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The Odyssey

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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  561,938 ratings  ·  5,808 reviews
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 Review of Books hails as "a distinguished achievement."

If the Iliad is the world's greatest war epic, then the Odyssey is liter...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, 541 pages
Published November 1st 1997 by Penguin Classics (first published -800)
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David A. Beardsley I haven't read the essays you cite, but from my (numerous) readings, I can't see that Odysseus (to use his real Greek name) was anything other than a…moreI haven't read the essays you cite, but from my (numerous) readings, I can't see that Odysseus (to use his real Greek name) was anything other than a servant and sometimes colleague of the gods. He respected their power and their will, even when it caused him hardship. When the Odyssey is seen as an allegory for the human soul, the gods are powers we have within us that can lead us back to our own divine selves, and we deny them at our peril. I humbly refer you to my essay on the Odyssey: http://idealinthewest.com/the-ideal-o...
and my soon-to-be-published book
"The Journey Back to Where You Are: Homer's Odyssey as Spiritual Quest."
Let me know what you think!(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephen
So my first “non-school related" experience with Homer’s classic tale, and my most powerful impression, beyond the overall splendor of the story, was...HOLY SHIT SNACKS these Greeks were a violent bunch. Case in point:
...they hauled him out through the doorway into the court,
lopped his nose and ears with a ruthless knife,
tore his genitals out for the dogs to eat raw
and in manic fury hacked off hands and feet.
then once they’d washed their own hands and feet
they went inside again to join ody
...more
Alex
"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...more
Renato Magalhães Rocha
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...more
sckenda
Jul 01, 2014 sckenda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those Adrift on the Wine-Dark Sea
A Greek warrior sails home after ten year’s fighting the Trojan War. But the brutality is not yet over, and the Olympian thirst for blood has not been slaked. Though Poseidon vows to drown Odysseus, Athena endows him wisdom needed to find his way to Ithaca where his wife and son, Penelope and Telemachus, await his return and daily look to sea for his sails.

The journey home steals a second decade from Odysseus’ life and will require the last measure of his courage and perseverance.
Sing to me of
...more
Riku Sayuj

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. 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 translation, by Robert Fagles, is of the Greek text edited by David Monro and Thomas Allen, first published in 1908 by the Oxford University Press. This two-​volu
...more
Everyman
The Odyssey is, well, the Odyssey. Beyond being a tremendously exciting read, it is a foundational work in Western literature.

It is a glorious story of love and war, gods and humans, adventure in and around the Mediterranean (and, some argue, out to the West Indies). On the surface simply the story of Odysseus's adventures after the fall of Troy, it is a rich tapestry of places, characters, and creatures which have entered into the basic language of Western literature.

For academic study of the...more
Terry
Oh no, I didn’t! Did I just give Homer’s Odyssey 3 stars?! (Well, 3.5 really) What gall! Who the hell do I think I am?! Believe me, I am as shocked as you are. I thought I would end up liking this much more than its twin The Iliad, but the opposite turned out to be the case. Don’t get me wrong, Homer’s a great writer…he’s got a real future in the industry! (I kid, I kid) But seriously, while the Odyssey certainly contains more down to earth concerns than the vast epic of blood, guts and glory th...more
Kim

My knowledge of classical literature and mythology is sadly lacking. The main reason I decided to tackle The Odyssey is because I want to read Ulysses and I gather that a passing acquaintance with this work will make that experience more meaningful.

Listening to Ian McKellen reading the Robert Fagles' translation made me regret my lack of education in the classics. I have no way of assessing the merits of Fagles' work, but I would love be to be able to read this epic poem in the language in whic...more
Keely
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...more
Christy
This is a marvelous poem. Everyone knows that. It has survived centuries - milennia. Now, thanks to Robert Fagles's brilliant and vivid translation, no reader should ever feel overwhelmed or literarily (word?) excluded by the Odyssey. While reading it, I learned that a) Greek men weep constantly, b) Greek hospitality is awesome and one receives many presents, c) Odysseus and Penelope's son Telemachus is pretty constantly an ass to his mother.

As the story winds down and Odysseus returns to Penel...more
Sue
I have no idea how to review this book which has been discussed by millions of others over the past almost 3000 years. So I plan to keep this brief. This was so enjoyable! I found Knox's introduction very helpful and Fagles' translation smooth and very much a pleasure to read. Some of the descriptions were simply beautiful (I'm remembering Calypso"s cave), emotional (the reunions with family), powerful (the battles with the suitors, and eerie (the visit to The Underworld).

