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 If you don t learn Greek worth it just to read this Meisterwerk, never mind the rest of the immortal trove of Greek literature you can read it in so many translations that have become classics in their own use of the English language, Fagles and Murray, just to mention two 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 Further, 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 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 However, Aeneas doesn t show mercy in his killing of Turnus at the end of Book XII If you re into Greek Literature, read on. Ever since I first read Homer s epic describing the adventures of Odysseus back in my school days, three of those adventures fired my imagination The Lotus Eaters, The Cyclops and the Sirens, most especially the Sirens I just did revisit these sections of this Greek epic and my imagination was set aflame yet again How much, you ask Here is my microfiction as a tribute to the great poet THE SIRENS This happened back in those days when I was a member of an experimental performing arts troupe down in Greenwich Village We would read poetry, dance and act out avant garde plays in our dilapidated little theater For a modest charge people could come in and watch for as long as they wanted.Somehow, a business executive who worked downtown in the financial district heard of what we were doing and spoke with our director about an act he has all worked out but needed a supporting cast and that he would pay handsomely if we went along with him.Well, experimental is experimental and if we were going to be well paid we had nothing to lose The first thing he did was pass out our costumes In addition to himself, he had parts for three men and three women The play we were to perform was so simple we didn t even need a written script He was to be Odysseus from Homer s epic and three men would be his sailors As for the women, we would be the singing Sirens.So, after he changed quite a sight in a loincloth, being gray haired, jowly, pasty skinned and potbellied we went on stage and he told the sailors how no man has ever heard the hypnotic songs of the Sirens and lived to tell the tale but he, mighty Odysseus, would be the first He instructed the sailors to tie him to the ship s mast They used one of the building s pillars and when he cried out as the Sirens sang their song the sailors, who had wax in their ears, were to bind him to the mast even tighter.Meanwhile, three of us ladies were on stage as the Sirens, in costume, bare breasted and outfitted with wings We began singing a sweet, lilting melody Mike that was the businessman s name started screaming and the sailors tightened the ropes that bound him The sailors were glad their ears were plugged as Mike screamed for nearly half an hour When the ship passed out of earshot of the Sirens, the sailors unbound mighty Odysseus and he collapsed on our makeshift stage, a mass of exhausted middle aged flesh The audience applauded, even cheered and we continued our performance of Odysseus and the Sirens every night for than a week Then one night Mike outdid himself His blue eyes bulged, the veins in his neck popped and his face turned a deeper blood scarlet than ever before And what I feared might happen, did happen Mike had a heart attack We had to interrupt our performance and call an ambulance.We all thought that was the end of our dealing with Mike aka Odysseus until our director received a call from the hospital Mike told her he was going to be just fine and would be back on stage next week We called a meeting and everyone agreed that we would suggest Mike seek psychiatric help but if he insists on playing Odysseus, he will have to take his act elsewhere. Sing To Me Of The Man, Muse, The Man Of Twists And Turnsdriven Time And Again Off Course, Once He Had Plunderedthe Hallowed Heights Of TroySo Begins Robert Fagles Magnificent Translation Of The Odyssey, Which Jasper Griffin In The New York Times Review Of Books Hails As A Distinguished Achievement If The Iliad Is The World S Greatest War Epic, Then The Odyssey Is Literature S Grandest Evocation Of Everyman S Journey Though 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 That Are 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 MasteryRenowned Classicist Bernard Knox S Superb Introduction And Textual Commentary Provide New Insights And Background Information For The General Reader And Scholar Alike, Intensifying The Strength Of Fagles TranslationThis Is An Odyssey To Delight Both The Classicist And The Public At Large, And To Captivate A New Generation Of Homer S Students Robert Fagles, Winner Of The PEN Ralph Manheim Medal For Translation And A 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 New Modern Verse Translation I have read The Odyssey three times The first was not really a read but of a listen in the true oral tradition During embroidery class one of us, young girls on the verge of entering the teens, would read a passage while the rest were all busy with our eyes and fingers, our needles and threads All learning to be future Penelopes crafty with their crafts, cultivated, patient and loyal And all wives.The second read was already as an adult That time I let myself be led by the adventures and imagination of the resourceful one Relishing on the literary rhythm of the hexameters I particularly enjoyed the epithets used by