Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent translation, January 2, 2008
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This review is from: The Odyssey (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
It wasn't easy, but I have to admit I had a great time reading Robert Fagles' translation of the Odyssey. I thought his translation offered just the right compromise between using "elevated language" and readability. Also, I liked the traditional verse format Fagles retained, even though the English version had no rhyme scheme or strict metric format found in the original. The shorter lines made it easier to read.

The 70-page introduction by Bernard Knox also helped quite a bit. It focused mostly on higher themes of the Odyssey, which was great. There are also excellent explanatory notes on specific lines at the end of the book. I read all these notes before I read that particular section to avoid flipping back and forth too much. I also kept a copy of Cliff's notes along side me, reading the upcoming chapter in Cliff's before reading the real text.

As I was saying, it wasn't easy, but the Odyssey and the Iliad are such basic texts that all this effort was well worth it. I still have a hard time accepting that the text was written in roughly 800 BC, yet the insight into what it's like to be human seemed so real. No wonder this edition was a best seller when it came out 20 years ago, re-inspiring movies and television shows.

Fagles' Iliad is next!
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