The odyssey [NOOK Book]

The odyssey

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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940017048320
  • Publisher: London : John Murray
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Digitized from 1903 volume
  • File size: 228 KB

Meet the Author

Homer
Homer
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.

Biography

We know very little about the author of The Odyssey and its companion tale, The Iliad. Most scholars agree that Homer was Greek; those who try to identify his origin on the basis of dialect forms in the poems tend to choose as his homeland either Smyrna, now the Turkish city known as Izmir, or Chios, an island in the eastern Aegean Sea.

According to legend, Homer was blind, though scholarly evidence can neither confirm nor contradict the point.

The ongoing debate about who Homer was, when he lived, and even if he wrote The Odyssey and The Iliad is known as the "Homeric question." Classicists do agree that these tales of the fall of the city of Troy (Ilium) in the Trojan War (The Iliad) and the aftermath of that ten-year battle (The Odyssey) coincide with the ending of the Mycenaean period around 1200 BCE (a date that corresponds with the end of the Bronze Age throughout the Eastern Mediterranean). The Mycenaeans were a society of warriors and traders; beginning around 1600 BCE, they became a major power in the Mediterranean. Brilliant potters and architects, they also developed a system of writing known as Linear B, based on a syllabary, writing in which each symbol stands for a syllable.

Scholars disagree on when Homer lived or when he might have written The Odyssey. Some have placed Homer in the late-Mycenaean period, which means he would have written about the Trojan War as recent history. Close study of the texts, however, reveals aspects of political, material, religious, and military life of the Bronze Age and of the so-called Dark Age, as the period of domination by the less-advanced Dorian invaders who usurped the Mycenaeans is known. But how, other scholars argue, could Homer have created works of such magnitude in the Dark Age, when there was no system of writing? Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian, placed Homer sometime around the ninth century BCE, at the beginning of the Archaic period, in which the Greeks adopted a system of writing from the Phoenicians and widely colonized the Mediterranean. And modern scholarship shows that the most recent details in the poems are datable to the period between 750 and 700 BCE.

No one, however, disputes the fact that The Odyssey (and The Iliad as well) arose from oral tradition. Stock phrases, types of episodes, and repeated phrases -- such as "early, rose-fingered dawn" -- bear the mark of epic storytelling. Scholars agree, too, that this tale of the Greek hero Odysseus's journey and adventures as he returned home from Troy to Ithaca is a work of the greatest historical significance and, indeed, one of the foundations of Western literature.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Odyssey.

Good To Know

The meter (rhythmic pattern of syllables) of Homer's epic poems is dactylic hexameter.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 466 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 468 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    An Epic of Odysseus' Return

    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.

    25 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2009

    Completely unbelievable!

    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.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful!

    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.

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2007

    A reviewer

    The translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey by Robert Fitzgerald are more enjoyable to read, and are also more reliable and accurate. They are written in prose. If you want poetic versions, you can't beat the translations by Richard Lattimore. My personal favorites are the Fitzgeralds. I am a lawyer. I studied Greek subjects at U.C. Berkeley under professors Gregory Vlastos and Michael Frede. My favorite writers are Heidegger, Wittgenstein, and Proust.

    9 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2004

    A delightful introduction to epic literature.

    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.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2011

    This is not complete

    Starts at Book XVII

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2007

    An Interesting Read

    The Odyssey is definitely a piece of literature that I would recommend to readers of a somewhat advanced level. It is an adventure story that will keep the reader 'hooked onto it'. It also has life lessons in each one of the 23 chapters that you can live by such as 'do not trust what is given to you by those you know nothing of'. If you like Greek mythology, you should read this before anything.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2006

    Great Story

    I love this book. It may seem intimadating at first, but, you usually read it in school, and teachers explain it very well. There are about five million names mentioned, but only like eight names are important. The story was great, and filled with adventure. Not a complicated plot, or very hard language. W.H.D.'s annotations are really helpful, too.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2001

    JUST ONE WORD IS REQUIRED : EXTRAORDINARY.

    THIS IS THE MOST MAGICAL NOVEL IN THE WORLD AND IT HAS BEEN BORE AS SUCH. THE ADVENTURES AND THE ROMANCE IS WHAT KEEPS YOU HOOKED TO THE PAGES, WITHOUT LETTING YOU GO.THE ILIAD AND THE ODDESSEY ARE BY FAR THE GREATEST STORIES EVER TOLD BESIDES THOSE OF THE BIBLE,AND OF GODS AND GODDESSES.THIS NOVEL SHALL FOREVER REMAIN THE GREATEST AND DEAREST TO MY HEART.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2012

    Homer is an amazing story teller!

    I had to write the Iliad for a school project and recammend it; I also love the Odyssey;Odysseus has always been my favorite character!He has cunning kindness, all wrapped into one man

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    To all you Homer Haters out there......

    This book is SUPER INTRESTING! I don't see how it could be boring at all...... You must be very immature.....well whatever DEUCES:)

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 21, 2011

    Line numbers missing?

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Nicely performed.

    Great performance of an old classic.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2008

    It was required

    i read this book, and I found it interesting at first but when it got to the part where he kept on talking about ALL of his journeys that were actually in Iliad to the Phaeacians, it got VERY annoying, long, and never ending. In addition, it was boring to hear about all his other journeys because it had so many different characters that unless you actually knew them all you would get confused. Honestly, I would not recommend this book because I did not find it fascinating. I found it annoying, and boring. Maybe I am just not interested in these types of books. The only reason I read it was because it was a requirement on the summer reading list.

    1 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2007

    GREAT ADVENTURE STORY

    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!!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2007

    Too hard to understand

    The odyssey is okay but some of the words are too hard to understand.The only reson I read was because I have to for school.

    1 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2007

    Review

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2006

    Interesting

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2006

    THE book OF LYYYYYYYFe

    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.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2000

    outstanding

    This book should be in the hands of every student reading The Oddyssey. Some translations really stink, but not this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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