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The Odyssey ends with a big spring cleaning in a merry bath of haemoglobin Which begs a nagging question: seeing how he behaves, might Odysseus himself not have killed his crew at sea perhaps to gobble them up, since he is such a gourmand of meatballs and shish kebabs? Anyway, had Homer been working in Hollywood instead of Ancient Greece, he would indeed be on the same side as Peckinpah, Coppola, Scorsese and Tarantino! View all 21 comments. If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Representation of Human: "The Odyssey" by Homer translated by Robert Fitzgerald; read by Dan Stevens I humbly declare this book to be the greatest literary work of mankind. Oh, what the Hades, let's throw in a third, not just for its brilliant translation, but also owing to the exotic character behind it: no less than Lawrence of Arabia.

The Homeric poems were sung in a less-enlightened time, in comparison with the later Greek tragedies, and with the later epics too. Apollonius' Argonautica was composed, post Greek Tragedy, and his audience would have been, no doubt, familiar with Euripides' Medea. Questions such as how justice and revenge affect societies were addressed by Aeschylus in the Oresteia; likewise, the reception of the anthropomorphic gods, and their pettiness, was raised by Euripides in Hippolytus and the Bacchae.

Furthermore, the real nature and brutality of warfare was also raised in the Trojan Women. Throw in how one state views another state, and questions of racial identity, and you have The Persians by Aeschylus, and Medea by Euripides. Additionally, if you include Philoctetes by Sophocles, and the issue of how youth should conduct themselves is also raised. If you consider, too, Ajax by Sophocles, and you find that the bloodthirsty myths of an earlier age are filtered through questions that C5 Athenian society faced.

What is better, the brute force of an unsophisticated Ajax, or the sophistry and rhetorical arguments of Odysseus in Ajax? By the time we arrive at Virgil, and The Aenied, brutal events such as the death of Priam by Neoptolemus in Aeneid Book II, are tempered with a more enlightened approach. Neoptolemus is condemned for killing Priam, and rightly so, as mercy is important, and exemplifies the Romanitas of 'Sparing the humble, and conquering the proud'. If you're into Greek Literature, read on. View all 12 comments. Audiobook read by Claire Danes.. I liked listening to Claire Danes I was fully engaged at the time View all 27 comments.

I mean, it's no Ulysses. View all 4 comments. Shelves: translated , r-r-rs , spiritual , favorites , classics , epic-stuff , epics , religion , philosophy , great-books-quest. I started this as I was told it is essential reading if I ever want to give a shot at reading Ulysses. I was a bit apprehensive and spent a long time deciding on which translation to choose.

The Odyssey (FULL Audiobook)

Finally it was Stephen's review that convinced me to go for the Robert Fagles ' version. I have no way of judging how good a decision that was. This two-volum I started this as I was told it is essential reading if I ever want to give a shot at reading Ulysses. This was of course not the first font of Greek type; in fact, the first printed edition of Homer, issued in Florence in , was composed in type that imitated contemporary Greek handwriting, with all its complicated ligatures and abbreviations. First up, I enjoyed the book, even the droll parts.

It was fun to repeatedly read Odysseus's laments and Telemachus' airy threats about the marauding suitors. But now that I have finished it, how do I attempt a review? What can I possibly say about an epic like this that has not been said before? To conclude by saying that it was wonderful would be a disservice. To analyse it would be too self-important and to summarize it would be laughable. Nevertheless, I thought of giving a sort of moral summary of the story and then abandoned that.

I then considered writing about the many comparisons it evoked it my mind about the Indian epics that I have grown up with, but I felt out of my depth since I have not even read the Iliad yet. With all those attempts having failed, I am left with just repeating again that it was much more enjoyable than I expected. That is not to say that it was an epic adventure with no dull moments. The characters repeat themselves in dialogue and in attitude, all major dramatic points are revealed in advance as prophesy and every important story event is told again at various points by various characters.

