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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fitzgerald's Odyssey: accurate, readable, fantastic.
Most translations of the Odyssey suffer from stilted English, Victorian hang-overs, and weak attempts to bring the Greek verse into English. I struggled with the original in high school and never appreciated the dactylic hexameter at the time. But Fitzgerald makes the epic come alive in energetic images that work as vivid English. His translation is more accurate than...
Published on June 27, 1997

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good text, no illustrations as described
This is a review of the Everyman's Library Cloth edition of The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald, ISBN-10: 0679410473. I am not reviewing the actual work of The Odyssey, as it is a classic and Homer does not need my review, but I am reviewing the Everyman's Library edition of the work. The cloth hardcover, sewn binding, ribbon, and text layout is nice...
Published 3 months ago by literategrass


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fitzgerald's Odyssey: accurate, readable, fantastic., June 27, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: The Odyssey (Everyman's Library (Cloth)) (Hardcover)
Most translations of the Odyssey suffer from stilted English, Victorian hang-overs, and weak attempts to bring the Greek verse into English. I struggled with the original in high school and never appreciated the dactylic hexameter at the time. But Fitzgerald makes the epic come alive in energetic images that work as vivid English. His translation is more accurate than others: his text reads much closer to the original word-to-word, but even more importantly in spirit and feeling. Homer comes through, the lament of the lonely, the lost, yearning for home, struggling to overcome every obstacle. This is a universal story, timeless, intense, entertaining, fantastic
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Story-Telling Tradition, May 11, 2010
By 
Jiang Xueqin (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Odyssey (Everyman's Library (Cloth)) (Hardcover)
It is clear from reading "The Aeneid" that there is one author: there's a unity and a consistency throughout. It is clear from reading "The Bible" that there are many authors: there's conflict and contradictions throughout. It's not clear whether "The Odyssey" has one or many authors, but it's clear that it comes from a Greek oral tradition. That's because there are stand-alone stories throughout, two major strands (the travails of Odysseus in seeking home and the journeys of his son Telemakhos in seeking news of Odysseus) that come together in a seemingly redacted ending. "The Odyssey" is about the power of story-telling, as exemplified by the hero Odysseus, who the Greek bards must have thought their patron saint and that's why they rhapsodized him so. When Alkinoos gives treasures to Odysseus and a ship to send him home, it seems these gifts are less the will of the Gods or even the acknowledgement of a legendary warrior but simply because Odysseus was able to tell such great stories.

It is probably with "The Odyssey" more than the Sophists in mind that Plato wrote that all art was artifice. Odysseus dissembles throughout through the power of his words to distort reality. He somehow transforms from a liar of necessity (as when he lies to escape the clutches of the Kyklops) to a liar of circumstance (as when he deceives his servants, his son, and his wife in order to plan the killing of his enemies) to a liar of compulsion (as when he lies even to his frail father). Modern psychology would suggest that at the root of Odysseus' compulsive lying are trust issues.

But character in the eyes of the ancient Greeks is much different from our conception of character. There is no agency, no identity, and no individual per se in the Odyssey. We are nothing more than the plaything of the Gods, and what the Gods hate most (pride in man) Odyssey and his family lack and what the Gods appearance most (forbearance) Odyssey and his family have. Odysseus and Penelope can be forgiven for their dissemblance and deviousness because they are patient and know humility and forbearance. Even though the Gods send Odysseus adrift for ten years away from his family he neither cursed nor complained; he simply accepted his fate. When Odysseus re-appeared in his homeland of Ithaka it was as a beggar who must suffer the insults and beatings of Penelope's suitors, and when it was only when the Goddess Athena, who had scripted the Odyssey all alone, could see that Odysseus knew humility and forbearance that she permitted him to kill those who did not.

