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Odyssey Paperback – March 1, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0872204843 ISBN-10: 0872204847 Edition: New Ed

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 414 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Co.; New Ed edition (March 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872204847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872204843
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"'This is wonderful, to listen to a singer / Such as this. . . ' So Odysseus on the bard Demodocus. And the singer, the oral poet, the 'aoidos', is what Lombardo embodies in his Homer. With a line and a language hammered out 'in public performance,' he has made a verse that can move his audience to tears and even to laughter. At first glance, the simplicity startles - spare syntax, the highest proportion of short word in modern English poetry, colloquialism in the saddle, sudden and direct contact with the matter. But then the wonders of how he works become evident. So much was already to be seen/heard in Lombardo's version of the Iliad [Hackett, 1997]. But his Odyssey [Hackett, 2000] moves beyond, its verse widening its range to everything in between tears and laughter, able to present a storm, a battle, a chiding, a fable, a tale, and a whine with equal deftness. No version of the Odyssey is more immediate. No version shows better one of Homer's essentials: the oral poet at work. The persona is there, and it's real." -- Douglass Parker

"'What could be finer / Than listening to a singer of tales / . . . with a voice like a god's?' So Odysseus on the bard Demodocus. And the singer, the oral poet, the 'aoidos', is what Lombardo embodies in his Homer. With a line and a language hammered out in public performance, he has made a verse that can move his audience to tears and even to laughter. At first glance, the simplicity startles-spare syntax, the highest proportion of short words in modern English poetry, colloquialism in the saddle, sudden and direct contact with the matter. But then the wonders of how he works become evident. So much was already to be seen/heard in Lombardo's version of the Iliad. But his Odyssey moves beyond, its verse widening its range to everything in between tears and laughter, able to present a storm, a battle, a chiding, a fable, a tale, and a whine with equal deftness. No version of the Odyssey is more immediate. No version shows better one of Homer's essentials: the oral poet at work. The persona is there, and it's real." -- Douglass Parker, University of Texas at Austin

"Lombardo has created a Homeric voice for his contemporaries: fresh, quick, and verbally engaging to the modern ear, as the original was to the ancient. His characters come alive as real people expressing real feelings with urgency and verve. I very much like the language and the pace of this version, and would welcome it for classroom use." -- Joseph Russo, Haverford College

"Lombardo has the simple gift of summoning up a Homeric flavor wherever he turns. He may even blend contemporary colloquialisms with an antique epic grandeur, and the effect remains unimpaired. As Lombardo tells us, he recites and performs, he impersonates the poem as if he were the bard. We follow, we explore, plunging into 'medias res'. Homer arises before him as an encompassing reality. Lombardo moves at ease through this Homeric world, without artifice or rhetoric, attuning his verse to Homer's composition. Homer is here a vindication of poetry." -- Paolo Vivante, McGill University

He has brought his laconic wit and love of the ribald, as well as his clever use of idiomatic American slang, to his version of the Odyssey. --The New York Times Book Review, Chris Hedges

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Homer was probably born around 725BC on the Coast of Asia Minor, now the coast of Turkey, but then really a part of Greece. Homer was the first Greek writer whose work survives.

He was one of a long line of bards, or poets, who worked in the oral tradition. Homer and other bards of the time could recite, or chant, long epic poems.

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Customer Reviews

Like Lombardo's translation of the Iliad, the Odyssey is a pleasure to read.
Timothy Dougal
He writes with poetic and colloquial English that makes it easy for the lay person to understand.
J. Oreilly
Bought this book for an undergrad class and I very much enjoyed my nightly readings.
Alyssa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

