The Odyssey The Odyssey discussion


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Which translation?

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Sosen I recently finished this book. I read the T.E. Lawrence translation. That just happened to be the one my Dad had (and gave to me), but I think it was a good choice. I don't think I could make it through a verse version of this book unless it was for school. I also liked that in the intro, Lawrence took a couple of jabs at the quality of the book--not his translation, but the original.

Which translation did you read? Which is your favorite, if you've read more than one?


Old-Barbarossa Robert Fagles trans is fairly good, last one I read.
Have the Simon Armitage version somewhere, more of a re-interpritation though.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

In my devine wisdom I picked up the Chapman translation... My head was spinning for a week after I had done reading it.


Rolando I've read (and loved) the Robert Fitzgerald translation. His Iliad and Odyssey are truly wonderful, vibrant works of poetry.


James Robert Fagles translation was truly awesome and his translation of The Odyssey was quite stirring . Can not really comment on The Iliad as I haven't actually started reading it yet . I have read the introduction though , but I am confident it will be an awesome read .
Of course this is the only translation I have read so far .


Mary Robert Fitzgerald's translation is excellent. The words shimmer with beauty. It's truly quite breathtaking.


message 7: by Sara (last edited Jan 19, 2012 07:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara Old-Barbarossa wrote: "Robert Fagles trans is fairly good, last one I read.
Have the Simon Armitage version somewhere, more of a re-interpritation though."


Agreed. My favorite translation is the Fagles of both the Odyssey and the Iliad. I've read a number of translations, and I think his handling of the verses is beautiful and simply THE best. James, I strongly suggest that you try a verse version as it gives an amazing rhythm to the story--and if you do, read the Fagles. You'll find it hypnotizing just by reading the first few pages on Amazon.

Does anyone know if he has a translation of the Aeneid?


Hillary Major I loved the Richmond Lattimore verse translation of both the Odyssey & the Iliad. I thought the verse was clean & elegant & added a kind of weight to the story.

I'm curious about translation recommendations for the Aeneid. I'm not sure which I read (might have been Mandelbaum), but I didn't especially care for it.


Theacrob Rolando wrote: "I've read (and loved) the Robert Fitzgerald translation. His Iliad and Odyssey are truly wonderful, vibrant works of poetry."

This is my favorite translation as well.


Probibliophile James wrote: "I recently finished this book. I read the T.E. Lawrence translation. That just happened to be the one my Dad had (and gave to me), but I think it was a good choice. I don't think I could make it th..."

I read the Fitzgerald translation when I read it for school and read the Fagles when it came out for pleasure. The Fagles seemed both easier and more pleasant to read.


Donna I loved Robert Fagles version


Jessica The Richmond Lattimore translation is the best. Trust me, I'm an ancient history student! It stays true to the greek by reusing the epithets, which some translations don't do very well, and is not as painful to read as some translations I have attempted. If you want a translation that stays true to the greek and is easy to read, go for the Lattimore version.


Frances Greenslade I think the Robert Fagles translation is fantastic. I teach college English literature and I use these versions in my classes. Both the students and I love them. They're highly readable and capture a sense of the oral tradition.


message 14: by Bill (new)

Bill I read Fitzgerald. I'll reread Fagels whom I like a lot. Lattimore for The Iliad, hands down.


message 15: by Matt (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt Posner Definitely Lattimore. Translators have to choose between word-for-word transliteration and interpretation. Lattimore is closer to word-for-word but renders with clarity. Fitzgerald and Fagles are too interpretive for my taste. Pope and Chapman are essentially writing whole new poems. Pope does that well, Chapman is a bore. I turned against Chapman's Iliad when he referred to Briseis as a damsel. Damsels are virgins. was Briseis really a virgin there in Achilles' tent?


message 16: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy I use the WHD Rouse translation of The Odyssey when I teach it to sophomores. I haven't read other versions as I am not the biggest fan of mythology, but it seems to flow fairly well.


message 17: by Bill (new)

Bill Okay, Matt. I'll try Lattimore for the Odyssey and compare as I go.

The Rouse is prose. The Odyssey is a poem. It's not longer the fashionable way to go.

Lattimore tends to be both the most poetic and most accurate (as I'm told). On the other hand, his greater achievement is The Iliad. Reading between translations -- Lattimore and Fagels may work best for The Odyssey.