I recommend that everyo...more
Madeline
Before buying a copy of this (Richard Lattimore's translation, fyi) in a secondhand bookstore, I had a passing familiarity with The Odyssey. My introduction to the story, as was the case with a lot of classic literature, was provided by the PBS show Wishbone (you have not lived until you've seen a Jack Russell terrier in a toga firing an arrow through twelve axe heads, trust me on this). Then in high school, one of my English classes read some selections from the poem - I remember reading the Cy...more
Jonathan

The Odyssey is a book that in many ways must be read in conjuncture with Homer's The Iliad. Like that other work of poetry, it is an epic tale of fantasy with great truths for humanity as it stands today. The Iliad is generally considered to be the earlier of the two works (if you accept that Homer was a single individual) due to the fact that this, The Odyssey, contains a story which begins after the events of The Iliad. However, where The Iliad is a story of conflict and tragedy, full of patho...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I read this fist ("of course" I suppose I should say) back in my "school days" I must say I "enjoyed" the Iliad more. Hey I was young and got into the battles...

Yeah I was a bit shallow. Still as an adventure story this reads very well. If you haven't read it you might consider it. After all, it's been around since about 800 BC. Pretty good track record.

This is one of the worlds great epic poems/stories, don't miss it.
Jenna
I know, as crazy as it sounds I didn't hate The Odyssey, in fact, at parts, I actually sorta/kinda liked it. I know, crazy. But whatever. Most people know what The Odyssey is about, and if they don't, they will. So, I am not going to waste time explaining it.

For those who have read it, here are my opinions:
Hate Penelope. Period. She is so whiny, and I am probably about to be shunned by the millions of Twilight fans, but she reminds me A LOT of Bella (cringe as fruit flies toward an unsuspecting
...more
Ananthu

“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.”


I wouldn't have picked this up had it not been for my incipient interest in Mythology, and thus found myself enrolled in a MOOC which dealt with mythologies of the Greek and the Roman. To read this epic seemed like a daunting endeavor, but I was greatly surprised to find it so accessible, and save for a few bits here and there, I was fully engrossed and...more
Terence
Note that in what follows all book and line references are to the Fagles translation.

In the classic Star Trek episode “Errand of Mercy” there is a scene toward the end that my readings of The Iliad and The Odyssey brought to mind and prompted the comment made in the Comments earlier, i.e., “the Klingons are ancient Greeks.” The Organians have revealed themselves to be super-evolved, incorporeal beings and have put a stop to the “insane war,” as Ayelborne calls it, the Klingons and the Federation...more
Jesse
Ah, The Odyssey. Only a fool could rate this less than five stars on account of its literary qualities, but this book is such an instrument of white, male power that I must leaven my praise with a little criticism. George Orwell said you shouldn't judge Rudyard Kipling's literary output by the politics disseminated within it, and that point is well taken. But, for someone of the Left, there is a particular scene that is most despicable and always gives me shudders (besides the many scenes where...more
Michael
The Odyssey is one of two narrative poems that have been attributed to the Greek poet Homer; while it is not entirely clear that he actually composed both or any of them. While it can be said that The Odyssey is a sequel to Homer’s Iliad, reading them out of order will not put you at a major disadvantage. Iliad tells the story of the war on Troy and remains popular due to the fact that it is one of the only surviving Greek classics that actually deals with thetopic. The destruction of the Librar...more
Yasiru (reviews will soon be removed and linked to blog)
Here we are again! Having read Chapman's Odyssey, it was soon clear that Richmond Lattimore's more clear, muscular-seeming but sometimes surprisingly understated verse would not be aiming for the elegant rhyming form I had become familiar with (if with difficulty, and I suspect, because I read rather quickly, not always digesting all that was said). But I don't think this is at all laziness on Lattimore's part (part of the praise for his translation is for fidelity), because the almost prose-lik...more
Giuliana
Now I'm showing off...

I'm not going to write a review for the Odyssey; I think that thousands of years of influence and praise speak for themselves.

However, I will tell you what happened when I was reading the last books of the poem, in which Penelope is reunited with her husband. In those days, I happened to be home alone while Alec was in Olney, dog-sitting his mother's dogs. Well, during that time, Alec had to fight against terrible storms that put his commute in peril and isolated him from...more
Marcus
After reading The Iliad a couple years back, my hopes for enjoying Homer were not high. The battles and genealogies of The Iliad were interesting, but it felt more like reading history than fiction. It turned out my fears that The Odyssey would be the same were unfounded. The Odyssey, and its hero Odysseus, quickly slashed their way through the fray and became one of my all-time favorite books.

