The Odyssey
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The Odyssey

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  556,894 ratings  ·  5,745 reviews
Long before The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Harry Potter, the ancient Greek poet Homer established the standard for tales of epic quests and heroic journeys with The Odyssey. Crowded with characters, both human and non-human, and bursting with action, The Odyssey details the adventures of Odysseus, king of Ithaca and hero of the Trojan War, as he struggles to return...more
Hardcover, 407 pages
Published March 4th 2004 by Barnes & Noble (first published -800)
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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
"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
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
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
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
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

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
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
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
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

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
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

“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
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
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
This is a copy of Manny's deleted review, which was deleted along with its entire two or three page long thread. (reposted with permission):

Manny's review of another book, the name of which has been edited out because of suspected search engine activity on the part of the regime:

The review below was deleted by Goodreads, along with two others. I received the following message:

Re: [#104307] Deleted Reviews
To Me
Oct 11 at 8:41 PM
Hello Manny,

Your reviews of the following books w...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
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
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
Rosa Ramôa

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.

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 shallow. Still as an adventure story this still 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.
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
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
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
As with most books high schoolers at my learning institution are required to read, I heard horror stories about The Odyssey from older siblings, whiny facebook friends, etc. Needless to say, my expectations were low. I did have a little faith in it though; it's a "classic" for a reason. If I could sum it up in a word: meh. The characters were uninteresting, especially Odysseus himself. I feel bad for the ancient Greeks who had to regard him as a hero, considering he is a major jerk. Being a fair...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
Pensieri in ordine sparso. C'è un sottile filo rosso che lega Odisseo a Macbeth. Potere, potere, il potere che acceca, che fa imbrattare i muri di sangue. E che si perde in un bicchiere d’acqua. Vero, Odisseo? Perchè appena ti sei svegliato ad Itaca, dopo vent'anni, la prima cosa che hai pensato è stata: "Oddio, i Feaci non mi avranno mica rubato i doni?". No, non voglio sentire la tua risposta, con la tua astuzia nefasta vai ad ammaliare qualcun altro. Ne sanno qualcosa i tuoi marinai, no?...

Zachary Martin
For reasons I don't remember, I gave The Odyssey three stars. I am now thinking that this text is probably above being rated since whether or not one "likes" Homer is beside the point. I am changing my rating to five stars with full admission that giving a rating to on one of the most important founding texts of western civilization is to take oneself a little to seriously.
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Which translation? 68 1911 Sep 16, 2014 02:40PM  
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  • Medea and Other Plays
  • The Aeneid
  • Theogony/Works and Days (World's Classics)
  • The Oresteia
  • Metamorphoses
  • The Complete Plays
  • Poetics
  • Classical Mythology
  • The Complete Fables (Penguin Classics)
  • The Golden Ass
  • The Satyricon
  • The Complete Poems
  • Bulfinch's Mythology
  • The Birds and Other Plays
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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