- Paperback: 488 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (August 21, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199925887
- ISBN-13: 978-0199925889
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.3 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #974,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Odyssey 1st Edition
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Praise for Barry Powell's translation of The Iliad:
"Magnetically readable." --Booklist, starred review
"[A] clear and energetic translation.... Staying true to Homer's poetic rhythms, Powell avoids the modified iambic lines found in Lattimore's, Fagles's, and Mitchell's works. He also avoids Lombardo's tendency to cast Homer in contemporary language and Fitzgerald's anachronisms. This fine version of The Iliad has a feel for the Greek." --Library Journal
"With swift, transparent language that rings both ancient and modern, Barry Powell gives readers anew all of the rage, pleasure, pathos, and humor that are Homer's Iliad--a reading experience richly illumined by the insightful commentary and plentiful images accompanying the text." --Jane Alison, author of The Love-Artist
"This translation is the complete package. A lucid and accessible introduction gives a general audience what they need to appreciate the nature of this extraordinary poem, and the translation itself is admirably energetic, readable, and direct. Powell's style is individual and self-assured, and his lines cry out to be read aloud. Just as in the original, the pace never lets up and the events of that long-lost past flash by. It is a remarkable achievement, one that fully deserves to rank with any of the current contenders." --Denis Feeney, Princeton University
"Barry Powell's clever translation is simple and energetic: sometimes coarse, sometimes flowing, it is always poetically engaged. He lays bare the semantic background of Homer through felicitous phrasing and delivers us a Dark-Age epic, one more suggestive of Norse sagas than the cultural milieu of archaic Ionia. Fresh and eminently readable, Powell's Iliad is likely to stay." --Margalit Finkelberg, editor of The Homer Encyclopedia
"Barry Powell, the master of classical mythology, has done it again--a powerful translation of the poem that started European literature. His muscular verses are faithful to the original Greek but bring the characters to life. This is a page-turner, bound to become the new standard." --Ian Morris, author of Why the West Rules--For Now
About the Author
Barry B. Powell is Halls-Bascomb Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His translation of The Iliad (2013) was also published by Oxford University Press.
Top customer reviews
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And in one of many spinoffs of "The Iliad," the archetypical trickster-hero spends the entire epic poem "The Odyssey" doing his absolute best to get home, despite the entire universe conspiring to stop him. Barry Powell's new translation is an excellent follow-up to his translation of "The Iliad," giving Homer's deathless poetry a robustly classical yet still readable quality.
It begins ten years after the end of the Trojan War. Odysseus has been missing ever since the war ended, and everybody assumes he's now dead. His son Telemachos is moping, and his wife Penelope has been fending off her suitors for several years. The goddess Athena, after interceding on Odysseus' behalf, begins guiding Telemachos to find news of his long-absent father.
Turns out Odysseus is actually alive, and has been the captive of the lovestruck sea-nymph Kalypso for seven years. But when he finally gets away, he ends up shipwrecked on a far-off land (due to Poseidon being angry at him), and relates his bizarre story to the people who rescue him.
Among his adventures: his encounter with the Lotus-Eaters and a cruel man-eating Cyclops, the Laestrygonians, the sorceress Circe (who turns his men into pigs), the deadly Sirens, Scylla and Charibdis, and the wrath of a god when the crew eats sacred cattle. But even after all this weirdness and twenty years away, Odysseus is still determined to return home and reclaim his family and kingship.
Out of all the stories spun off from "The Iliad," "The Odyssey" is probably the most famous. Perhaps this is because it's one of the least tragic, despite the high death count -- with some divine help from Athena and Hermes, Odysseus can actually get home to Ithaca, his wife and his now-adult son (who is not king, for some reason -- a puzzling detail that I never quite understood).
It's also more colorful and magical than other such stories -- instead of mundane human enemies, Odysseus' story is awash in magical creatures both fair and foul. There are gods, sorceresses, man-eating monsters and a six-headed creature over a whirlpool. In fact, the story doesn't truly settle back to the "ordinary" life until Odysseus finally gets back home, and has to deal with more human enemies: all the men who want to bonk his wife.
And Odysseus' determination to get home is literally legendary. He's already an endearing character, being a clever trickster-king and a formidable warrior -- but his love for Penelope and his unshakeable, unswerving determination add a depth and intensity to his personality. Telemachos comes across as kind of pouty and sulky at first, but becomes a sort of secondary hero when he learns that his father is not actually dead.
And Barry Powell's free-verse translation is a pretty good one -- he maintains the quality of oral poetry ("she bound beneath her feet/her beautiful sandals -- immortal, golden! -- that bore her over the water") while being very fluid and easy to read, without getting tangled up in rhyme or line length. I could have used less supplementary material, though.
"The Odyssey" is a timeless, enchanted epic, expanding on one of the most likable characters of the whole Trojan War -- and Barry Powell's strong, colorful free-verse translation is definitely one worth checking out.
If he ever makes it home, Odysseus will have to detect those servants loyal from those who are not. One absent king against rows of suitors; how will he give them their just desserts? We look to Bright Eyed Pallas Athena to help prophecy come true.
Interestingly all the tales of monsters and gods on the sea voyage was told by Odysseus. Notice that no one else survives to tell the tale. Therefore, we have to rely on Odysseus' word.
Many movies took sections of The Odyssey, and expanded them to make interesting stories.
Not just the story but also the way in which it is told will keep you up late at night reading.
I have several editions each with its own strength of information and the interpretation variants make it fun to re-read
Sing to me of the resourceful man, O Muse, who wandered far after he had sacked the sacred city of Troy. He saw the cities of many man and he learned their minds.
- translated by Barry B. Powell