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The Odyssey: (The Stephen Mitchell Translation) [Kindle Edition]

Homer , Stephen Mitchell
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $35.00
Kindle Price: $8.89
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Book Description

“Sing to me, Muse . . .”

It has been said that a myth is a story about the way things never were but always are. The Odyssey is the original hero’s journey, an epic voyage into the unknown, and has inspired other creative work for millennia—from ancient poetry to contemporary fiction and films. With its consummately modern hero, full of guile and wit, always prepared to reinvent himself in order to realize his heart’s desire—to return to home and family after ten years of war—the Odyssey now speaks to us again across 2,600 years.

In words of great poetic power, Stephen Mitchell’s translation brings Odysseus and his adventures vividly to life as never before. Full of imagination and light, beauty and humor, this Odyssey carries you along in a fast stream of action and imagery. One-eyed maneating giants; irresistibly seductive sirens; shipwrecks and narrow escapes; princesses and monsters; ghosts sipping blood at the Underworld’s portal, desperate for a chance to speak to the living; and the final destruction of all Odysseus’s enemies in the banquet hall—these stories are still spellbinding today. So, too, are the intimate moments of storytelling by the fire, of homecoming and reunion, fidelity and love—all of greater value to Odysseus, and to us, than the promise of immortality.

Just as Mitchell “re-energised the Iliad for a new generation” (The Sunday Telegraph), his Odyssey is the noblest, clearest, and most captivating rendition of one of the defining masterpieces of Western literature. Mitchell’s muscular language keeps the diction close to spoken English, yet its rhythms re-create the oceanic surge of the ancient Greek.

The first translation to benefit from modern advances in textual scholarship, Mitchell’s Odyssey also includes an illuminating introductory essay that opens the epic still further to our understanding and appreciation and textual notes that will benefit all readers. Beautiful, musical, accurate, and alive, this new Odyssey is a story for our time as well as for the ages.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Employing the five-beat, minimally iambic line he used for his translation of The Iliad (2011), Mitchell retells the first, still greatest adventure story in Western literature with the same clarity, sweep, and force. Those similarities in his translations contradict the two poems’ differences. The Iliad portrays a civilization engaged in its most significant activities; The Odyssey depicts the archetype of the Western civilized individual. Mitchell doesn’t draw that particular distinction but, first thing in the introduction, points out that most Homeric scholars believe one Homer wrote The Iliad, and another Homer, The Odyssey. The second quotes the first often but varies so in “vocabulary, grammar, geographical perspective, theology, and moral values” that it’s unlikely he’s the same poet. Many ordinary readers have found The Odyssey “more modern,” by which they mean more like a contemporary novel—more psychological, more “personal” because of the strong point-of-view characters, Odysseus and his son, Telemachus. The Odyssey is also scarier, a very au courant quality. There are many more violent deaths in The Iliad—there’s a war going on, after all—but nothing as ghoulishly terrifying (and starkly related by Mitchell) as what Polyphemus, the Laestrygonians, and Scylla do to Odysseus’ crew. Stephen King, eat your heart out. --Ray Olson


“Mitchell's updating has resulted in a livelier, more contemporary feel for this epic of world literature… The result is a faster-moving story… make room for this one on the shelf as an intriguing variation on a familiar story.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Propulsive, muscular rendering.” (Washington Post)

"Mitchell has been widely hailed for his masterful translations and this one, I think, will be regarded as the capstone of his reputation.” (Bookviews)

“Stephen Mitchell’s faithful translation of the Odyssey has great vigor, and a plain eloquence that is quite free of pedantry. It does not plod. Its narrative drive is so compelling that the reader will find himself speaking the lines aloud, as I did.” (Richard Wilbur, former Poet Laureate of the United States and twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry)

“Stephen Mitchell is one of the great translators, and his version of the Odyssey is a masterpiece of clarity, directness and a kind of blunt musicality which catches perfectly the pitch of the true Homeric voice.” (John Banville, author of The Sea)

“This latest incarnation of the Odyssey leaves no doubt that Stephen Mitchell has made a deep connection to the tale’s spiritual power, which he has managed to express with propulsive cadence and in exquisite detail. The bard sings again, this time at the banquet of Mitchell’s ardent labor.” (Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate of the United States)

