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The Odyssey

The Odyssey

3.9 368
by Homer, Alexander Pope

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Scepticism is as much the result of knowledge, as knowledge is of
scepticism. To be content with what we at present know, is, for the
most part, to shut our ears against conviction; since, from the very
gradual character of our education, we must continually forget, and
emancipate ourselves from, knowledge previously acquired; we



Scepticism is as much the result of knowledge, as knowledge is of
scepticism. To be content with what we at present know, is, for the
most part, to shut our ears against conviction; since, from the very
gradual character of our education, we must continually forget, and
emancipate ourselves from, knowledge previously acquired; we must set
aside old notions and embrace fresh ones; and, as we learn, we must
be daily unlearning something which it has cost us no small labour
and anxiety to acquire.

And this difficulty attaches itself more closely to an age in which
progress has gained a strong ascendency over prejudice, and in which
persons and things are, day by day, finding their real level, in lieu
of their conventional value. The same principles which have swept
away traditional abuses, and which are making rapid havoc among the
revenues of sinecurists, and stripping the thin, tawdry veil from
attractive superstitions, are working as actively in literature as in
society. The credulity of one writer, or the partiality of another,
finds as powerful a touchstone and as wholesome a chastisement in the
healthy scepticism of a temperate class of antagonists, as the dreams
of conservatism, or the impostures of pluralist sinecures in the
Church. History and tradition, whether of ancient or comparatively
recent times, are subjected to very different handling from that
which the indulgence or credulity of former ages could allow. Mere
statements are jealously watched, and the motives of the writer form
as important an ingredient in the analysis or his history, as the
facts he records. Probability is a powerful and troublesome test; and
it is by this troublesome standard that a large portion of historical
evidence is sifted. Consistency is no less pertinacious and exacting
in its demands. In brief, to write a history, we must know more than
mere facts. Human nature, viewed under an introduction of extended
experience, is the best help to the criticism of human history.
Historical characters can only be estimated by the standard which
human experience, whether actual or traditionary, has furnished. To
form correct views of individuals we must regard them as forming
parts of a great whole--we must measure them by their relation to the
mass of beings by whom they are surrounded; and, in contemplating the
incidents in their lives or condition which tradition has handed down
to us, we must rather consider the general bearing of the whole
narrative, than the respective probability of its details.

It is unfortunate for us, that, of some of the greatest men, we know
least, and talk most. Homer, Socrates, and Shakespere have, perhaps,
contributed more to the intellectual enlightenment of mankind than
any other three writers who could be named, and yet the history of
all three has given rise to a boundless ocean of discussion, which
has left us little save the option of choosing which theory or
theories we will follow. The personality of Shakespere is, perhaps,
the only thing in which critics will allow us to believe without
controversy; but upon everything else, even down to the authorship of
plays, there is more or less of doubt and uncertainty. Of Socrates we
know as little as the contradictions of Plato and Xenophon will allow
us to know. He was one of the dramatis personae in two dramas as
unlike in principles as in style. He appears as the enunciator of
opinions as different in their tone as those of the writers who have
handed them down. When we have read Plato or Xenophon, we think we
know something of Socrates; when we have fairly read and examined
both, we feel convinced that we are something worse than ignorant.

It has been an easy, and a popular expedient of late years, to deny
the personal or real existence of men and things whose life and
condition were too much for our belief. This system--which has often
comforted the religious sceptic, and substituted the consolations of
Strauss for those of the New Testament--has been of incalculable
value to the historical theorists of the last and present centuries.
To question the existence of Alexander the Great, would be a more
excusable act, than to believe in that of Romulus. To deny a fact
related in Herodotus, because it is inconsistent with a theory
developed from an Assyrian inscription which no two scholars read in
the same way, is more pardonable, than to believe in the good-natured
old king whom the elegant pen of Florian has idealized--Numa

Scepticism has attained its culminating point with respect to Homer,
and the state of our Homeric knowledge may be described as a free
permission to believe any theory, provided we throw overboard

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Meet the Author

The ancient Greek poet Homer established the gold standard for heroic quests and sweeping journeys with his pair of classic epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey. Crowded with characters, both human and non-human, and bursting with action, the epic tales detail the fabled Trojan War and the adventures of Odysseus as he struggles to return home. Homer’s epics have inspired countless books and works of art throughout their long history.