the bards to keep the attention of the listeners Dawn of the rosy fingers was my favourite By then my embroideries were far away from my mind.This third time I read it in preparation for tackling Joyce s take on Homer And this time, with a detached stance, I have been surprised by the structure of the work, the handling of time, and the role of narration And those aspects I take with me in this third reading.Of the twenty four books, the first four or Telemachiad, are preliminary Acting as an overture they take place not too long before the main action The following four are another preamble, which take place roughly at the same time as the previous four The son and the father are getting ready to meet almost at the end of twenty years of their separation with ten at the war and ten coming back.Then, and this was my surprise, what I always thought of as the core of the Odyssey the magical adventures with the Cyclops and Polyphemus, the Lotus Eaters, the Sirens, Circe and the trip to the Underworld, the Laestrygonias, Scylla and Charybdis, the Sun God etc, forming what is called the Apologoi, are a very small part of the book All of these eventful episodes take place along three years before the seven that Odysseus is amorously trapped by Kalypso And these are narrated, after the fact, by Odysseus himself in just four chapters chapters nine to twelve So, to what in my mind was the meat of the Odyssey is only 17% of the book And if one recalls what a great deceiver Odysseus can be, one could always wonder at these fables.The rest, the remaining twelve chapters, or half of the book, is the actual Homecoming.What I have realized now is that The Odyssey is really about this Homecoming And that is what we witness directly All the enchanted adventures are told tales Odysseus as the bard chanting his own stories in the court of the Phaeacians A supreme teller since through his fables he has to build the image of the hero that his, possibly dangerous, audience see and do not see Odysseus as myth and myth maker No wonder his epithet of the resourceful one.If the Homecoming had previously stayed in my mind as just an expected end, in which all the invective and riveting elements are drearily put at an end, as if one could already close the door and leave, the one I have read now surprised me by its dramatization A different craft is at stage.The bard enacts the process of Justice performing through an act of Revenge There is no layered telling of the tale In the last half of the poem the pace and complexity of the various elements as they converge in the palace to play out divine retribution in which success does not seem assured, not even to the great Odysseus who knows he has Athena s support , has seemed, this third time round, magisterial.And it is Penelope the patient, the apprehensive, the one who for twenty years has protected her mistrust with her weaving, the one who, with her threads, offers the needed opportunity that the resourceful hero is at pains to find When she announces that she is about to end to the tapestry that has become her life, the beggar can then put also an end to the agony.Crafted Homecoming. The first line in Emily Wilson s new translation of the Odyssey, the first by a woman scholar, is Tell me about a complicated man In an article by Wyatt Mason in the NYT late last year, Wilson tells us I could ve said, Tell me about a straying husband And that s a viable translation That s one of the things the original language says But I want to be super responsible about my relationship to the Greek text I want to be saying, after multiple different revisions This is the best I can get toward the truth Oh, the mind reels This new translation by Emily Wilson reads swiftly, smoothly, and feels contemporary This exciting new translation will surprise you, and send you to compare certain passages with earlier translations In her Introduction, Wilson raises that issue of translation herself How is it possible to have so many different translations, all of which could be considered correct Wilson reminds us what a ripping good yarn this story is, and removes any barriers to understanding We can come to it with our current sensibility and find in it all kinds of foretelling and parallels with life today, and perhaps we even see the genesis of our own core morality, a morality that feels inexplicably learned Perhaps the passed down sense of right and wrong, of fairness and justice we read of here was learned through these early stories and lessons from the gods Or are we interpreting the story to fit our sensibility These delicious questions operate in deep consciousness while we pleasure in learning about that liar Odysseus, described again and again as wily, scheming, cunning, his lies were like truth He learned how to bend the truth at his grandfather s knee, and the gods exploited that talent when they helped him out The skill served him well, allowing him to confuse and evade captors throughout his ordeal, as well as keep his wife and father in the dark about his identity upon his return until he could reveal the truth at a time of maximum impact.There does inevitably come a time when people react cautiously to what is told them, even to the evidence their own eyes The gods can cloud one s understanding, it is well known, and truth is suspected in every encounter These words Penelope speaks Please forgive me, do not keep bearing a grudge