and I am far too old to learn now, I sought advice on which translate to buy. The translation does make all the difference, and there are so many out there, a number very good, that it is difficult to decide which to buy. I was told that Richmond Lattimore's was one of the best around, I took the advice, bought the Kindle version, and am glad i did because I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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on 6 September 2010
I first read The Odyssey about 60 years ago when a new translation by E. V. Rieu was much publicised and available from Penguin. As a teenager I enjoyed it very much as an adventure story, about which I had heard. I have quite a few books and was confident that my copy was 'somewhere' when I recommended the Odyssey to a readers group to which I belong; it was accepted and added to the list and came up this last month. I could not find my copy; the library could not obtain a 'Rieu' copy, in time, so I visited my friendly Amazon website. I found the Rieu was still available but, in addition to the original, a later version is available that has been slightly revised by the son of E.V.; I ordered and have read it again. Although I read with a lifetime of experience behind me I really enjoyed it once again. This time, however, I have both the introduction by E V from 1946 and a DCHR Preface of 2002, which begins with'My Father E. V. ...' in which the son, DCHR, later refers to his father as EVR. It is obvious that both Father and Son love and respect Homer.
Read the story and then the DCHR Preface followed by the PVJ Introduction with His analysis of the construction of the 'plot' and why it is arranged in the way that it is.
Finally, I learned that the EVR translation gave us the very first book in the Penguin Classics series. A Really Fine package; you will be glad to own and treasure it. Just do not mislay it, you never know ...!
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