The Odyssey is, in part, the story of the hero Odysseus, a man so driven by love for his wife, his son...more
Lada
Splendide. Voluptueuse. Enivrante. Purificatrice, cette lecture des aventures d'un destin hors de pair. Je pense a la redaction de la revue sur l'Odyssee. En train de reflechir, et d'ecrire le plus succintement possible. Je trouve le livre genial.
Le voyage a travers les songes qui sont comme des avertissement. Il s'agit de les tisser tout en les revant. Comme des navigateur. L'homme navigue a l'exterieur dans la mer noire, la femme tisse le destin en le songeant. Athene et Cyrcee tissent l-ench...more
Rosa Ramôa
http://youtu.be/oRsh8OKzZNw

Lealdade e fidelidade!
Sobre o relacionamento do homem com o cão!
Simples e forte.
...
Argos era cão de Ulisses que,20 anos depois,regressa a casa.
Ulisses encontra-o deitado,velho e cansado.
Argos reconhece-o imediatamente.
A pouca força apenas lhe permite abanar a cauda.
Não se pode levantar para cumprimentar o seu mestre.
Ulisses passa,comovido,e entra na sala.
Argos morre...
Tinham uma relação sincera que contrastava com o seu relacionamento com a esposa (Penélope).A ausênc...more
Mark Rayner
The Odyssey is a story about a homicidal maniac (Odysseus) who refuses to ask for directions. This tragic flaw, shared by many men, leads his crew to disaster. Some are eaten by monsters, some are eaten by their crew-mates, and some finally get fed up with this cruise from hell (literally at one point), and take a flight home.

Finally, Odysseus returns home, and is shocked, SHOCKED, to discover that after a 20-year absence, his wife is entertaining the possibility of remarrying.

Meg ♥
This is one story that really stuck with me all these years. I read this in Jr. High, and I loved it so much.

This story takes you on a breathtaking journey that will bring you to your feet in a standing ovation! The story of love, betrayal, courage,honor and more is timeless. The characters come to life.

The Odyssey will capture your mind and emotions, and you won't want to put it down. A great adventure.
Justin Evans
It's the Odyssey; you should probably read it. Fitzgerald's version is very readable, and not particularly scholarly, so it's ideal for actually reading. I doubt it's much use if you're looking for a trot to read alongside the Greek, but since I don't know Greek... well, it suits my purposes.

Everyone who reads the thing seems to have an idea about the *one thing* the book is about, which is ridiculous, since even in translation you can see that it's a bunch of different stories stitched togethe...more
Peycho Kanev
For all practical purposes, the Odyssey is the "sequel" to the earliest well-known surviving work in Western literature, the Iliad. (The Epic of Gilgamesh, while at least 1,000 years older, is neither as well-known nor as influential as Homer's work.) Unlike many sequels in the present era, however, the Odyssey actually seems to be an improvement, in some respects, on the original, and stands quite well as an independent work. Odysseia—the poem's name in Greek since Herodotus called it that in t...more
Carmo Santos
"Odisseia s.f.Fig. Viagem cheia de aventuras extraordinárias. Série de acontecimentos e peripécias estranhas e variadas."

E é mesmo disso que se trata; a viagem mais excepcional de sempre, o herói mais admirado e acarinhado pelo seu povo,ora posto à prova, ora ajudado pelos deuses caprichosos. Astucioso, enfrentou desafios impensáveis para o comum mortal numa epopeia que durou vinte anos. Foi o exemplo da bravura, da coragem, tenacidade e inteligência.
Mais velha do que Cristo, esta obra tem servi...more
Zepp
My first Odyssey, and so my favorite. I've read this edition a few times, and it's always a new experience. The rhythm of this translation is smooth and rolling, but it can have a narcotic effect in which the sounds and melody (even in silence) lull you away from the language and the story. This isn't a bad thing, of course, especially if you're hanging out on Circe's island or eating a little lotus. Maybe this is why episodes and words resonate differently on repeated readings- I find the book...more
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903
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
More about Homer...
The Iliad The Iliad/The Odyssey Homeric Hymns The Odyssey, Book 1-12 The Iliad/The Odyssey/The Aeneid

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“Of all creatures that breathe and move upon the earth, nothing is bred that is weaker than man.” 608 likes
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