because when I first saw you,I would not welcome you immediately.I felt a constant dread that some bad manwould fool me with his lies There are so manydishonest, clever men Particularly easy to relate to today are descriptions of Penelope s ungrateful suitors like Ctesippius, who encouraged by extraordinary wealth, had come to court Odysseus wife Also speaking insight for us today are the phrases Weapons themselves can tempt a man to fight and Arms themselves can prompt a man to use them There is a conflicted view of women in this story Sex sways all women s minds, even the best of them, though Penelope is a paragon of virtue, managing to avoid temptation through her own duplicitousness She hardly seems a victim at all in this reading, merely an unwilling captor She is strong, smart, loyal, generous, and brave, all the qualities any man would want for his wife.We understand the slave girls that Odysseus felt he had to test for loyalty were at the disposal of the ungrateful suitors who, after they ate and drank at Penelope s expense, often met the house girls after hours Some of the girls appeared to go willingly, laughing and teasing as they went, and were outspoken about their support of the men they d taken up with Others, we get the impression from the text, felt they had no choice.Race is not mentioned but once in this book, very matter of factly, though the darker man is a servant to the lighter one Odysseus had a valet with him,I do remember, named Eurybates,a man a little older than himself,who had black skin, round shoulders, woolly hair, and was Odysseus s favorite our of all his crewbecause his mind matched his Odysseus s tribulations are terrible, but appear to be brought on by his own stubborn and petulant nature, like his taunting of the blinded Cyclops from his own escaping ship Cyclops was Poseidon s son so Odysseus s behavior was especially unwise, particularly since his own men were yelling at him to stop Later, that betrayal of the men s best interests for his own childish purpose will come back to haunt Odysseus when the men suspect him of thinking only of himself greediness and unleash terrible winds by accident, blowing them tragically off course in rugged seas We watch, fascinated, as the gods seriously mess Odysseus about, and then come to his aid We really get the sense of the gods playing, as in Athena s willingness to give Odysseus strength and arms when fighting the suitors in his house, but being unwilling to actually step in to help with the fighting Instead, she watched from the rafters It s hard not to be just a little resentful Wilson s translation reads very fast and very clearly There always seemed to be some ramp up time reading Greek myths in the past, but now the adventures appear perfectly accessible Granted, there are some names you ll have to figure out, but that s part of being constructively lost, as Pynchon says.A book by book reading of this new translation will begin March 1st on the Goodreads website, hosted by Kris Rabberman, Wilson s colleague at the University of Pennsylvania To prepare for the first online discussion later this week, Kris has suggested participants read the Introduction If interested readers are still not entirely convinced they want this literary experience now, some excerpts have been reprinted in The Paris Review. I m not normally a praying man, but if you re up there, please save me, SupermanHomer Simpson Following James Joyce s lead, I used Homer s heroic story as inspiration and research for a novel in progress.But how can I, a mere mortal, do justice to the most famous epic poem ever written An encounter with a work of this magnitude should be shared, rather than reviewed.Homer is the great, great, great recurring grand daddy of modern literature and this colossus is as immortal as the gods within it And what a tale this must have been, way back in the 8th century BC Then, it was sung, rather than read, and I guess the first to bear witness must have been jigging about in their togas with unbridled excitement.Alas, I didn t read it in ancient Greek, as Homer had intended My copy was transcribed to a Kindle, rather than papyri, and translated by none other than the genius that was Alexander Pope yep, I went old school on this.Odysseus, he of the title, otherwise known in Latin as Ulysses, embarks on a perilous, stop start, um, odyssey, attempting to get home to Ithaca after fighting in the Trojan War for a decade.Such an amazing story, overflowing with an abundance of adventure Poor Odysseus, having battled treacherous seas, wrathful gods, enchanting sirens and a Cyclops, then has to put up with big bad Poseidon weighing in with some nautical muscle and shipwrecking his boat Plagued by setback after setback, the journey home takes TEN gruelling years to complete And, as if that wasn t bad enough, wife Penelope has meanwhile given up hope of him returning home alive and is being courted by one hundred suitors, none of whom are fit to kiss our hero s sandals.This is by no means a page turner and some background knowledge is required to appreciate the finer points Pope has done an amazing job to remain somewhat sympathetic to the timbre of Homer s lyrical story, and his rhyming couplets are a thing to beholdBut when the star of eve with golden lightAdorn d the matron brow of night Beautiful Homer the poet, not the cartoon character has fuelled the imagination of countless