119 of 123 people found the following review helpful By ingrid888 on October 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Most everybody knows about the Odyssey of Homer (the story and all that), so this review is about this particular translation by Stanley Lombardo. You have the classic English verse translations (Chapman, Pope, Cowper) and the classic prose translations (Butcher and Lang, Palmer), then you have the twentieth century crowd (Lattimore, Fitzgerald, Mandelbaum, Fagles, Rieu, Rouse, Shewring etc...) Some of these are verse and some prose, some literal and some poetic. Some are easy to read and some more difficult. Lombardo's translation of the Iliad and the Odyssey are somewhat unusual in that they are both verse and very clear and easy to read. Very much modern-day speech. Not that Fagles or Fitzgerald or Mandelbaum, for instance, (all verse translations) are difficult to read, but Lombardo's verse translation is really in a different category. His translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey sort of stand alone in their simple style and may be worth reading for that reason alone. I think also there is an unselfconsciousness in Lombardo's effort - and attitude - as well as a "very well then hang me, devils" confidence that comes through. Fresh, quick, engaging, spare, alive (typical words used by professional/academic reviewers for this translation...) An interesting touch by Lombardo is whenever Homer goes into one of his celebrated similes or metaphors Lombardo puts them into italics and sets them apart in the text. There are more of these in the Iliad than the Odyssey, but it is interesting to read them separate this way. He uses very much 'man on the street' expressions, and his verse reads very quickly, or, 'lightly' like a clear stream flowing easily over stones. I don't want to give the impression these are simplified versions of Homer's epics.Read more ›
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Nicole Alger VINE VOICE on November 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
This quarter, I decided to focus on Homer. I took two classes concentrating on him, one where we read the Greek text of the Odyssey, and the other where we read both the Iliad and the Odyssey. I was a little sceptic about the Lombardo translation to begin with, especially because I already owned the Lattimore translations. After reading Lombardo, though, I realize how great a translator he is compared to Lattimore. Lattimore gives a more direct translation, but his choice of words conveys the "classic" portion of Homer a bit too well. Lombardo, on the other had, uses colloquial speech when translating. Usually, that is not a great quality, but it seriously works with the Odyssey. Both Homeric epic poems are orally composed, and Lombardo's translation conveys the casualness of the words. The Odyssey shouldn't be considered an old archaic boring text, because it isn't... I feel that Lombardo is a great translator and should be used more in high school readings of Homer and for first time readers of these texts.
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118 of 140 people found the following review helpful By Christopher H. Hodgkin on March 23, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read carefully all the glowing reviews of the Lombardo translations by other Amazon reviewers. My view of his translations is quite different from theirs.

They focus, accurately, on the colloquial nature of the translation. But in my view, it is too colloquial. It is not quite a Classic Comics version of Homer, but it's not far off from that.

Consider several passages taken from Book 13, where Odysseus has just landed on Ithaka but doesn't know where he is, and Athena appears to him, first in the disguise of a young man of princely features. Odysseus, being Odysseus, doesn't tell Athena (who he doesn't know is Athena) the truth about his voyage, but makes up a wild story. In part, he says, according to Lombardo:

And we were driven here in the middle of the night

And rowed like hell into the harbor. Didn't even

Think of chow, though we sure could have used some.

Now it's been a while since I was able to read the Odyssey in the original Greek, but the Greek Homer used wasn't nearly this informal, this casual. Rowed like hell? chow? This is not, from my recollection of the original, the kind of language that the bard Homer put into the mouth of the hero Odysseus.

Then look at Athena--who knows perfectly well that he lied to her about the voyage--a few lines later:

Only a master thief, a real con artist,

Could match your tricks--even a god

Might come up short. You wily bastard,

You cunning, elusive, habitual liar!

Would Homer, writing in roughly 750 AD when the gods were still feared and worshipped and honored, really put this sort of languge into the mouth of a goddess? con artist? wily bastard? This isn't the nature of the language Homer used.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am new to reading the whole Odyssey. In school I read passages and sections, but I have to confess it left me with no desire to pick this up and read it! This edition sets you on your ear. It reads like a screenplay, it moves, you cry, you laugh, you FEEL this story as I am sure it is meant to be. Thank you so much Mr. Lombardo!!!!!!!! I am reading the Iliad next, and now that I feel the story in my heart, I am ready to tackle some of the more complex versions. There is nothing unsatisfying about this edition. I hope that potential readers won't feel as though this is simplified or dumbed down. Not at all. I read Austen, Scott and Conrad with ease, but tackling the Odyssey left me cold. Don't miss out on this beautifully rendered version.
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