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Homer was probably born around 725BC on the Coast of Asia Minor, now the coast of Turkey, but then really a part of Greece. Homer was the first Greek writer whose work survives.
He was one of a long line of bards, or poets, who worked in the oral tradition. Homer and other bards of the time could recite, or chant, long epic poems. Both works attributed to Homer - The Iliad and The Odyssey - are over ten thousand lines long in the original. Homer must have had an amazing memory but was helped by the formulaic poetry style of the time.
In The Iliad Homer sang of death and glory, of a few days in the struggle between the Greeks and the Trojans. Mortal men played out their fate under the gaze of the gods. The Odyssey is the original collection of tall traveller's tales. Odysseus, on his way home from the Trojan War, encounters all kinds of marvels from one-eyed giants to witches and beautiful temptresses. His adventures are many and memorable before he gets back to Ithaca and his faithful wife Penelope.
We can never be certain that both these stories belonged to Homer. In fact 'Homer' may not be a real name but a kind of nickname meaning perhaps 'the hostage' or 'the blind one'. Whatever the truth of their origin, the two stories, developed around three thousand years ago, may well still be read in three thousand years' time.
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A New York Times Notable Book of 2018
"Wilson’s language is fresh, unpretentious and lean…It is rare to find a translation that is at once so effortlessly easy to read and so rigorously considered." —Madeline Miller, author of Circe
Composed at the rosy-fingered dawn of world literature almost three millennia ago, The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty and power; about marriage and family; about travelers, hospitality, and the yearning for home.
This fresh, authoritative translation captures the beauty of this ancient poem as well as the drama of its narrative. Its characters are unforgettable, none more so than the “complicated” hero himself, a man of many disguises, many tricks, and many moods, who emerges in this version as a more fully rounded human being than ever before.
Written in iambic pentameter verse and a vivid, contemporary idiom, Emily Wilson’s Odyssey sings with a voice that echoes Homer’s music; matching the number of lines in the Greek original, the poem sails along at Homer’s swift, smooth pace.
A fascinating, informative introduction explores the Bronze Age milieu that produced the epic, the poem’s major themes, the controversies about its origins, and the unparalleled scope of its impact and influence. Maps drawn especially for this volume, a pronunciation glossary, and extensive notes and summaries of each book make this is an Odyssey that will be treasured by a new generation of readers.
A Penguin Classic
Robert Fagles, winner of the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, presents us with Homer's best-loved and most accessible poem in a stunning modern-verse translation. "Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy." So begins Robert Fagles' magnificent translation of the Odyssey, which Jasper Griffin in the New York Times Book Review hails as "a distinguished achievement."
If the Iliad is the world's greatest war epic, the Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of an everyman's journey through life. Odysseus' reliance on his wit and wiliness for survival in his encounters with divine and natural forces during his ten-year voyage home to Ithaca after the Trojan War is at once a timeless human story and an individual test of moral endurance.
In the myths and legends retold here, Fagles has captured the energy and poetry of Homer's original in a bold, contemporary idiom, and given us an Odyssey to read aloud, to savor, and to treasure for its sheer lyrical mastery. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox's superb introduction and textual commentary provide insightful background information for the general reader and scholar alike, intensifying the strength of Fagles's translation. This is an Odyssey to delight both the classicist and the general reader, to captivate a new generation of Homer's students. This Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition features French flaps and deckle-edged paper.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
"Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus’ son Achilleus / and its devastation." For sixty years, that's how Homer has begun the Iliad in English, in Richmond Lattimore's faithful translation—the gold standard for generations of students and general readers.
This long-awaited new edition of Lattimore's Iliad is designed to bring the book into the twenty-first century—while leaving the poem as firmly rooted in ancient Greece as ever. Lattimore's elegant, fluent verses—with their memorably phrased heroic epithets and remarkable fidelity to the Greek—remain unchanged, but classicist Richard Martin has added a wealth of supplementary materials designed to aid new generations of readers. A new introduction sets the poem in the wider context of Greek life, warfare, society, and poetry, while line-by-line notes at the back of the volume offer explanations of unfamiliar terms, information about the Greek gods and heroes, and literary appreciation. A glossary and maps round out the book.