Even though I avoided it as much as I can, I could not at times avoid contrasting my reading experience with that of the epics I have grown up with and I remember thinking to myself that in comparison this reads like a short story or a novella. Maybe this impression is because I am largely yet unaware of the large mythical structure on which the story is built. I intend to allay that deficiency soon.

The characters are unforgettable, the situations are legendary and I am truly happy that I finally got around to a full reading of this magnificent epic. It has opened up a new world. View all 32 comments. Aug 07, James rated it really liked it Shelves: 4-written-preth-century , 1-fiction. I was tasked with reading this epic work as part of an Advanced Placement English course in between my junior and senior years of high school. I loved literature back then as much as I do now, and my reading habits probably grew from everything my teachers encouraged us to read during the summer hiatus and mid-year breaks.

We sampled literature from all over the world, and this Greek tome was one of the Book Review 4 out of 5 stars to The Odyssey , published around BC and written by Homer. We sampled literature from all over the world, and this Greek tome was one of the many we read.

We only read certain sections, as it's over pages long, but I finished it on my own over winter break that year. It often depends on the translation version you read, as it might make it better or worse for you. I don't recall which one the teacher selected, but it must have been good as I did my quarterly papers on both this book and Homer's other work, The Iliad.

The Odyssey was an amazing tale of a journey through the famed Trojan Wars in ancient Greece. Meeting all the gods and goddesses, understanding the genealogy and family structure, the plots between all their shenanigans and games The only part I found a bit dull was when it truly went into war-time battle descriptions, as reading details about fighting is not typically something I enjoy.

But the soap opera-like quality of these characters cum deity realities was just absorbing fun. The lyrics and the words fly off the pages. The images and the metaphors are pretty. And if you know enough about Greek history, you almost feel as if you're in the story. About Me For those new to me or my reviews I write A LOT. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. May 30, Roy Lotz rated it it was amazing Shelves: highly-recommended-favorites , oldie-but-goodie , best-words-best-order.

It was on the Homeric Question. I was a sophomore in college—a student with unfortunate literary ambitions who had just decided to major in anthropology. By this point, I had at least tacitly decided that I wanted to be a professor.


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In my future lay the vast and unexplored ocean of academia. What was the safest vessel to travel into that forbidden wine-dark sea? I signed up for a reading project with an anthropology professor. Lucky for him, he was on the cusp of retirement. So his world-weariness manifested itself as a total, guilt-free indifference to his teaching duties.

I envied a man that could apparently care so little about professional advancement. In any case, now I had to come up with a research topic. I had just switched into the major, and so had little idea what typical anthropology research projects were like. And because my advisor was so indifferent, I received no guidance from him. The onus lay entirely on me. Who is Homer? Nobody knew. Nobody could know. The man—if man he was—was lost to the abyss of time. No trace of him existed. And yet, we have these glorious poems—poems at the center of our history, the roots of the Western literary canon.

That the person or persons responsible could be so totally lost to history baffled me—intrigued me.

The Odyssey – Homer – Homers epic poem – Summary

But I was not majoring in literature or the humanities. I was in anthropology, and so had to do a proper anthropological project. At the very least, I needed an angle. Milman Parry and Albert Lord duly provided this angle. The two men were classicists—scholars of ancient Greece. But instead of staying in their musty offices reading dusty manuscripts, they did something no classicist had done before: they attempted to answer the Homeric question with field work. At the time and perhaps now? But what was most fascinating was that these stories were apparently improvised.

In our decadent culture, we have a warped idea of improvisation. Many of us believe improvisation to be the spontaneous outflowing of creative energies, manifesting themselves in something totally new. Like God shaping the Earth out of the infinite void, these imaginary improvisers shape their art from nothing whatsoever. Unfortunately, this never happens. By carefully transcribing hundreds of these Serbo-Croation poems, they discovered that—although a single poem may vary from person to person, place to place, or performance to performance—the variation took place within predictable boundaries.

Individual scenes, in turn, also followed stereotypical outlines—feasts, banquets, catalogues of forces, battles, athletic contests, etc. Of course, this is not to say that the poet was not original. Rather, it is to say that they are just as original as John Coltrane or Charlie Parker—individuals working within a tradition. These formulas and stereotypical scenes were the raw material with which the poet worked. They allowed him to compose material quickly enough to keep up the performance, and not break his rhythm.