“Yet again, one of today’s gifted, knowing scholars and writers embraces one of the masterpieces of yore, and so doing offers us the Odyssey as a wise and stirring companion for our own personal voyage through time and life’s many stirring, worrying, enabling moments.” (Robert Coles)

A daring new version of the epic poem. (Wall Street Journal)

"Employing the five-beat, minimally iambic line he used for his translation of The Iliad (2011), Mitchell retells the first, still greatest adventure story in Western literature with the same clarity, sweep, and force.There are many more violent deaths in The Iliad—there’s a war going on, after all—but nothing as ghoulishly terrifying (and starkly related by Mitchell) as what Polyphemus, the Laestrygonians, and Scylla do to Odysseus’ crew. Stephen King, eat your heart
out." (Booklist, starred review)

"Re-reading the epic poem The Odyssey with this new translation by Stephen Mitchell is a reminder not only of its significance as an early literary masterpiece of the West but also its beauty as a work of art... It resonates with modern readers as much as it did to our ancestors... Eminently readable, flowing narrative… captures the beauty of the language while rendering the poem accessible to all readers... Mitchell deserves great credit for providing a new translation that will appeal to modern readers and see the Homeric tales thrive amongst the next generation... Mitchell’s translations should be the first port of call to anyone who’s never yet read the Homeric poems but has always meant to." (Entertainment-focus (UK))

Product Details

  • File Size: 6849 KB
  • Print Length: 433 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1451674171
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Tra edition (October 1, 2013)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #289,536 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it sings November 17, 2013
I bought the old-fashioned book version. There is nothing old fashioned about this translation though. It is swift, clean, and powerful--and it sings: as I am sure the original must have done.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The publishers did the same thing with Mitchell's Iliad. I hoped against hope that they would see the error of their ways and do better this time. But no: this is not a real ebook but a page for page photographic reproduction of the printed volume. If you want to read it on a small screen - say, an iPhone, or even an iPad mini - you're out of luck. Shame in Amazon for even distributing it in this inflexible format.

No working search. No working table of contents. No working highlights or annotations. What the heck is wrong with these people?

The translation itself is terrific.
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An official commented on this review (What's this?)
Thanks for your comment. We're very sorry that you didn't have a great experience with this book, and we want to let you know that the problems you mention have been corrected: the text size is adjustable, there is a clickable table of contents, highlighting is enabled, and the annotation links are active. New customers will receive the improved content automatically. Existing customers have been sent an email with instructions for upgrading to the corrected content. Thanks again, and enjoy the book!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book ! January 15, 2014
By chopin
forget the ebook . this is a beautiful translation. and a physically beautiful book. buy it before it goes out of print.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid, moving, poetic translation! February 8, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read this version of the Odyssey with a fresh appreciation of the story of his much desired "homecoming" , and the challenges to his wife and son. The determined efforts to overcome human and cosmic challenges are beautifully detailed in the art of Homer, and I'd recommend this translation to the contemporary reader. I've been amazed and delighted at how much I've enjoyed reading and discussing this work and translation in group of friends.
Mitchell's language is fluent and evocative carrying the eye to really see this amazing adventure and invention. He invites us to share the deep emotional life of the hero and his colleagues. Some scholars say Homer was both blind and old - and if so it is an even better read as we gain in age and experience!
The Introduction offers keen insights gained by Mitchell as he translated this carefully and made certain artistic choices. He gives examples and reasons why we benefit from paying profound attention to important topics. As we are aware of Greek cultural codes such as the importance of hospitality - and deeds of inhospitality, exhibited by the Suitors and others, we can connect with the story better.
Mitchell provides a helpful chart showing the region of the voyages, and annotations about the characters, conveniently referenced at the end.
I am very pleased to have this work and have bought it as a gift for friends who I think will also enjoy becoming reacquainted with a "classic" that may not ever have been enjoyed like this before.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars odyssey February 4, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
the book arrived in excellent condition IT is so well written that you can follow the story easily am looking forward to other publications of Mitchell
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Kindle version is unreadable October 7, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The text is too tiny to read. I love this author, but the kindle version is unreadable. Would probably be fine if they changed the formatting.
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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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