The Odyssey

The Odyssey

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Publisher: London : Heinemann.
Characteristics: 427 pages

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n
njkstl
Mar 03, 2021

Heard Emily Wilson speak at an author event.

c
cwcyrus1
Feb 03, 2021

Following the Trojan war and the story of “The Iliad”, “The Odyssey” describes the final portions of Odysseus/Ulysses’s decade-long wanderings in his search for his home, Ithaca. After becoming stranded on the island Ogygia for seven years, the story begins. The poem has a two-pronged storyline which later converge into one; one for the struggles for Odysseus, and the others for the issues taking place in Ithaca. This epic still discusses events from the 12th century B.C.E., and is once again written in Greek by Homer, and takes the form of a poem written in dactylic hexameter. After struggles on both sides of the story, Odysseus finally reunites with his family, and aids in the removal of suitors for his wife who had been causing issues in Ithaca after Odysseus’s long disappearance.
Similar to future Roman works, “The Odyssey” points out cultural qualities that were “honored” and revered in society - here, fidelity is valued. Like “The Iliad”, many references to Greco-Roman mythology are present, and may require a greater understanding of ancient Greek mythology on the part of the reader in order to fully understand the epic.

Similar to “The Iliad”, “The Odyssey” uses many passing references to historical names, groups and events that may require more research to understand. Additionally, heavy topics are discussed in the epic, thus calling for a more mature audience.

l
Lessa185
Jan 14, 2021

Fun, thrilling, and enjoyable. A masterpiece that cannot be put down until it's finished.

Reading this masterpiece by Homer was enhanced by the eloquent teaching of Professor Elizabeth Vandiver in her 12-lecture Great Courses DVD set called "The Odyssey of Homer", available through VPL. Professor Vandiver writes in her booklet that Richmond Lattimore is her preferred translator of "The Odyssey" and "The Iliad", even though she admires two other translators, Robert Fagles, and Robert Fitzgerald. (I really enjoyed the Robert Fagles translation.) It was pure pleasure to read this epic poem for the first time and I can see myself reading it again. "The Odyssey" was never presented to me in my school years as a possibility to read, so it is true that it's never too late to learn! Happiness is reading Homer! I highly recommend VPL's material for "The Iliad by Homer" translated by Robert Fagles, plus Professor Vandiver's Great Courses DVD set, and CD audiobook read by Derek Jacobi.

a
alecbussott
Aug 18, 2020

Nothing short of a masterpiece. The ultimate hero's tale.

satx_bookshark Dec 01, 2019

This translation made reading the Odyssey a joy!

a
Andrew Kyle Bacon
Oct 18, 2018

It's always interesting, when entering into a book you've never read before, to see a book defy your expectations. I've read epic poetry before, but none like this, and now I see why THE ODYSSEY is so often considered the backbone of western literature. The reason is how it feels so incredibly modern, despite its age, and this is testimony to the fact that storytelling hasn't changed; what made for a good tale in the days of Homer (assuming a man named Homer even existed), still makes for a good tale in the modern world.

THE ODYSSEY has everything: swashbuckling, adventure, humor, and even copious amounts of gore. This last detail was perhaps the most surprising for me. At every turn someone is disemboweled, beheaded, or tortured, and the verbal descriptions of these deaths are always vivid. At times I felt like I was reading a novel as written by Quentin Tarantino. I would say, however, the violence, while impactful and gory and descriptive, is never vulgar or upsetting or repugnant. That said, it is colorful and graphic.

I don't particularly like Odysseus, but he is very heroic in the Greek sense of the word: he's intelligent and ruthless, and the gods favor his every move. But his journey is one worthy of your time, I think, and the translation I read (the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, translated by Robert Fagles, on Kindle) was engaging and colorful and readable. There were plenty of notes throughout the book, serving to explain details to the reader which would have been obvious to the original audience. In this way, the book is allowed to come to life, and come to life it does.

j
jmkwalkow
Sep 22, 2018

world wanderer who lost his way and wife

m
mighty_mom
Jul 09, 2018

Absolutely epic. You follow Odysseus (also called Ulysses) as he tries to make his way back to home and family after fighting in the Trojan War. This story was passed down in the oral tradition of storytelling, and is full of adventures, gods and goddesses, monsters, losses and intrigue. Required reading in some high school and college courses (I had to read it for more than one college class). Highly recommended and easily readable. Five stars.

x
xiaojunbpl12
May 29, 2018

The translation I picked maybe the latest. Simple concise but not plain, gave me space to roam the imaginary, in vocal enchantment.
Such experience was eclipsed by my concurrent read of American Ulysses (Grant’s biography). Mighty mythical saga indulged me with fantasy, in Odysseus heroic journey blessed by capricious Athena, I envision full display of mortal weaknesses, till the final vengeful slaughter with little wonder to exhilarate, left me numb to repulsion.
I may read Fagles’ translation in the future.

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r
readingfairy1
May 30, 2017

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Lots of scary stuff happens in The Odyssey -- it's a Greek epic poem after all...

r
readingfairy1
May 30, 2017

Sexual Content: The Odyssey has sexual content!

r
readingfairy1
May 30, 2017

Violence: The Odyssey has violence! (Especially chapter 22, when the suiters are killed, is very gruesome!)

r
readingfairy1
May 30, 2017

Coarse Language: The suiters call mean insults to other people etc.

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cwcyrus1
Feb 03, 2021

cwcyrus1 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

r
readingfairy1
May 30, 2017

readingfairy1 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

o
obsidianlily
Jun 29, 2014

obsidianlily thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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Kadie2 Aug 17, 2012

great adventure.

1
12sonas
Aug 16, 2012

Leaving the war in Troy, Odysseus travels through many adventures on the sea as he tries to get home against Poseidon's will.

wooknight Apr 27, 2011

Starts with Odysseus in the clutches of Calypso and interestingly half the story is told in a flashback mode . Probably the first time that the flashback concept was ever used . This is the story of a man who is try to return home from the Trojan war and is unable to get home to his loyal wife and son because the gods constantly set obstacles in his path. One has to wonder if Homer intended to depict his gods as separate entities who were controlling human destinies or were they intended to be metaphorical i.e when Athena makes Odysseus look larger , is that hinting at the fact that Odysseus felt courage surging through his heart and hence looked larger than life or was Athena doing that . It seems that these issues crop up all over the Iliad as well as the Odyssey .

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