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Odyssey [Paperback]

by Homer, Stanley Lombardo
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 2000 0872204847 978-0872204843 New Ed
Lombardo's Odyssey offers the distinctive speed, clarity, and boldness that so distinguished his 1997 Iliad. From the translation:

"And when the wine had begun to work on his mind,

I spoke these sweet words to him:

'Cyclops

You ask me my name, my glorious name,

And I will tell it to you. Remember now,

To give me the gift just as you promised.

Noman is my name. They call me Noman-

My mother, my father, and all my friends too.'

He answered from his pitiless heart:

'Noman I will eat last after his friends.

Friends first, him last. That's my gift to you.'"


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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.

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: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
115 of 119 people found the following review helpful
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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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good translation 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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113 of 134 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A different opinion of Lombardo 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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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open Your Heart to the Classics! May 9, 2001
By A Customer
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a teenager wrote it trying to use hip cool language
This is the worst type of translation. It's similar to attempts at rewriting Shakespeare in ebonics. It's like Miley Cyrus catterwalling in Italian and calling it a Mozart opera. Read more
Published 1 month ago by K.
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless classic, brought to modern language
Great translation, very readable. After finishing the Illiad, translation also by Stanley Lombardo, I had high expectations, and was not disappointed.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good quality
Bought this book for an undergrad class and I very much enjoyed my nightly readings. It was great to read such a classic.
Published 4 months ago by Alyssa
4.0 out of 5 stars Odyssey great book for school class rooms
This book was ordered for a friend's daughter for her English class. I had an extra Kindle and let her borrow it.
Published 5 months ago by George R. Kilgore
3.0 out of 5 stars Adequate Translation, Nothing Fancy
I had to buy this translation for class, and it was an easy and quick read, but I preferred the grander, more affected language of the Barnes and Noble Classics edition, honestly. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Becky
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Classic
I enjoyed reading this epic poem, especially this version. It was easy to read as each sentence flowed together beautifully compared to other translations. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Bryana
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Listening to this audio recording of the Odyssey made the task of absorbing this classic far easier than reading it would have been. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Peter L. Cohen
4.0 out of 5 stars Great translation
This edition of the Odyssey was a required text read for a World Literature class. I struggled through an unabridged version years ago. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Anita Hope Bata
5.0 out of 5 stars A great translation of a great book
The Odyssey is the basis of so many modern stories. This version was used in my daughter's literature class and she enjoyed it very much.
Published 8 months ago by Randee Baty
4.0 out of 5 stars This Edition is Essential
This text was first up on the reading list for my Classical Backgrounds in English Literature course. I had no idea what to expect and came out of the reading experience delighted. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Miss Riki
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