But could poems as long as The Odyssey and The Iliad come wholly from an oral tradition? It seems improbable: it would take multiple days to recite, and the bard would have to pick up where he left off. But Milman and Parry, during their fieldwork, managed to put our fears at rest. I actually read one. All this is impressive, but one question remained: how could the oral poems get on paper? Did an oral poet—Homer, presumably—learn to write, and copy it down? According to him, once a person becomes literate, the frame of mind required to learn the art of oral poetry cannot be achieved.

According to Lord, this left only one option: Homer must have been a master oral poet, and his poems must have been transcribed by someone else. This is how the aforementioned poem by Avdo was taken down by the researchers. At the time, this struck me as perfectly likely—indeed, almost certain. But the more I think about it, the less I can imagine an oral poet submitting himself to sit with a scribe, writing in the cumbersome Linear B script, for the dozens and dozens of hours it would have taken to transcribe these poems.

An anthropologist, Finnegan found many cases in Africa of semi-literate or fully literate people who remained capable of improvising poetry. For me, and everyone alive in the Western world today, The Odyssey is flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood. Marvelously sophisticated, fantastically exciting, it is the alpha and omega of our tradition.

From Homer we sprang, and unto Homer shall we return. Lucky for me, the Fagles translation a nice one if you're looking for readability is available as an audiobook, narrated by the great Sir Ian McKellen. It was a wonderful experience, not only because Sir Ian has such a beautiful voice he's Gandalf, after all , but because hearing it read rather than reading it recreated, however dimly, the original experience of the poem: as a performance.

I highly recommend it. View all 26 comments. Where do you start with a book such as this? An epic tale that has been around for almost three thousand years. I have no idea. What I do know is that I read it and loved it. I had little foreknowledge of the story and I haven't looked into the meanings or history too deeply. Instead I've tried to appreciate the story on it's own merits, getting swept away like Odysseus on the sea.


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There were quiet contemplative events and dramatic battles, personal struggles and wider societal issues. Gods and Where do you start with a book such as this? Gods and heroes, kings and queens, nymphs and cyclops, a lot of deceptive weaving and a city full of ill fated suitors, what more could you want? View all 16 comments. Aug 03, [P] rated it it was amazing Shelves: bitchin. My parents split when I was very young. The arrangement they made between them was that my brother and I would spend the weekends with our father, but would live, during the week, with my mother.

One winter, when I was ten years old, it started to snow heavily and gave no indication of stopping any time soon. The snow, however, had other ideas. To go home we had to catch two buses. The first My parents split when I was very young. The first was running late, but, otherwise, the ride, although slow, was pretty uneventful. It was then that things started to go awry. At the stop where we would usually catch the next bus, which was to take us into Rotherham, there was one already waiting. It did not, however, give the appearance of preparing to go anywhere; the engine was off and the driver was stood outside, smoking a cigarette.

Being ten years old I did not want to ask the driver what was happening but I heard another potential passenger enquire as to when we would be allowed to board. Typically, my brother wanted to wait it out. The buses would start running again soon, he said. The snow had settled, and heavy spidery flakes were still bombing the city. Waiting would only make it harder to walk; and walking, I knew, was inevitable. And so, our decision made, we set off through the snow in the direction of home, following the route the bus would have taken.

Yet time and distance, we found, are deceptive. What had taken 25 minutes on a bus, would, we thought, only take us an hour. On the bus, home had always seemed close, just around the next corner; but as we mashed through the snow it seemed impossible, unreachable; it seemed, after a couple of hours, as though it no longer existed; nothing existed, except the snow, which is all we could see.

Two or three times my brother fell down, and I, almost without stopping, dragged him to his feet, shouting encouragement into the snow. At some point night fell too; and still the heavy spidery flakes came down, punctuating the darkness. By this stage I could not have said why I was doing what I was doing; instinct had kicked in; one foot followed the other, regardless.