The result is a volume that actively invites readers into Homer's poem, helping them to understand fully the worlds in which he and his heroes lived—and thus enabling them to marvel, as so many have for centuries, at Hektor and Ajax, Paris and Helen, and the devastating rage of Achilleus.
Robert Fitzgerald's translation of Homer's Odyssey is the best and best-loved modern translation of the greatest of all epic poems.
Since 1961, this Odyssey has sold more than two million copies, and it is the standard translation for three generations of students and poets. Farrar, Straus and Giroux is delighted to publish a new edition of this classic work. Fitzgerald's supple verse is ideally suited to the story of Odysseus' long journey back to his wife and home after the Trojan War. Homer's tale of love, adventure, food and drink, sensual pleasure, and mortal danger reaches the English-language reader in all its glory.
Of the many translations published since World War II, only Fitzgerald's has won admiration as a great poem in English. The noted classicist D. S. Carne-Ross explains the many aspects of its artistry in his Introduction, written especially for this new edition.
Winner of the Bollingen Prize
With her virtuoso translation, classicist and bestselling author Caroline Alexander brings to life Homer’s timeless epic of the Trojan War
Composed around 730 B.C., Homer’s Iliad recounts the events of a few momentous weeks in the protracted ten-year war between the invading Achaeans, or Greeks, and the Trojans in their besieged city of Ilion. From the explosive confrontation between Achilles, the greatest warrior at Troy, and Agamemnon, the inept leader of the Greeks, through to its tragic conclusion, The Iliad explores the abiding, blighting facts of war.
Soldier and civilian, victor and vanquished, hero and coward, men, women, young, old—The Iliad evokes in poignant, searing detail the fate of every life ravaged by the Trojan War. And, as told by Homer, this ancient tale of a particular Bronze Age conflict becomes a sublime and sweeping evocation of the destruction of war throughout the ages.
Carved close to the original Greek, acclaimed classicist Caroline Alexander’s new translation is swift and lean, with the driving cadence of its source—a translation epic in scale and yet devastating in its precision and power.
Lombardo's Odyssey offers the distinctive speed, clarity, and boldness that so distinguished his 1997 Iliad.
"[Lombardo] has brought his laconic wit and love of the ribald . . . to his version of the Odyssey. His carefully honed syntax gives the narrative energy and a whirlwind pace. The lines, rhythmic and clipped, have the tautness and force of Odysseus' bow."
—Chris Hedges, The New York Times Book Review
—Daniel Mendelsohn, The New York Times Book Review
Homer’s great epic The Odyssey—one of Western literature’s most enduring and important works—translated by Richmond Lattimore
A classic for the ages, The Odyssey recounts Odysseus’ journey home after the Trojan War—and the obstacles he faces along the way to reclaim his throne, kingdom, and family in Ithaca.
During his absence, his steadfast and clever wife, Penelope, and now teenaged son, Telemachus, have lived under the constant threat of ruthless suitors, all desperate to court Penelope and claim the throne. As the suitors plot Telemachus’ murder, the gods debate Odysseus’ fate. With help from the goddess Athena, the scattered family bides their time as Odysseus battles his way through storm and shipwreck, the cave of the Cyclops, the isle of witch-goddess Circe, the deadly Sirens’ song, a trek through the Underworld, and the omnipresent wrath of the scorned god Poseidon.
An American poet and classicist, Richmond Lattimore’s translation of The Odyssey is widely considered among the best available in the English language. Lattimore breathes modern life into Homer’s epic, bringing this classic work of heroes, monsters, vengeful gods, treachery, and redemption to life for modern readers.
The Odyssey is attributed to the poet Homer and, after its companion poem the Iliad, is the second-oldest surviving work of Western literature. Composed sometime around the eighth century BC, the ancient Greek poem has since been translated into many languages and serves as an important source of information on ancient Greek culture and mythology. Actor Sean Bean took on the role of Odysseus in the 2004 film Troy, which depicted the events directly leading up to the voyage of the Odyssey.