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The Essential Homer

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  356 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Selections from both Iliad and Odyssey, made with an eye for those episodes that figure most prominently in the study of mythology.
Paperback, 532 pages
Published September 15th 2000 by Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (first published 1964)
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In my view, Stanley Lombardo's is the best translation of Homer's epic poetry. Even though the current rage is Robert Fagles' translation, Stanley Lombardo's is active, passionate, and accessible. Lombardo has full translations of both Iliad and Odyssey, though I don't find them listed on goodreads.

The volume pictured here features abridged versions. This is the book I use in my Mythology class. The abridgment is effective -- in fact it improves the narrative pace! Themes like the inevitability
In college, I read this book for a Foundations of Western Lit. class. My friends and I took turns reading aloud, doing voices, and generally enjoying the process of reading Homer's work. This translation, in particular, is very accessible to the modern reader (as it would have been to the Greeks at the time of its original telling) while still holding true to Homer's original words (we were assured by our professor, who knows more Greek than we do). It is epic poetry at its best and finest (and ...more
As a kid and adolescent, I loved Greek Mythology. I loved the stories of the Gods and particularly identified with Athena, Artemis, and all those women who shunned romance. It just spoke to me. This is the first time I've ever read one of the classic poems from which derive the myths.

I read The Iliad for a class on great literature. What a difference an edition makes! I started with the free kindle version, and it was kicking my butt. It was tedious, painful, and surprisingly violent. Then I fou
Now that I'm finally reading the Odyssey in its entirety, I understand that selections just aren't enough.

I actually read "The Essential Iliad" by the same author. But Goodreads doesn't have that book listed. In any case, I believe that Iliad part of this book is essentially the same.

I had of course heard of the Greek epics. But I knew little about them till I read Jaynes' "The origin of consciousness in the breakdown of the bicameral mind" in which Jaynes draws heavily upon the two epics to try prove his stunning thesis. In a nutshell, Jaynes claims that the humans had a bicameral mind as recently
I enjoy the mythology of the Greek greatly so even though I was forced to read this for my history class I wasn't all that discouraged and I actually quite liked reading it. The only thing was trying to get past the wording of the epics but thanks to sparknotes it was made easier for me to understand. One aspect of the two epics that bugged me though were that they never finished either of the stories and instead with the Iliad depended on the Odyssey to fill in the holes. But the Odyssey ended ...more

These versions of the epic cut out interesting and valuable events. This gives the entire thing a disjointed feel. The narrative is really what carries this book.
The translation was also a bit awkward at times, trying to simultaneously be modern and classic
Kathleen Zaker
This translation makes the work accessible to the English reader. The themes are inspiring, especially the theme of true glory being found in forgiveness. Don't expect this work to be like a modern novel; it is an epic poem. Beautiful.
Very simple overview, good print for the pieces, and overall a great study companion.
Homer is at his most accessible in Lombardo's "Good Parts" abridgement. If you've ever wanted to actually read Homer in translation but have found it, like myself, too daunting, this is the way to go.
Finally got to "read" the Iliad...Sparknote-ed it.
The Iliad is so much less exciting for me than the Odyssey. Maybe because it focuses on Achilles and he's one of those people who would totally be the star football player if this was a modern adaptation, and I just naturally gravitate away from that. But my own personal prejudices aside, it was written well for a combined-abridged translation, but I just didn't think it was that great. Still a classic, still and epic, and maybe (like so may oth
Zarahi Serrano
Beautiful prose!
Finished only Iliad part for CAMS (09/14/2015)
One of the things that Iliad has taught me is that things have to be worked out. They do not just happen by themselves. Even "fate" has to be acted.
I didn't quite enjoy this book in the depth of which I wish I could have, mostly because I was reading only certain chapters on certain days for class. If I had been able to read it from start to finish without skipping around, and if I didn't already know both the stories, I would have enjoyed it more. This translation was very modern, and I was quite surprised by the word choice. I would recommend it for anyone who wants a quick knowledge of the Iliad and Odyssey and an easier read.
Mills College Library
883.01 H766e 2000
Joseph Young
Listened to the audio book. The narrators were pleasant, and had a decent command of voices, with firm changing tones.

The books were fairly fluid, and translated quite nicely, with very little awkwardness of the type you would find in other translations.

Tracks were too long; should have subdivided the tracks.
Intro music got to be a bit much for the 14 cds. They could have put more of the book in during that time.
Did not really enjoy reading this particular translation of the Iliad and Odyssey. Certain word choices and translated dialogue contained modern and in my opinion, colloquial language, that took me out of the experience of reading these works. It felt particularly informal for me and I immediately checked out of the reading experience as soon as I encountered certain words and sentences.
Honestly, this translation is not great. The Odyssey portion is better than the Iliad, but still, this isn't what I'd recommend if you're interested in the artistry of Homer's masterpiece. However, it is good for a quicker kind of read if you're just interested becoming more familiar with the stories of the Odyssey and the Iliad. Glad I read it, anyway.
Jennifer Selva
While missing a few books from the epic tales, this compilation of the famous Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer gives a good holistic view of the plot lines. Gods and goddesses declare their loyalty to one mortal or another and face off in epic battles of strength and will.
Although (and maybe because) it's abridged, I really enjoyed these epic poems (The Iliad more than The Odyssey). The translation was readable and poetic. And I just really like the relationships between the Greek gods and the humans. Very enjoyable.
I read the Iliad and am currently reading the odyssey for English. I just can't enjoy these books. I really wish that I could but its like beating a dead horse for me, I'm just not getting anywhere and it's showing in my English work.
Katie Ford
I thought this was a pretty accessible translation and well-abridged, especially for an intro-level classroom setting (where I used it as an instructor)
Miriam Fitting
Transl. Robert Fitzgerald. Tale of Odysseus' 20 year return home after the Trojan Wars, delayed by Poseidon and his many adventures.
This was a REALLY captivating version of both the Odyssey and the Illiad. Definitely keeping it on my shelf!
The entire Lombardo translation of the Iliad is fantastic. Highly recommend
Susan Chapman
A tougher slog than I anticipated.
Jul 07, 2015 Miriam added it
Finished Iliad.
Nov 21, 2009 Jonathan added it
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In the Western classical tradition, Homer (Greek: Όμηρος) is considered the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest of ancient Greek epic poets. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.
When he lived is unknown. Herodotus estimates that Homer lived 400 years before his own time,
More about Homer...
The Odyssey The Iliad The Iliad/The Odyssey Homeric Hymns The Odyssey, Book 1-12

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“And for yourself, may the gods grant you your heart's desire, a husband and a home, and the blessing of a harmonious life. For nothing is greater or finer than this, when a man and woman live together with one hear and mind, bringing joy to their friends and grief to their foes.” 8 likes
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