I remember coming to a distinctive spot, a part of the journey that, by bus, always felt significant, because it meant only another five or ten minutes until we reached home. But on foot, mashing through thick boot-clinging snow, that last leg, which was up hill, seemed monstrous. Eventually we made it, of course. As we descended the hill on the other side we were met by my mother and her then boyfriend, who, we were told, could not bear to wait any longer and had started to walk to meet us on the way.

My brother and I did not encounter any Sirens, or Lotus Eaters or Cyclops, but our walk through the snow was, in principle, a fight to get home, to overcome adversity and return to the familiar and comfortable. And, on the most basic level, this is just what The Odyssey is about. Following the war at Troy, as he sought to return to Ithica, to his wife and son, Odysseus had stumbled from one disastrous situation to the next, until the great warrior found himself entrapped on an island for seven years by Calypso, a Goddess.

Eventually, with the help of Pallas Athena, he is allowed to leave; and so continues his famous, epic quest. But they themselves- in their depravity- design grief greater than the griefs that fate assigns. In this way, I would say that it has a broader appeal, is easier to digest, and certainly contains greater variety, than the brutal, relentless Iliad.

Despite the weird creatures, the faraway lands, the quest, and the prominence of a great hero, the heart of The Odyssey is conventional and domestic, in that it is concerned with values such as love and friendship and the importance of family. Again, this is in contrast to The Iliad, where honour and death and war are the focus. Penelope, meanwhile, is, even after a number of years, and not knowing whether her husband is alive or dead, still resisting the suitors who have almost taken over her house.

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In fact, she even plays a trick on them, promising to take a new husband only after she has finished weaving a shroud, while unpicking it each night to make sure that she never does. Few men can keep alive through a big serf to crawl, clotted with brine, on kindly beaches in joy, in joy, knowing the abyss behind: and so she too rejoiced, her gaze upon her husband, her white arms round him pressed as though forever.

Moreover, as noted earlier, Penelope, although upset that her husband is lost or dead, is no sap, while, conversely, the mighty Odysseus frequently bursts into tears. The question of which translation one should read becomes particularly critical when one is concerned with poetry. Part of me, I must admit, is resistant to the idea of translated poetry altogether, because I just cannot see how it can possibly bear any great or significant resemblance to the original. Yet I think this is less of a danger with epic, narrative poetry; with something like The Odyssey, the translator has a story to tell, and as long as he or she tells it faithfully they have done at least half the job right.

The reason for this is that I felt that his robust [you might uncharitably call it inelegant] style suited the material. I did, however, cringe frequently at some of his phrasing and word choices, which were far too modern for my taste. Therefore, for The Odyssey I went with Robert Fitzgerald, who, I believe, had a stronger ear for poetry and a more subtle touch. For example, character and place names are spelt in a way that most of us will not recognise [Calypso is Kalypso, Circe is Kirke, Ithica is Ithika etc]. In most cases, deciphering these is, as you call tell by my examples, not especially difficult, but occasionally the spellings are outright baffling.

When one encounters something like this, one is, unfortunately, taken out of the text as you try and work out what or whom exactly we are dealing with. However, as previously hinted, the strength of his version is that it stands up as poetry. I expected that it would be episodic, and it is, but I did not anticipate a non-linear narrative. The Odyssey begins in media res, with a significant proportion of the action already in the past.

As we enter the story, Odysseus has been missing for many years, the suitors are surrounding his house in an effort to take his wife, and his son is about to begin his own journey for news of his father. Therefore, for quite some time the main character is off-stage, so to speak. When he does appear, he spends much of his time recounting the details of his life following the war in Troy. So, we only have access to the most exciting, and the most famous, episodes as flashbacks. What this highlights is the important role that oral story-telling plays in the text. Throughout, Odysseus and many other characters tell tales, be they fictional or true, as a way or bonding or sharing information or entertaining each other, in the same way that we do now.

