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The Odyssey of Homer (Bantam Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Homer , Allen Mandelbaum
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Homer's epic chronicle of the Greek hero Odysseus' journey home from the Trojan War has inspired  writers from Virgil to James Joyce. Odysseus  survives storm and shipwreck, the cave of the Cyclops  and the isle of Circe, the lure of the Sirens' song  and a trip to the Underworld, only to find his  most difficult challenge at home, where treacherous  suitors seek to steal his kingdom and his loyal  wife, Penelope. Favorite of the gods, Odysseus  embodies the energy, intellect, and resourcefulness  that were of highest value to the ancients and that  remain ideals in out time.

In this  new verse translation, Allen  Mandelbaum--celebrated poet and translator of Virgil's  Aeneid and Dante's Divine Comedy  --realizes the power and beauty of the original  Greek verse and demonstrates why the epic tale of  The Odyssey has captured the human  imagination for nearly three thousand  years.

From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

While Mandelbaum and the University of California Press are to be commended for attempting this new translation of The Odyssey , those of Robert Fitzgerald (Doubleday, 1963) and Richard Lattimore (Harper & Row, 1968) still remain the versions of choice for serious students who don't know Greek. Mandelbaum's poetry is fluent but lacks the feeling for the original that he brought to his fine translations of Virgil ( The Aeneid of Virgil , Bantam, 1976) and Dante ( The Divine Comedy: The Inferno , Bantam, 1982). There is a looseness in the translation that often misses the intricacy and interconnection of The Odyssey as a whole. Illustrated with engravings, this is essentially a coffee-table book.
- T.L. Cooksey, Arm strong State Coll., Savannah, Ga.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"A splendid achievement outstripping all  competitors."--Anthony A. Long, author of  Hellenistic Philosophy

"With real poetic power...his book is  one no lover of living poetry should  miss."--The New York Times Book Review  

From the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1905 KB
  • Print Length: 560 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0553213997
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics (December 6, 2005)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,632 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
149 of 155 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic translation November 7, 2002
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This review will focus upon the translation of "The Odyssey" more than the work itself. Having withstood the test of time and considered the first great work of the Western tradition, "The Odyssey" can do well enough without my two cents.

This translation is among the most accurate on the market. Though I speak no Greek myself, classics professors have urged me to read this translation, the best English source available. Despite the usual popularity of the Fitzgerald translation, the Lattimore version provides a more literal translation with consistent themes of word choice running throughout. "They put their hands to the good things that lay ready before them," for example, will come up over and over again because, quite simply, the phrase comes up over and over again. And we have the same adjectives consistently before each of the major players: resourceful Odysseus, thoughtful Telemachos, and circumspect Penelope, along with the gray-eyed Athene. Lattimore explains how he chooses to translate the work, and his translation is a literal work of a genius. He retains the lyric style in form throughout the work, aligning this translation even more closely with the original text.