There are many contradictions and questions in "The Odyssey," and the major contradiction and question is one inherent in the story-telling tradition: one of veracity and reliability. Most of "The Odyssey" is in fact dialogue and story-telling; Odysseus renders his voyages as stories to be told in different versions to different people. There is instability in "The Odyssey" which reflects the mutability of Odysseus, and so "The Odyssey" represents both the triumph and the limitations of epic story-telling.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly inspired by the Muses, June 5, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: The Odyssey (Everyman's Library (Cloth)) (Hardcover)
Magnificent! A wonderful and beautiful translation of Homer's epic into English. I read this for my undergraduate study in classical literature and now I look forward to reading Fitzgerald's translation of the Iliad. I highly recommend this as one of the best. Truly, Fitzgerald was inspired by the Muses when he translated this timeless work
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "This is the story of a man who was never at a loss.", March 10, 2005
By 
Octavius (United States) - See all my reviews
"The Odyssey", as with other Greek poetry, was poetry intended to be recited orally as opposed to being read. Fitzgerald's backgroung in poetry brings out the lyrical passion of the Odyssey so prized by the Greeks as no other translation has done.

The sequel to "The Iliad", it represents the last phase of what is known as Greece's Heroic Age in which human events are governed by gods, demi-gods, and heroes. The mortal heroes are endowed with godlike gifts and are mostly tragic. They interact with emissaries from the gods who aid them to their destinies and forewarn them of the fates. Tales such as Jason and the Argonauts, the labors of Hercules, Perseus, Thesseus, etc., are also of that period. The uncertainties in Fate, glory, and mortality are always the dominant themes in these tales. The setting of "The Odyssey" is c. 1200 B.C. at the close of the Bronze Age. The Greeks are actually Myceneans, a Greek-speaking group that dominated Greece prior to the Doric invasions several centuries later. The story poetically recites a time of Myceanean geopolitical expansion across the Mediterranean and its coasts and encounters with hitherto unknown civilizations after the fall of legendary Troy.

"The Odyssey" starts many years after the Trojan war where, after many ordeals, Odysseus is reciting his travels to Princess Nausica: the young heiress of a kingdom upon which Odysseus washed ashore after being shipwrecked. He recites his departure from Troy after its sacking and how, having angered Poseidon, the god of the sea, he has been condemned to wander across the Mediterranean away from his wife and son, Penelope and Telemachus. Odysseus goes on to recite his encounters with various peoples and mythical beasts during his travels such as the lotus eaters, the sirens, the cyclopse, Scylla and Charibdis, etc. Odysseus is also held captive by powerful demi-godesses and witches such as Calypso and Circe. In Odysseus' absence, Penelope is constantly courted by unwelcome suitors who are wasting her estate. Now a young man and fed up with the suitors, Telemachus travels to mainland Greece to inquire about his father. Odysseus eventually returns to his home of Ithaca to reunite with his family and to dispose of the suitors.

There have been many disputes as to whether "The Odyssey" was really written by Homer and there's substantial evidence that it was not. Many scholars believe that a good portion of the Odyssey was written by a woman: probably a princess named Nausica whose court was in the Greek colony of Syracuse in Sicily and who cleverly inserted herself into the story. There's probably truth to that conclusion as the book is, first of all, a novel as opposed to a epic poetic recital such as "The Iliad" in which there is really no 1st person narrative. The main characters are also primarily women. The narrative seems to have a keen understanding of the female gender in terms of expectations, emotions, and behavior whereas the men are mostly faceless caricatures. This is completely inapposite to Homer's "Iliad" where the development of the male characters is rich and complex in contrast to those of women who are stereotypical representations without much depth (e.g. the women weep, moan, and are continuously reminded that their place is either in the bed or at the loom.) If one follows "The Odyssey" carefully, they will notice a distinct change in narrative style every time scenes are illustrated with nature or in various scenes involving the Gods which are very similar to the narrative style of "The Iliad." Another indication that Homer was not the main writer is that, unlike "The Iliad", the writer has no clue as to ships, navigation, or wind patterns.