Meliss I read the Ennis Rees translation. Yeah. It's the only one I've read, and I love The Odyssey, so I guess it can't be that bad. I now have the Lattimore translation and I want to compare it to the Fagles version. I'm reading Fagles' Aeneid right now, and it's awesome. Now, it sounds like I might have to throw Fitzgerald in there, too.


message 19: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark I loved the Fagles Iliad and Odyssey, and preferred his Odyssey to Fitzgerald. Also fantastic is Fagles' versions read on CD by Derek Jacobi (Iliad) and Ian McEllan (Odyssey). The Iliad CD is marred by the omission of certain sections, while McEllan's Odyssey is complete and sublime.


message 20: by Tadd (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tadd Go to a large bookstore with many translations. Read the first passage - Sing Muse, the rage of Achilles... One of them will grab you. Read that one. I like Fagles.


Deborah the Richmond Lattimore translation is the closest to the Greek.


James Powell Tadd wrote: "Go to a large bookstore with many translations. Read the first passage - Sing Muse, the rage of Achilles... One of them will grab you. Read that one. I like Fagles."

I wholeheartedly endorse this approach, only adding that one should read more than the first page. Get to the argument between Achilles and Agamemnon.

If one is going to study Iliad, the Odyssey, or the Aeneid, one ought to read several translations.

I've been told that reading Aeneid in Latin is an entirely different and much more rewarding experience. I haven't done that, but I believe it.


Brunhilde I think Richard Latimore's translation is the best for its accuracy and feel of the language. Fitzgerald's is good for sheer comprehension and enjoyablity.


Angie Kregg I personally enjoyed the Robert Fagle translation


Shelley As someone once said: the morning newspaper is sometimes old; but Homer is always new.


Shelley
Rain: A Dust Bowl Story
http://dustbowlpoetry.wordpress.com


Brunhilde Shelley wrote: "As someone once said: the morning newspaper is sometimes old; but Homer is always new.


Shelley
Rain: A Dust Bowl Story
http://dustbowlpoetry.wordpress.com"


that is so true. I try to reread the Iliad every couple of years and it is still amazing, fresh, and applicable to my life.


Michael Brady I read others in school, but Fagles Iliad and Odyssey are a prized gift from my daughter.


message 28: by CD (new) - rated it 2 stars

CD There was a 'Homerathon' recently at Illinois Wesleyan University:

http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/...

For a prose version I'd go with Rouse. For the spirit and intent of the epic poem in an English translation, Lattimore is probably the best that is easily available.


message 29: by Cam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cam Mannino I vote for Fagles. I gave up on the stiff feeling of Lattimore's translation more than once in my life and finally got to Fagle's - and the images he was able to create are still with me, especially the description of Penelope's home - the covered porch with sleeping chairs covered with skins, the spilled wine and the distant sound of the loom. Definitely Fagles for me. After my husband and I read the book aloud to each other (I recommend that too!) I also got to hear Fagles read a selection in Greek from the Odyssey at the Stratford Festival in Canada. What a treat to close my eyes and imagine myself sitting by an ancient fire, listening to Homer!


message 30: by Iain (new) - rated it 5 stars

Iain Coggins Rolando wrote: "I've read (and loved) the Robert Fitzgerald translation. His Iliad and Odyssey are truly wonderful, vibrant works of poetry."

I most certainly agree. Fagles new translation is very good, but somehow lacks the ring of Fitzgerald's English prose. I know many will disagree with me.


message 31: by Sara (last edited Apr 05, 2012 05:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara Iain wrote: "
I most certainly agree. Fagles new translation is very good, but somehow lacks the ring of Fitzgerald's English prose. I know many will disagree with me."


I've read Fagles and loved it, but never got around to the Fitzgerald translation. This might just be the impetus for me to pick that one up.

Did he do The Iliad and The Aeneid as well?


message 32: by Mary (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mary I've read it in Greek or to be more accurate I was taught Odyssey in school two years ago.It was one of my favourite subjects along with Iliad!


message 33: by Wendilyn (new) - added it

Wendilyn Emrys I have always liked the Lattimore the best, but then I read that at Uni. However, I like Robert Graves' Iliad too, and I wish he had done a version of the Odyssey. Folks might want to check this out -- https://records.viu.ca/~johnstoi/home...


message 34: by Ben (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ben Hundley Mark wrote: "I loved the Fagles Iliad and Odyssey, and preferred his Odyssey to Fitzgerald. Also fantastic is Fagles' versions read on CD by Derek Jacobi (Iliad) and Ian McEllan (Odyssey). The Iliad CD is mar..."

Fagles all the way!


