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Homer's Daughter Paperback – August 30, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Academy Chicago Publishers (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897330595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897330596
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,166,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A great imagination and above all a powerful intellect Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

6 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

More About the Author

ROBERT GRAVES (1895-1985) was an English poet, translator, and novelist, one of the leading English men of letters in the twentieth century. He fought in World War I and won international acclaim in 1929 with the publication of his memoir of the First World War, Good-bye to All That. After the war, he was granted a classical scholarship at Oxford and subsequently went to Egypt as the first professor of English at the University of Cairo. He is most noted for his series of novels about the Roman emperor Claudius and his works on mythology, such as The White Goddess.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Stuart W. Mirsky on March 22, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Robert Graves, poet, novelist and scholar of things Greek, here explores the possibility that The Odyssey, successor to Homer's Illiad, was written by a princess of mixed Greek and other ancestry in a Greek-Trojan settlement in ancient Sicily some time after the Trojan War. Using internal evidence which suggests female authorship and a relationship of the terrain described to areas in the western Mediterranean, Graves speculates that the true author told her own story, possibly a true one, buried within the Homeric epic which has been handed down to us via the ancient Greeks. To get it included among the Homeric canon this young, energetic and extremely intelligent woman manages to get the tale incorporated into the body of Homeric songs through the auspices of a member of the Homeric guild. But, scholarly speculation aside, this is basically a tale of adventure and intrigue as it recounts the events surrounding the siege of a king's household by rebellious nobles using a suit for his young daughter's hand as an excuse to undermine and destroy her father's rule. The princess, clever and indomitable by turns, first investigates the mystery of her elder brother's disappearance and then organizes a shrewd counterplot, reminiscent of Odysseus' triumphal and bloody return to Ithaca, to reclaim her father's holdings and the honor of his house. A bit slow and ponderous in the beginning, and somewhat too scholarly, it nevertheless comes sharply to life in the second half of the book as the plot to undo the suitors' predations hurtles toward its bloody resolution. A good tale and worth the read, though it's not quite as compelling or erudite as Graves' other work in this vein: Hercules, My Shipmate -- a tale of Jason and his Argonauts on the quest for the Golden Fleece. -- Stuart W. Mirsky author of The King of Vinland's Saga
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Inna Goldenberg on January 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Robert Graves had a great idea: he wanted to elaborate on the idea that "The Odyssey" was written by a woman and that the woman-author was one of the characters in the epic poem. Since the only virtuous human women in the poem are Penelope and Nausicaa, Robert Graves concluded that Nausicaa is a good candidate to be the poet.
The idea itself is quite brilliant. "The Odyssey" has always been called a "women's" epic because except for Odysseus, all other important leading characters are women and the story focuses more on domestic life than on war-like exploits. Thus, imagining Nausicaa as the epic's author is not so outlandish.
That said, "Homer's Daughter" the novel is hugely disappointing. One of the major reasons why it failed to impress me is that the tone of the novel was very impersonal. I was always aware that Robert Graves was telling the story instead of the proper narrator -- Nausicaa. Speaking of Nausicaa, she is extremely unappealing. She seems to be very intelligent and clear-headed but so cold and closed-off that I could not care less about her. All the personal stories failed to impress me because either they were almost cartoonish, like Laodamas and Ctlimene, or plain boring, like Nausicaa and Aethon. The meeting between Odysseus and Nausicaa in "The Odyssey" is one of the best parts in the epic. Especially, when Odysseus says to Nausicaa that best of all, he wishes that she would know harmony in marriage. The meeting between Nausicaa and Aethon in "Homer's Daughter", patterned after Odysseus' and Nausicaa's in "The Odyssey, cannot compare.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Calliope on August 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Homer's Daughter" does not compare favorably to "I, Claudius"--Graves does not write a woman's voice convicingly. Still, the idea behind this novel is an interesting one. I can well believe after reading it that the "Odyssey" could have been written by a woman. The main character, Nausicaa, is likeable and spirited.

As an "Odyssey" fan, it was a lot of fun seeing how Graves set up the story as parallel to "The Odyssey"--the sort of situation that could have inspired it. The setting, in actual historic Greece/Mediteranean, not a mythical setting, was well-drawn and interesting. I would recommend this novel as a thought-provoking read for someone who is well-familiar with "The Odyssey".
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mjare on March 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
In his relatively short novel author presents very interesting approach to the ''Homeric problem''. But in my opinion Homer was an author of both greatest works in the literature.
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3 of 20 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
I suppose I 'enjoyed' this book in the same weary way I 'enjoyed' the same author's Wife To Mr Milton, which is also narrated in a female persona. The ever-so-clever wheeze here is to suppose that the Odyssey was indited not by Homer, nor even by another Greek of the same name, but by the Princess Nausicaa, a memorable character in it, largely for her peculiar-looking name. The Princess is not on such firm ground as Mrs Milton, whose husband definitely was one person who definitely wrote Paradise Lost and other noble works. When I was last up-to-date with Homeric scholarship (thirty-odd years ago), the English-speaking scholars had at last been converted to the view that the Homeric epics were a cumulative effort of a whole tradition of illiterate bards. This view found a shrill but entertaining and very readable proponent in Denys Page, Professor of Greek at Cambridge, whose The Homeric Odyssey is in fact a far better read than this book, even if you don't know Greek. Page even has no great opinion of the Odyssey as a poem, a very tenable view I would say.

So Graves's princess is a fraud of the worst order, a pale shadow of the 'dim phantom' who visits Penelope in Book IV. She is not purporting to be anybody in particular, but a whole lot of people. Her/their poem sucks anyway. And -- wait for this -- she does not even know what her own name means! She thinks it is something to do with BURNING ships! Can you imagine a people as superstitious as the ancient Greeks having the princess of an island that got its living from the sea called 'Burner of Ships'? The derivation of the name is from the root 'kas' with the 's' lost between vowels in the usual Greek way, and that root signifies 'excellence', which you must admit makes a lot more sense.
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