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The Odyssey (Marvel Illustrated) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 368 reviews.
ZebraStripe More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing translation; the language is flawless, almost poetic. And, of course, a timless classic. I had to read this book for my English Honors course and expected boredom. However, I was pleasently surprised-- I enjoyed it! It's the story of the Greek hero, Odysseus, after the Trojan War. On the start of his voyage home, he provokes Poseidon, god of the sea. Thus, releasing the god's wrath. Odysseus faces many obstacles, on account of Poseidon's anger, including an encounter with Cyclops, Circe, and the Sirens, and a journey to Hades' Underworld. I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates classic literature. Though the language does take time to become accustomed to, the hardest part of this book is the vast amount of characters. I recommend composing a list of all the gods and goddesses in addition to demigods and heroes.
extreme-reader08 More than 1 year ago
I am amazed at this book! I was actually required to read this for summer reading and I wasn't exactly thrilled to see how thick it was of pages. But as I read it I became enchanted of the way the words are written and the characters, and the plot! I loved it so much I kept on reading, and before I knew it I was finished with it! An incredible tale written in ancient times that tells the story of an exiled soldier trying to return home with many sinister obstacles bloking his way. A great read for anyone who loves greek mythology, and for people who just love monsters and heroes.
Diangirl More than 1 year ago
Fagles makes this classical story accessible to everyone, using easy to read language while relating the adventures of Aeneas as he leaves Troy after being defeated by the Greeks and makes his way to Italy to found Rome. It contains travel tales like the Oddyssey and battles as in the Illiad. The introduction is also well worth reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for those who are new to epic poetry, like myself. It's written in prose (in paragraphs, rather than poetic stanzas). Squillace has done a fine job of introducing contemporary terms, where appropriate, without interrupting Homer/Palmer's story-telling rhythm. It's an engaging story, and the characters are fascinating, and I enjoyed it so much that I read all the footnotes at the end. Somewhat-interesting discussion questions at the conclusion. Read the Introduction after you read the book, not before. I wish I could find a translation of the Illiad by Palmer/Squillace, as they did a very good job of making the story, the characters and the language approachable. 'O'Brother Where Art Thou'? Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby.
William Rankeillor More than 1 year ago
I love the odyssey and this version was particularly clear, but I would like a version with the original lines of poetry listed out so I can take notes properly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i read this book as part of a school assignment but i absolutely LOVED IT. it is a great adventure and love story. i really enjoyed the read and i strongly recommend this book to all readers. it was not difficult for me to understand at all either. when i read it, it was not written out in prose so it is pretty easy if you read the sentence full on until the period. overall great read!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book for a high school english assignment and, breaking the stereotype of my generation, found it very enjoyable. Our teacher required us to use Fagles translation and I had no problem understanding it. I would reccomend using online resources only to clarify or answer any questions if you arent familiar with the culture of Homers time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to read this epic. I was wrapped in the story from the moment I started reading it.Although it is complicated, it is very exciting to know about ancient Greece...and Odysseus' flings.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a required book for school, so I thought it would be extremely boring, and it was. Only until the late middle of the book do you get fully into it. Though it was not one of the best books I have read I do reccomend reading this classic adventure of odysseus's return home from Troy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book should be in the hands of every student reading The Oddyssey. Some translations really stink, but not this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anonymous 5 months ago
This is my second favoit book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Attention All! There is now a camp, yes, a camp, where you can become a demigod! Go to 'Athenian Constitution' first result and talk, spar, socialize and do so much more the other campers! Don't be afraid to join, just jump right into the fun!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the translation, and I found this story accessible to everyone to read. I am amazed how Homer still inspires people to overcome a trauma. Katrina. I recently read : Penelope's Odyssey, the survivors of Katrina and like this one it was delightful to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And how does it work
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No cats
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She runs and hisses at any shadows
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She looked at Fawn. "You don't seem well." She meows, flicking an ear back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We should start our own group!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cant read it because all the pages are blank.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great version of the classic epic poem, by an excellent translator, and with tremendously helpful additional materials, especially the introduction! I highly recommend all of Fagles translations of classical Greek literature!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am so sorry i have too many rps i have to quit some this is one of them. :'( sorry travel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lie down sleeping.