Darkphoenix I loved the translations by Samuel Butler. He wrote in prose and i liked that he maintained the archaic nature of the story. Also his translations make the Gods truly grand.. I also review another translation of The Odyssey, you can check that out here:

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 36: by Kerry (last edited Sep 23, 2012 07:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kerry Mark wrote: "I loved the Fagles Iliad and Odyssey, and preferred his Odyssey to Fitzgerald. Also fantastic is Fagles' versions read on CD by Derek Jacobi (Iliad) and Ian McEllan (Odyssey). The Iliad CD is mar..."

Ian McEllan is awesome reader of Fagles Odyssey. Iliad and Odyssey were stories written down from an oral tradition. The stories were meant to be spoken and performed. When listening to Ian, I sometimes would think I was hearing Gandalph, for better or worse.


message 37: by Cam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cam Mannino Ben wrote: "Mark wrote: "I loved the Fagles Iliad and Odyssey, and preferred his Odyssey to Fitzgerald. Also fantastic is Fagles' versions read on CD by Derek Jacobi (Iliad) and Ian McEllan (Odyssey). The Il..."

Thanks so much for making me aware of this! I'd never even thought of looking for CD's, for some reason, and these voices sound perfectly matched to Fagles' amazing translations.


message 38: by Vivi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vivi Right now I´m taking a course on Greek Mythology and the Fagles translation was the recommended, and I truly enjoyed it! I thought it was going to be soooo hard to read it, but I just enjoyed it through and through! One of the best books I´ve read so far this year!


Brunhilde I have read the Iliad and the Odyssey many times. And they do get better each read. You see more, you understand more. That is a huge part of what makes it a classic. It is timeless in its ideas and truth never changes.
I am amazed at how at the older I get the more I can identify with these books even though they are thousands of years old, mythology, and about war.


message 40: by Gary (new) - added it

Gary Patella I read the Richmond Lattimore translation, and I really enjoyed it. I must admit that when reading a verse translation, the first 30 pages or so might be a struggle. But then the brain seems to adapt, and you start to read as if it were normal prose.

I read this for a Classics course in my early college years, and this was the translation recommended by all of the professors of the Classics department. So I assume that it must be one of the better ones.


Michael Stanley Lombardo's recent translation was great, I thought. Some find it too casual, too much in the vernacular, but I felt that may have kept it close to the Greek as heard back in the original days. It is very easy reading. I read the Fitzgerald translation in college, and still have it, and when I compared a couple passages with Lombardo, I preferred the Lombardo in each case. I've also heard that Lombardo's reading on CD is excellent, but I have not heard any of it. He might even do a little drumming as he reads, IIRC.


Shelley I didn't know that Pauline Kael refers to classical Greek literature in one of her old movie reviews. I was struck by her comment. What she says is that what we find in classical Greek literature, we find nowhere else.

Shelley, Rain: A Dust Bowl Story
http://dustbowlpoetry.wordpress.com


message 43: by Kathy (new) - added it

Kathy Michael wrote: "Stanley Lombardo's recent translation was great, I thought. Some find it too casual, too much in the vernacular, but I felt that may have kept it close to the Greek as heard back in the original d..."
I opted to listen to his CDs when we read this together (oral tradition and all), and found them to be wonderful. He has a rich, deep voice and reads very well. And, yes, there is the sound of drumming and waves against a boat between each book. :)


Marco3x Fagles the best by far. Read two others over the years.


message 45: by Ashley (new)

Ashley I am currently reading the W.H.D Rouse translation, and I am utterly confused. It doesn't flow very well, and it's not allowing you to acknowledge what's a flashback, and what's "current" but in reality it itself is a flashback. I absolutely love Greek mythology but I can not understand W.H.D Rouse translation.


Marco3x I read WHD Rouse years ago. If you go to the Amazon site a reviewer presents the first stanza from about six translations. Check that out and you can see why the translation by Rouse doesn't rank with Fagles' translation.


Roger Klingman I prefer Fagles but lately I've been reading Lombardo's translation and find myself warming to it.


Toutoula Being Greek, I read it in ancient greek. Even in modern greek it looses some of its magic, so I feel really lucky I could read and understand the original...


message 49: by Ben (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ben Hundley I voted for Fagles a few months ago, but I've got to say, the newest translation by Stephen Mitchell looks quite impressive as well! It's reading very smoothly so far. I will let you all know how it goes.


Benjamin Kerstein I think the literal translations are preferable. Verse translations have to sacrifice accuracy for lyricism. Some of them are brilliant in their own right, but I think accuracy is better with such an iconic work.


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Odyssey (other topics)
The Odyssey (other topics)
The Iliad (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Robert Fagles (other topics)
Simon Armitage (other topics)