Regardless of its true authorship, "The Odyssey" has been hailed as a literary jewel for the past 2900 years and there's a reason for it: it's a timeless look into the human condition as recited by a poet of immense talent. Although the characters may have lived over 3000 years ago, the epic drama has much relevance for humanity today. Fitzgerald provides a good translation that isn't weighed down as earlier ones with your "thys", "thees", "shalts", "doths", etc. Although some his word choices can be awkward such as 'wily-nily' and such, his translation is more fluid than those of many other writers and allows the reader to appreciate the meter much more without it being weighed down or diluted with either archaic or overly modern English. So enjoy this masterpiece of literature in one of the best translations available to date: your money will be well spent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tale For The Ages., January 16, 1999
By A Customer
Homer's Odyssey, as translated by Robert Fitzgerald is a spiritually moving piece of literature. Through the translation of this old Greek text -- the fire that has burned within man -- the insipiration to create stories, of light and darkness, and to profess the truths of mankind has broken down the distances of time and space, to bring our distant peoples who speak a foriegn tongue the gift of this powerful expression of humanity! The tale of one man pitted against the curling waves of the sea, and tossed around by the will of the gods -- is more than some archaic ramblings of more acient poets, but the tale of all men, and thier families, and war, and religion, and all that is above the heavens, and all that is below, in one epic poem, attoned to the rythem of the soul, that will guide any readers heart on the journey of understanging.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Story that Truly Deserves the Title "Classic", August 6, 1998
By A Customer
This epic tale proves that the best stories and the most perilous adventures know no time period. "The Odyssey" is as compelling today as it was when it was written. Many of the adventures from Odysseus' journey have become stories all their own (the Cyclops, the Sirens, etc.) Fitzgerald's translation of this poem is masterful. He makes it easy to read but takes none of the magic away from Homer's spellbinding words. Children today who love action and adventure in books and in the movies should not overlook this classic simply because of its length and age. By any standard, this is quite possibly the greatest adventure story ever told.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good text, no illustrations as described, September 12, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Odyssey (Everyman's Library (Cloth)) (Hardcover)
This is a review of the Everyman's Library Cloth edition of The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald, ISBN-10: 0679410473. I am not reviewing the actual work of The Odyssey, as it is a classic and Homer does not need my review, but I am reviewing the Everyman's Library edition of the work. The cloth hardcover, sewn binding, ribbon, and text layout is nice. However I was expecting illustrations by Barnaby Fitzgerald, as described in Amazon's description of this edition, and I could not find any illustrations in any of the pages in this book. Perhaps the illustrations are in another edition with a different ISBN number.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Odyssey" review, April 15, 2007
This review is from: The Odyssey (Everyman's Library (Cloth)) (Hardcover)
By Jove--this is something else.

Firstly, if you are interested in this book, get background information on Greek mythology, The Iliad, and The Odyssey. Familiarize yourself with Homer's style, the different spellings of names, etc. It's especially good to read this in school, which is where I read it first, because the teacher has knowledge of the epic and can help you in reading it.

The Odyssey is really, something else. It and its partner The Iliad have their own style of story-telling, characterization, and description.
Homer, the storyteller, possesses a powerful and confident voice. As my English teacher said, "Homer is the MAN of epics", and that could not be a lie. The text is hard to read at first, because it contains advanced language, some archaic words, and the reader needs to familiarize themselves with the cultural background of ancient Greece. However, the text becomes enjoyable and rhythmic as the story progresses, making the reader wanting to read NOTHING ELSE but Homer.

The storyline itself is AMAZING, but even more than that. It's chaotic, contains plot twists...it's possibly one of the IDEAL stories of all time.
Odysseus' journey to return home to Ithaka is filled with life themes such as despondency, peril, greed, and bravery. It's emotionally moving and thought-provoking as one reads of the lives Odysseus, Telemachus, and Penelope lead after the Trojan War, and awaiting the reunion of their family. Odysseus' own 'odyssey' is filled with dangerous monsters, promiscious nymphs, and sorrow-filled nights at sea.

Figuratively, The Odyssey parallels real life, because each life is an 'odyssey'. We all face our monsters, promiscious nymphs, and sorrow-filled nights, but also the rage of battle against suitors and the joy of finally returning home.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book, January 20, 2014
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Fitzgerald did a wonderful job translating this Grecian epic. Understandable but still noticeably poetic; much better than a prose version.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Odyssey: A Classic, May 13, 2013
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This review is from: The Odyssey (Everyman's Library (Cloth)) (Hardcover)
The Odyssey is truly a classical book beyond imagine. The whole book is written in iambic pentameter, a feat quite unlike reality. The book quality is absolutely perfect and it comes along with a strip to bookmark your spots. If you are a fan of Greek mythology and love to sit down and read a good book, there's no where else better to start than The Odyssey!
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The Odyssey (Everyman's Library (Cloth))
The Odyssey (Everyman's Library (Cloth)) by Homer (Hardcover - November 3, 1992)
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