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124 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for being unique and comfortable in its own skin.
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,...
Published on October 29, 2000 by ingrid888

versus
125 of 147 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A different opinion of Lombardo
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...
Published on March 23, 2005 by Christopher H. Hodgkin


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124 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for being unique and comfortable in its own skin., October 29, 2000
By 
This review is from: Odyssey (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. They are real, unabridged translations. Serious translations, and though they are relatively new they seem to occupy a unique position in the gallery of English translations of Homer. They are worth aquiring for their uniqueness alone if you have the usual abiding interest and curiosity in new translations of Homer that most people develope who are drawn to these two epic poems.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good translation, November 12, 2001
By 
Nicole Alger "imanoonle" (Belmont, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Odyssey (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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125 of 147 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A different opinion of Lombardo, March 23, 2005
By 
Christopher H. Hodgkin "chodgkin" (Friday Harbor, Wa United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Odyssey (Paperback)
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.

This sort of very casual, very colloquial, almost street language permeates the translation. Yes, it is very easy to read. Lacking nuance, it is very easy to understand. I suppose that has some virtues. But it isn't what or how Homer wrote. It is the McHomer version, simple, easy to digest, but with minimal nourishment, little richness of language.

I get no sense that this is a tale of gods and heros -- it sounds more like Nancy Drew and her pals off on the Mystery of the Lost Mariner.

It has the benefit for this age of being a very quick and easy read. Maybe that's sufficient virtue for some to award it five stars. But as a fair representation of the story Homer told in the language he told it, go for Lattimore, or Fitzgerald, or if you must Fagles, and leave Lombardo to those readers who don't want to be challenged to think.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open Your Heart to the Classics!, May 9, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Odyssey (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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If it can help 8th graders, it can help anyone!, June 17, 2007
By 
G.G. (Millington, TN) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Odyssey (Audio CD)
I purchased this to accompany the class set of "The Odyssey" for my 8th grade Reading students. I thought the reading was excellent, and my students loved hearing it aloud, as it is meant to be enjoyed. It helped their comprehension immensely-they rarely had questions when listening, while they asked numerous questions when trying to read alone. There are a few places where the book and the cd do not match exactly, but it's never more than one word at a time. The introductions are, however, often not quite accurate-the information is not always with the proper chapter. The information is correct, just misplaced.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eminently readable and true to the original text, February 8, 2006
By 
J. Oreilly (New Haven, CT) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Odyssey (Paperback)
Lombardo's translation of the Odyssey, as well as his Iliad and Aeneid, receive much-deserved kudos as the most readable translations available. He writes with poetic and colloquial English that makes it easy for the lay person to understand.

Unfortunately, many of these same lay readers bash Lombardo's translations because they assume the personable nature of the writing makes it inaccurate. People expect a classic to have a certain formal diction to it, in the vein of Shakespeare and the King James Bible. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The King James Bible, despite having the most formal prose, is certainly not the most accurate translation of the Bible. Similarly, verbose translations of Homer do not mean it is more true to the text. Lombardo's version of the Odyssey preserves the immediacy and hard hitting nature of Homer's original Greek poetry. You will notice in other reviews that readers disapprove based on what they imagine Homer should sound like. Trust me, they haven't read the original texts. Classical scholars, some of whom I personally work with, have given universally excellent reviews to Lombardo's translations. This translation proves you can have your cake and eat it too. It is highly recommended.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Home sweet home, December 6, 2002
By 
Ray Farmer (Concord, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Odyssey (Paperback)
I became familiar with Stanley Lombardo's work after reading his translation of the Iliad, so when I saw that he also had a translation of the Odyssey available, I eagerly went out and bought a copy. As in his Iliad translation, one encounters the same trademark modern-day colloquial style that, depending on the type of person you are, you will either enjoy or hate. I happen to love it, and I also applaud the choice of cover design for the book, since it suggests not only the nature of the story, but of the translation as well.
Whereas Lombardo's Iliad was full of adrenaline and very energetic, I thought that his version of the Odyssey was definitely more calm and introspective, focusing on Odysseus' personal anguish and quest for retribution. It was easier for me to identify with the world of ordinary humans (and their feelings) described in the Odyssey, than with the world of godlike men and mindless warfare and violence described in the wide-ranging Iliad. For this and other reasons, I consider the Odyssey to be the superior work. As in his previous translation of the Iliad, Lombardo drops the use of dactylic hexameter in the present work and treats the use of similes and epithets in a special manner - all in an effort to minimize the problems encountered in translating from the original Greek to English.
It has already been suggested that Lombardo's translation would be an excellent starting point for both the Iliad and the Odyssey, and I wholeheartedly agree. His translations may not be the only versions you'll want to have on your bookshelf, but they would definitely be ones to have in your collection.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars many unique virtues, and surprisingly poetic, October 12, 2004
This review is from: Odyssey (Paperback)
From a Homer reader who has read Pope and Chapman and a half dozen or so of the various 19th and 20th century translations I state unequivocally that Lombardo's translation of Homer's Odyssey (and Iliad for that matter) is in a category to itself. I state this, by the way, not as a revelation of how a simple translation can open up this epic, but as a revelation of how specifically Lombardo's simple translation has opened up this great epic. There are many virtues in this translation (one being that, despite the colloquialness and simplicity (or street level) of approach, it is really very 'sneaky poetic' in ways that suprise, such as descriptions of beauty and strength and high emotion and understanding and nature that one comes across so often in Homer's epics); a cenral virtue of Lombardo though is he is able to describe and carry the actual story of the poem in a really actually revelatory way (when other reviewers mention 'screenplay' or well-crafted genre type novel it is very much on-the-mark). This comes across more strikingly in his Iliad translation (simply because the Odyssey is more novel-like to begin with), but also in the Odyssey as well. I would even go so far as to say that if you were to make a list of three great English translations of Homer, representing ascending levels of difficulty and poetry, I would choose: Level 1 - Lombardo; Level 2: Pope; Level 3 - Chapman. One final note: Lombardo apparently spent many years reciting Homer for live audiences, and I suspect, speaking with just a 'little' poetic license, that the Muse might have been attendant upon him in his efforts to translate as a reward for his dedication.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Originality of Homer's epic recovered, February 24, 2006
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This review is from: Odyssey (Paperback)
Stanley Lombardo's translation has brought back the original "feel" of the ancient Greek epic. Classical and Koine Greek are both what you call "earthy" languages, a tone lost with many established and contemporary translations. Lombardo restores the drama and the linguistic edge that the epic poem possessed in its original tongue. The Lombardo translation is quickly becoming standard among university professors and students of classical literature.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy, or maybe superior successor., June 11, 2001
By 
Timothy Dougal (Joliet, IL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Odyssey (Paperback)
Like Lombardo's translation of the Iliad, the Odyssey is a pleasure to read. The characters jump out and the plot moves at a good clip. I frequently have the feeling that the Odyssey was actually written in English as Lombardo has translated it, received directly from the Muses. All I can do is thank him for giving me Homer!
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Odyssey
Odyssey by Homer (Paperback - Mar. 2000)
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