I have always found this interesting, this seemingly universal, immortal desire to give voice to, and share, stories with other people. It is something, as the rambling introductions to my reviews attest, that I feel compelled to do myself. At one stage, Athena turns Odysseus into a beggar, and the hero creates for him an entire history, fleshing out and breathing life into the character he is playing.

So there you have it: a book that shouts loudly about home and family and so on, but which, in a more subtle fashion, is equally concerned with, as well as being itself an example of, the joy and importance of communication and human interaction. View all 20 comments. View all 29 comments. Jul 27, J. It's funny how many people feel intimidated by this book.

Sure, it's thousands of years old, and certainly Greek culture has some peculiarities, but the book is remarkably, sometimes surprisingly modern, and most translations show the straightforward simplicity of the story. Perhaps like The Seventh Seal, The Odyssey has gotten a reputation for being difficult because it has been embraced by intellectuals and worse, wanna-be intellectuals.

But like Bergman's classic film, The Odyssey is focused o It's funny how many people feel intimidated by this book. But like Bergman's classic film, The Odyssey is focused on action, low humor, and vivid characters, not complex symbolism and pretension. It shouldn't really surprise us how modern the story seems, from it's fast-paced action to its non-linear story: authors have taken cues from it for thousands of years, and continue to take inspiration from it today.

Any story of small people, everyday heroes, and domestic life we read today is only a few steps removed from Odysseus' tale. Unlike the Iliad, this book is not focused on grand ideas or a grand stage. The characters do not base their actions on heroic ideals but on their emotions, their pains and joys, their grumbling bellies. It is less concerned with the fate of nations than the state of the family and friendship. Since the story turns on whims instead of heroic ideals, it is much less focused than the Iliad, meandering from here to there in a series of unconnected vignettes drawn from the mythic tradition.

Like The Bible, it is a combination of stories, but without a philosophical focus. There are numerous recurring themes that while not concluded, are certainly explored. The most obvious of these may be the tradition of keeping guests in Greece. The most honorable provide their guests with feasts, festivals, and gifts. This seems mostly the effect of a noblesse oblige among the ruling class. Like the codes of war or the class system, it is a social structure which benefits their rulership. Like the palace of Versailles of Louis XIV, keeping someone as a guest was a way to keep an eye on them and to provide camaraderie and mutual reliance amongst the fractitious ruling class.

The second theme is that of 'metis', represented by Odysseus himself. Metis is the Greek term for cunning. It is a quick-witted cleverness that is sometimes considered charming and other times deceitful. Achilles tells Odysseys in the Iliad that he resents the clever man's entreaties, and those of any man who says one thing but thinks another.

Odysseus later mimics this sentiment as part of an elaborate lie to gain the trust of another man. Such are the winding ways of our hero. He misleads his son, his wife, his servants, and his despondent father after his return, careful not to overplay his hand in a dangerous situation, arriving as a stranger. Each of these prevarications can be seen sometimes as cruel, but each deception has a reasoning behind it. He uses his stories to carefully prepare his listeners for his return, instead of springing it upon them unwarned.

He ensures that he will be received upon the most profitable terms, though he also enjoys the game of it all. These acts of sudden, cruel cleverness are not uncommon in epics and adventure tales. One tale of Viking raiders tells of how, after sailing into the Mediterranean, their ship reached one of the cities of the Roman Empire. Though just a small outpost, the Viking chief thought it was Rome itself, since its stone buildings towered over the farms of his homeland. He hid in a coffin with a wealth of swords and had his soldiers bear him into the town, telling the inhabitants they wished to make burial rights for their dead king.

When they were let in, the coffin was opened, the swords passed around, and the city sacked. What is curious is that while warriors like the Greeks or Vikings maintained a strict sense of honor and honesty, this kind of trick was not only common in their stories, but admired.

The honor of the battlefield does not extend to the Trojan Horse Odysseus' idea or to the tale of Sinon in the Aeneid. The rule seems to be that if the tricks played are grand and clever enough, they are allowed, while small, mean pranks and betrayals are not. Not all the soldiers agree what is outsmarting and what is dishonorable Achilles puts Odysseus in the latter camp , but there is a give and take there. What is most remarkable about Odysseus is not merely that he comes up with these tricks, but that he passes them off on proud, honorable men without incurring their wrath.