For those who desire the most accurate translation of this great work, I would highly recommend the Lattimore translation of "The Odyssey of Homer."
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight-forward translation November 8, 2007
I own and have read translations of The Iliad & The Odyssey by Fagles, Fitzgerald, and Lattimore. I rate them as follows:
1. Lattimore
2. Fitzgerald
3. Fagles
Fitzgerald's translations are often the most enjoyable. However, I feel that Lattimore's clarity facilitates greater understanding of the story by the reader.
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76 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The stuff that heroes are made of? January 29, 2001
By sid1gen
This Lattimore translation of "The Odyssey" was the first book I read last quarter for my Comparative Literature class, and it became a preview of coming wonders. I had neglected the old classics out of ignorance and prejudice (these two tend to go together) and "The Odyssey" was one of those books that forced me to look at an entire collection of genres and literary epochs in a different, far more positive way. I do not know Greek, therefore I cannot say whether the translation is absolutely faithful to the original, but it flows well when read silently and it sounds even better when I read it aloud, alone at night. This is the story of Odysseus, King of Ithaka, Captain of the Greeks, who must return to his homeland and his family after helping defeat the Trojans. Amazingly enough, many people seem to have bought entirely into the idea of Odysseus as a noble, courageous, and honorable leader of men who gets sidetracked solely because of the wrath of Poseidon. I finished this poem with an entirely different view of its protagonist. To me, Odysseus was an arrogant liar, a murderer and a rapist who did not hesitate to attack people who were not his enemies (the Kikonians on his way back after sacking Troy and killing and/or enslaving most of its people, as reads in Book IX, page 138), and who did not hesitate to endanger the lives of his men just to boast of his deeds (same Book, page 150). This "hero" eventually makes it to Ithaka and ends up drenched in the blood of the suitors of his wife, ordering the torture and death of the serving women who had become lovers of the suitors. His son Telemachos becomes a murderer as well: he kills a man by stabbing him on the back with a javelin. Read more ›
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I like THIS translation November 15, 2011
By Mrs. E
I teach both the Iliad and the Odyssey at the high-school level, and I use the Lattimore translations for both. No one preserves the stately dactylic hexameter verse as he does. Lattimore also preserves the (yes, formulaic) xenia scenes and epithets.
Now let me say why I prefer this translation to all others. It's just mind-bendingly beautiful. Homer should NOT be trivialized or "vernacularized" - the reader should be able to immerse himself in the culture, to hear the voice of the singer, and to know the workings of the mind of "the man of many ways." This translation allows that.
I read another review concerning the reader's discovery that Odysseus was a horrible rapist and war-monger. Well, such were the times - he was a soldier returning from 10 years of rape, pillage, and plunder of the Trojans and their allies. Hence, the seemingly-random attack on the Kikonians. But it wasn't random - they were Trojan allies and fair game. Odysseus doesn't always behave well, according to our standards, but he is the perfect product of a superlative storyteller.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hear the Sirens sing. June 25, 2003
By A Customer
When I was a younger lad, I bought Richard Lattimore's translation, which is a grandiose bore. Then I had the good fortune to read Mandelbaum's Aeneid, which shines. This brought me to Mandelbaum's Odyssey. And it is the ideal Odyssey for scholarship and pleasure:
-The language is simple and strong. Mandelbaum knows his job--he tells the story simply and brings the ancient genius of Homer through with vigor and clarity. Occasionally Mandelbaum goes on a stint of rhyme and that's distracting, but overall the translation is beautiful.
-There's a well-drawn map of Ancient Greece in the beginning that really sets the scene for the wild sea adventures.
-One of the complaints I often hear about epics is that the many characters are difficult to keep straight. Mandelbaum solves this by giving us a comprehensive glossary in the back of the book that explains who everyone is and lists the page numbers of where they occur in the book.
-Another thing makes this a swift read is that, at the beginning of each book, Mandelbaum gives a quick summary of what's about to happen (a fantastic feature for reference and review).
Thus, with the book summaries, the glossary, and the map, you always know where you are in the epic--so while Odysseus wanders, you are never lost.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars best edition out there finally available hallelujah!
as I said in my review of Richmond Lattimore's edition of the Iliad. "Skip the others and by this one. Please! Read more
Published 26 days ago by John W. Halko Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a Classic
The story of Odysseyus' travels after the Trojan War.

Excellent translation; Lattimore uses the Greek names for the gods, as opposed to other translations using the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by kevin taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Made an Otherwise Difficult Novel into Something Less Difficult
If you have yet to read The Odyssey, Lattimore's complete translation of this timeless classic is about as close as it will get to "actual" English. Read more
Published 2 months ago by I Teach Typing
5.0 out of 5 stars Like reading Greek in English
As a reader of Greek myself, what I love best about Lattimore's translation is its transparency: the flavor of Homer's language comes through in this English version as it does in... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ann Salamini
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic epic
The Odyssey of Homer is a classic epic that relates the adventures of Odysseus as he strives to return to his home in Ithaca, off Greek mainland, after the Trojan War (1180 B.C.).
Published 4 months ago by J. C. Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars A great classic
Translated well...names are spelled differently than normal, but that's expected with Greek translation. A great classic for anyone interested in Greek poems.
Published 5 months ago by Sammerz
5.0 out of 5 stars Here's a Translation that Rivals the Best
This translation does not cater to 21st Century sensibilities. I have liked, since its publication, Fitzgerald's wonderful translation for its energy and connection to modern... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Abrubacca
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
The book arrived earlier than expected and was in perfect condition. This will be a great edition for my son's English class.
Published 5 months ago by Ms. Review
1.0 out of 5 stars Hoodwinked
This is not the book I ordered. The condition is far poorer than described, took too long to get to me, and is not the edition or cover I was lead to believe it was.
Published 5 months ago by Kameron Townsend
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Translation of a Great Story - The Odyssey - Translation by...
Simply the best English translation of this timeless classic. The Odyssey along with the Iliad are the great stories from the dawn of Western Civilization and have survived the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by John Chulick
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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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