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The Odyssey Hardcover – January 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Perfection Learning (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0780776615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0780776616
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert Fagles is Arthur W. Marks '19 Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Bernard Knox is Director Emeritus of Harvard's Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D. C. --This text refers to the Paperback 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

I really am enjoying reading this book again.
Ajen Birmingham
The author keeps the verse structure and flowing form to give a greater sense of the flow and passion of the original.
Stratiotes Doxha Theon
Simply wonderful Robert Fagles is the finest translator of Homer I have ever read.
John McCormack

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

155 of 163 people found the following review helpful By Guy J. Kelley on December 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
I don't know whether it is the font size, the appropriate spacing, or the translation, or even, the combination of all three. This was the most accessible, approachable, and engaging version I have ever read. I am no scholar of these works so I cannout vouch for the literary accuracy, but I suspect the main literary themes are left unadulterated: War is hell and gruesome; both sides suffer; stife breeds conflict even among allies; life is an odyssey with free will being buffetted by many uncontrollable forces (gods?); graciousness, courtesy, wit, wisdom, and personal responsibility are attributes that will help us through this journey. I highly recommend this version as well as this 2700 year old work of art. Literature doesn't get any better than this.
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90 of 93 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 20, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this boxed hardcover set, because after reading Robert Fagles translation, you'll want to keep it as a part of your personal book collection..to re-read again and again. I have read many fine and not-so-fine translations of these works (including the admirable Robert Fitzgerald and the classic Richard Lattimore translations), but Robert Fagles' translations are by far the best I've seen. Fagles manages to bring the stories to life while still maintaining a sense of the poetic beauty of the original. I especially liked the Illiad. These translations are far from being dusty and archaic, but instead are very much "alive", capturing the excitement and beauty of these classic tales. If your first exposure to these classics was a very negative one, try again with Fagles (you'll be very glad you did!)... and if you're a great fan of Homer, you'll definitely want to read these wonderful new translations by Robert Fagles.
Also, the "introductions" by the well-respected classicist, Bernard Knox, are a great source of additional,up-to-date information about these works and the Homeric period of Ancient Greece.
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83 of 86 people found the following review helpful By John McCormack on May 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Simply wonderful
Robert Fagles is the finest translator of Homer I have ever read. I have loved classical history and classical myths since I was seven; Robert Fagles' translation makes me feel as if I am reading these stories for the very first time.
His poetical vision reawakens Homer; he makes the agony and glory of the Iliad and Odyssey a living, vibrant and above all human force. This is literature like a trumpet blast; these are words to wake the imagination and emotions.
Few moments are more moving in any literature, than when Hector speaks to his beloved wife Andromache for what will be the last time. As he turns to his baby son Astynax, the child cries in terror at the crested helmet masking his father's face. Hector pulls the helmet away and laughs, and hugs his son.
Hector will die that day. Andromache will end her days as a slave in a far country. Their son will be thrown to his death from the walls of burning Troy. All this the Greeks knew.
Achilles is the great Greek hero. He needs a worthy enemy to kill, a warrior of skill and courage and resolve. Homer carefully depicts the doomed Hector as the greatest Trojan solider, a man with deep regard for his peoples' welfare, who inspires fear from his enemies, a leader of renown and a man for all men to honour.
Yet Homer does more than this - he deliberately makes Hector human and every Greek who knew and loved the Iliad knew Hector to be human, to be a man like himself.
Enemies in our century are demonised. They are communists, they are capitalists, they are Arabs or Moslems or the great Satan America. They are very carefully portrayed as inhuman (and undeserving of any humanity?)
There is no sentimentality in the Iliad. It is brutal.
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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful By W. M. Robbins on November 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
For nearly three thousand years the poems of Homer have thrilled listeners of every culture and epoch. Allusions to The Iliad and The Odyssey are so pervasive in our western culture that they are almost required reading for anyone who wishes to study western literature.
Briefly, The Iliad is the story of the ten year long Trojan War, which climaxes with the destruction of the city of Troy by the Greeks through the deception of the Trojan Horse, and The Odyssey is the telling of the many adventures of the Greek Chieftan Odysseus (also known as Ulysses) during his long journey home. Filled with tales of the heroes and gods of ancient Greece, the poems are noted for the masterful use of wonderfully illustrative similes and metaphors, which become all the more wonderful with the understanding that Homer is believed to have been blind!
Translations of Homer which try to adhere to the original poetic structure and be as literal as possible are immensely difficult to read by all but the most focused scholars. Other translations have completley deviated from any resemblance of poetry in an effort to be more accessible to the average reader. Here Mr. Fagles has achieved a translation which is not only easy to read and understand, but which retains the poetic lyricism of the original.
Homer's works should be on the bookshelf of anyone who is interested in the classics, and with this translation you don't have to be a University Professor to appreciate them.
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