Moreover, he does all this while having a famous reputation for being tricky. You'd think he'd get an intentional walk now and then. Odysseus was not as strong a character as Achilles or Hector were in the Iliad, though this may be because he was a complex character who did not rely on the cliche characterizations of 'the noble warrior'.

He is not a man with a bad temper, nor a good one. He is a competent and powerful warrior and leader, but those are not his defining characteristics, either. Odysseus represents the Greek ideal of 'arete' as well as metis. Arete is the idea that a man who is truly great should excel in all things, not merely concentrate on one area of life. Even raging Achilles showed the depth of his arete in the Iliad when he served as host and master of the games.

He was capable of nobility, sound judgment, and generosity, even if he didn't always put his best foot forward. Odysseus is likewise skilled in both war and domesticity, in the sword and politics, and he's clever and wily to boot. In the end, there isn't much room left over for negative character traits, which is what makes him feel a bit flat.

What makes people interesting as individuals is not their best traits, but their worst. For Odysseus, this is his pride. After spending twenty years of his life away at war, leaving his wife and infant son behind, it's not surprising that he wants to return home with wealth and with his name on the lips of poets and minstrels. Between his pride, his easy smile, and his quick wit, he is the model for the modern action hero. He is not merely some chivalric picture of goodness, nor simply mighty and overwhelming, but a conflicted man with a wry sense of humor and above all, a will to survive.

Don't read this book simply because it is old, influential, and considered great. Read it because it is exciting and approachable and thoughtful. Even without all the reputation, it can stand on its own. I read the Fagles translation, which was enjoyable and often lovely, though some modern idioms did slip in here and there. The Knox intro rehashes a lot of the introduction to The Iliad, but it's still very useful.

Odyssey After the end of the Trojan War, Ulysses and his companions decide to return home, but in the middle of the path a horrible storm deviates them from the original route. Just one more difficulty, they have to face monsters like Cyclops and Mermaids, always overcoming them with cleverness astuteness. During one of these confrontations, all his companions are murdered and Ulysses has to continue his journey alone, but a generous king and the goddess Athena helps him.

Finally, when he was abl Odyssey After the end of the Trojan War, Ulysses and his companions decide to return home, but in the middle of the path a horrible storm deviates them from the original route. Finally, when he was able to return to Greece, no one else recognized him, for he was twenty years away from home and everyone believed that he was dead, and to win back his beloved wife he defeated in battle all the suitors who wanted to take his hand.

The Odyssey

Odysseus is the ultimate anti-hero , and that's probably why - as much as he annoys me at times with his antics - I'll always prefer him to Achilles. Sure, one can't deny how unreliable and prejudiced he is as a narrator - just look at how he twists the reality when describing the Cyclops' life and culture - but that's precisely - in addition to the engaging structure - what makes The Odyssey so readable and less 'old-felt' than The Iliad. Well assuming you're reading a translation in verses, o Odysseus is the ultimate anti-hero , and that's probably why - as much as he annoys me at times with his antics - I'll always prefer him to Achilles.

Well assuming you're reading a translation in verses, of course but why wouldn't you now. I can appreciate that Homer's trying to give his female characters a voice - much more than Virgile, anyway - but let's face it, as all classics it's still full of dudes who make the decisions and end sleeping with every woman they meet, because why the fuck not? Still a must-read as far as I'm concerned, at the very least to be able to notice how far the references spread colonization will do that to you, nudge nudge Alexander the Great. I shelved this as "classic newly-read" only because I don't think I ever read a full version in verse.

Parts in prose. Like butter, this translation of Fagles'. Loved how smooth it read. And the repeating tropes modifying various nouns: "sparkling-eyed Athena," "bright-eyed goddess," "Dawn with her rose-red fingers," "wine-dark sea," "Odysseus, master of craft," etc. What threw me was how fast t I shelved this as "classic newly-read" only because I don't think I ever read a full version in verse.