authors throughout the centuries, and therefore it would be sacrilege for me to award anything less than five heroic stars. It s impossible not to smile when you start reading such a classic and, after only the first few pages, you realize and completely understand why it s regarded as one of the most important works in literature I m always a little anxious when I tackle such important and renowned books for being afraid of not comprehending or loving them War and Peace and Don Quixote, for example as they seem to deserve Not that I m obligated to like them, but I always feel such buzz comes for a reason and I try to at least find out why With The Odyssey, once again, I find that the ones who have read it before me were right it s amazing.I didn t have plans to read The Odyssey any time soon I ve never devoted much time to epic poems and this one has than 12,000 verses , but because I ve been eying Ulysses on my shelves for quite some time, I decided to prepare myself for it and read about Odysseus with a great group here on Goodreads To call Homer s book simply a preparation for Joyce s work is now not only unfair, but also absurd to me However, I m glad that I finally read it, whatever the reason behind it was The Odyssey tells the story of Odysseus s Ulysses journey back to his home Ithaca to return to his wife Penelope and son Telemachus after twenty years of absence Our hero left his home to fight in the Trojan War that alone lasted ten years and encountered too many obstacles that kept him away for another ten years Back in Ithaca, people had already lost hope that he could still be alive and his wife was being courted by suitors who wanted to marry her.Alongside the emotional and heartfelt story, what grabbed my attention here was the poem s style and structure For a work that s believed to have been written in the 8th century BC, its quality and refinement certainly amazed me Some of the story is told through flashbacks, some of it is told through different narrators and its narratives are non linear, so I was positively surprised.I could try to write an analysis about the recurring themes on the book vengeance, spiritual growth, hospitality or try to decipher its symbolism much has been written about Odysseus s bow, Laertes s shroud, the sea , but I feel I would fail and wouldn t be able to do it in a deep level, especially after having read the great introduction and notes written by Bernard Knox.What kept me away from Homer s work was the fear that it would be too dense and heavy on mythology it is mythological, of course , making it hard for me to understand it Although labored, the narrative is quite simple and easy to follow Knox s notes were a great companion to fill in the details I needed to comprehend the book in a deeper level.Rating it s my belief that a great book not only satisfy your expectations, but also inspire you to delve further into its writer s other works, similar subjects or even other books from the same time period The Odyssey raised my interest about Greek mythology and The Iliad, so I guess it served its purpose with high colors Because of that, 5 glowing and beautiful stars. What can I say about this book that hasn t been said already I m sure that the influence and importance of it has been discussed to death already, so I won t even get started on that.My reading experience was surprisingly pleasant I didn t expect to get so invested I found the language a bit hard at first, but once I got used to it which didn t take all too long , I was able to fully enjoy the story I m glad that I finally read this classic piece of work, and it s definitely understandable that it s as famous as it is. Quite possibly one of my favourite books It was this novel that ignited my love for Greek and Roman mythology and antiquity leading me to choose a degree in Classical Civilisations.I always look back on The Odyssey with fondness I love all the monsters he faces and the gods who involve themselves with Odysseus trials as he makes his way home after the Trojan War.LOVE LOVE LOVE. Okay, so here s what happened I went out after work with the guys, we went to a perfectly nice bar, this chick was hitting on me but I totally brushed her off Anyway we ended up getting pretty wrecked, and we might have smoked something in the bathroom, I m not totally clear on that part, and then this gigantic one eyed bouncer kicked us out so we somehow ended up at a strip club The guys were total pigs but not me, seriously, that s not glitter on my neck And then we totally drove right by these hookers without even stopping and here I am Only a little bit late By the way, I crashed the car and six of the guys are in jail Ask for Officer Scylla EhHomer s right Odysseus version is better.P.S Do not try this story at home unless, when you get there, you re still capable of shooting your arrow into a narrow aperture.Fagles translation is excellent the new standard and Bernard Knox s enormous introduction is the best Homeric essay I ve ever read.A good companion read is Hal Roth s We Followed Odysseus maybe not the most eloquent of books, but he retraces Odysseus s voyage as best he can in his sailboat, which is a pretty rad idea I recreated his route as a Google map here, with notes on each of the stops I also wrote summaries of each book of the Odyssey for a book club discussion I ve pasted them in the comments thread below, if you re interested.