Instead, it was the planning-to-kill-the-suitors chapters that spread out widely, on and on, until the anxious end. And, much as I enjoyed the comeuppance portioned out to the suitors, echoing in my head are the words of Adam Nicholson, author of Why Homer Matters , who cited "heroes" Achilles in The Iliad and Odysseus in The Odyssey as two of the biggest mass murderers of all time. Minor point. This is mythology. Plus, the gods willed it. Speaking of, what I'd give for a Mentor like Athena. Some classy dame who could swoop in like some deus ex machina in my many hours of need.

Bright-eyed Athena, if you're still out there, I'll cook a bull in your honor er, maybe a Perdue chicken instead. Hear my prayer! Well worth my time and effort, this one. View all 10 comments. I first read extracts of the Odyssey in junior high and high school and some years later purchased the highly acclaimed Fitzgerald translation. It is a masterpiece that brings out the strengths of this iconic story of the voyage of Ulysses from the fall of Troy back to his native Ithaca and his beloved and besieged Penelope.

The story is highly readable and full of adventure and misadventure, monsters and heroes and ultimately a triumphant voyage home. Yes, it is very masculine in perspective so I first read extracts of the Odyssey in junior high and high school and some years later purchased the highly acclaimed Fitzgerald translation. Yes, it is very masculine in perspective so I cannot excuse that except to say that if you read James Joyce's version and the final chapter of Penelope, you can see a far more feminine viewpoint.

Regardless, I found this book more entertaining pound for pound than the Iliad or the Aeneid and I hope you will too. View 2 comments. The salt-encrusted reader has completed his voyage. He has met many mythical men and gods, some women also. The scheming killer Aegisthus, divine Calypso, the Sun God, the savage Cyclops who filled his belly with human meat; the enchantress Circe with her braided hair; the prophet Tiresias; Scylla, barking and howling, and Charybdis, who sucks black water down; Owl-eyed Athena; silver-bowed Apollo; Artemis, Aphrodite, the Harpies.

He has seen vernal dawn touch the sky with flowers; seen her finger The salt-encrusted reader has completed his voyage. He has seen vernal dawn touch the sky with flowers; seen her fingers bloom; heard the sounding purple sea rush round the stern and pure Zephyr whistling on wine-dark sea. He has sailed over the watery waves; he has seen darkness drench the eyes of a suitor in desperate pain, an arrow piercing his liver; he has beheld a sky of bronze.

He has wondered at Odysseus, a complicated man — the man who can adapt to anything; the man who, alive, visited Hades; the master of plots and plans; lying Odysseus, the ruiner of his wife's suitors; the wanderer, come home after the War years and years later. Long-suffering Odysseus, crafty Odysseus; unflappable Odysseus; the strategist Odysseus, the master of deception, the trickster, the master liar, he who can smile in scornful rage.

Lord Odysseus, weathered Odysseus. Warlike Odysseus. He has marveled at Penelope, who speaks shrewdly, who speaks to test her husband, who melts the reader's heart. He has read of much weeping. By MEN! Greece a land of weepers. He, like Odysseus, has come home. He wishes to thank Kris for the invitation to this perfectly paced group read; to thank the other readers who contributed such useful comments; and to thank especially Emily Wilson for her wonderful translation, her great summaries of the books, her informative notes, and her outstanding Introduction to The Odyssey. If I review " on Goodreads", this will certainly be a highlight.


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View all 17 comments. Thrilled to have finally read this! Second review introductory I think, oh muse, that Odysseus and me go back to the first year of Junior School, when I was, let me see, eleven minus four years old, anyway it was long ago and far away then, we still had the half penny a tiny coin of hardy bronze.

We had a project at school about the Odyssey even though it didn't take ten years for any of us to get to school and at no point did we naked have to cling to branches of wood to make sure landfall, in the way of school projects at the age Second review introductory I think, oh muse, that Odysseus and me go back to the first year of Junior School, when I was, let me see, eleven minus four years old, anyway it was long ago and far away then, we still had the half penny a tiny coin of hardy bronze.

We had a project at school about the Odyssey even though it didn't take ten years for any of us to get to school and at no point did we naked have to cling to branches of wood to make sure landfall, in the way of school projects at the age of eleven minus four years it seemed to mostly involve drawing and my vision of the story required me to shade most of my pictures black with a fat pencil, this you will understand not because the story was dour, but because of all the fine detailing required with a fat, blunt pencil.

At the end of the project all our drawings and accompanying text no oral project this were bound together, mine in a fine red comb - not from the hair of some snorting eager horse but from plastic once free flowing, now still. All of which stands by way of introduction to say, we go back some way together, but still rereading thanks to a wily invitation to a cunning group in honour of a new translation, some things caught my wandering, roving eye, maybe for the first time or in a new way: unity of thought and deed Once upon a time I believed that with the Homeric heroes there was a unity between thought or word and action, everything pure and direct.

This however proves to be nonsense in the Odyssey, the necessary course of events is that there is thought which needs to be expressed in conversation maybe three times before somebody commits the action and then not very efficiently necessary, perhaps monotheism has spoiled us. When God speaks unto us we are it seems more apt to leap to action, back then when their were so many gods, and demi- gods, semi-gods and quasi-gods, I suppose people were that much more casual about the divine.

Paris steals Helen in violation of how a guest ought to behave, causing the Trojan war of glorious memory. Odysseus omits the proper ceremonies and so is punished by Poseidon. In a sense, the ending of the Odyssey is curious, from the beginning we are reminded of the story of Orestes and Agamemnon's return violation of the moral universe requires counter violation and so until the moral order of the universe itself is changed - Eumenides. However Odysseus can slaughter sixty odd suitors apparently without starting another cycle of vengeance view spoiler [ or in modern parlance - sequels hide spoiler ] Guests proper and improper In the Odyssey we see two modes of guest behaviour contrasted proper and improper, Telemachus demonstrates proper: you visit, introduce yourself, have a manly cry with your host, receive rich presents, then go repeat elsewhere The suitors for the hand of Penelope violate this, they come and stay everyday, they eat and eat view spoiler [ I didn't set up a spreadsheet to check, but Odysseus's herds and flocks seem to be doing surprising well considering hide spoiler ] this has it's parallel in the divine realm Odysseus' men eat the Sun God's cattle - result death, the suitors eat Odysseus' pigs - result death.

The moral arc of this universe bends inevitably towards death. The epic hero, Odysseus, overcomes supernatural creatures and all kinds of magic, thanks to gods warring among themselves. The prose of The Odyssey , while possibly daunting for middle school and younger kids, is worth appreciating with its beautiful, rhythmically repeated images: "grey-eyed Athena," dawn spreading her "fingertips of rose," etc.

Families can talk about why Telemakhos' journey is important. What does he learn about his father and about himself?

The Internet Classics Archive | The Odyssey by Homer

What other books have you read that involve a long, arduous journey? Are any of them similar to The Odyssey? Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners. See how we rate. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase.

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Parents' Ultimate Guide to Support our work! Want personalized picks that fit your family? Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids. The Odyssey. Essential, epic poem of Greek gods, monsters, and heroes. Homer Adventure Rate book. Read or buy. Based on 2 reviews. Based on 8 reviews. Get it now Searching for streaming and purchasing options Common Sense is a nonprofit organization.

Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free. Get it now on Searching for streaming and purchasing options A lot or a little? The parents' guide to what's in this book. Educational Value. Positive Messages. What parents need to know Parents need to know that, as the name implies, The Odyssey is an epic poem of journey and discovery. Continue reading Show less. Stay up to date on new reviews. Get full reviews, ratings, and advice delivered weekly to your inbox.

User Reviews Parents say Kids say. Adult Written by bailey. Report this review. Adult Written by Matt October 17, Teen, 16 years old Written by Aaron Short September 25, Timeless Classic Some depictions of love are too mature for older readers, but besides that its one of the best Epics and in my opinion best BOOKS ever written. Teen, 14 years old Written by Cheesy Monkey August 11, What's the story? Is it any good?