The Odysseyby Homer
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STANLEY LOMBARDO is professor of classics at the University of Kansas. His translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey were originally published by Hackett Publishing Company in 1997 and 2000, respectively.
McCrorie has produced an epic with its own rhythms, idioms and developing pleasures.
Robert Fagles is the best living translator of ancient Greek drama, lyric poetry, and epic into modern English. (Garry Wills, The New Yorker)
Mr. Fagles has been remarkably successful in finding a style that is of our time and yet timeless. (Richard Jenkyns, The New York Times Book Review)
McCrorie's new translation can be recommended without reservation to the generations of students to whom it is bound to be assigned and to any reader who'd like to get as close to the original as is possible without reading the original Greek. It is refreshing, accurate, and direct.
Edward McCrorie's translation of the Odyssey into English hexameter has much to recommend it... I have developed an appreciation for the clarity and briskness of McCrorie's verse.
A lively and engaging version of Homer's Odyssey that brilliantly blends pleasurable readability with fidelity to the original... McCrorie has simplified the choice of an English Odyssey even in a field of very skillful competitors (Lattimore, Fitzgerald, Mandelbaum, Fagles, Lombardo), providing the best available verse translation of the Odyssey for Greekless readers.
Bold new translation.
- Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
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- 7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Read an Excerpt
IAthene Visits Telemachus
Tell me, Muse, the story of that resourceful man who was driven to wander far and wide after he had sacked the holy citadel of Troy. He saw the cities of many people and he learnt their ways. He suffered great anguish on the high seas in his struggles to preserve his life and bring his comrades home. But he failed to save those comrades, in spite of all his efforts. It was their own transgression that brought them to their doom, for in their folly they devoured the oxen of Hyperion the Sun-god and he saw to it that they would never return. Tell us this story, goddess daughter of Zeus, beginning at whatever point you will.
All the survivors of the war had reached their homes by now and so put the perils of battle and the sea behind them. Odysseus alone was prevented from returning to the home and wife he yearned for by that powerful goddess, the Nymph Calypso, who longed for him to marry her, and kept him in her vaulted cave. Not even when the rolling seasons brought in the year which the gods had chosen for his homecoming to Ithaca was he clear of his troubles and safe among his friends. Yet all the gods pitied him, except Poseidon, who pursued the heroic Odysseus with relentless malice till the day when he reached his own country.
Poseidon, however, was now gone on a visit to the distant Ethiopians, in the most remote part of the world, half of whom live where the Sun goes down, and half where he rises. He had gone to accept a sacrifice of bulls and rams, and there he sat and enjoyed the pleasures of the feast. Meanwhile the rest of the gods had assembled in the palace of Olympian Zeus, and the Father of men and gods opened a discussion among them. He had been thinking of the handsome Aegisthus, whom Agamemnon’s far-famed son Orestes killed; and it was with Aegisthus in his mind that Zeus now addressed the immortals:
‘What a lamentable thing it is that men should blame the gods and regard us as the source of their troubles, when it is their own transgressions which bring them suffering that was not their destiny. Consider Aegisthus: it was not his destiny to steal Agamemnon’s wife and murder her husband when he came home. He knew the result would be utter disaster, since we ourselves had sent Hermes, the keen-eyed Giant-slayer, to warn him neither to kill the man nor to court his wife. For Orestes, as Hermes told him, was bound to avenge Agamemnon as soon as he grew up and thought with longing of his home. Yet with all his friendly counsel Hermes failed to dissuade him. And now Aegisthus has paid the final price for all his sins.’
What People are saying about this
Edward McCrorie's translation of the Odyssey answers the demands of movement and accuracy in a rendition of the poem. His verse line is brisk and efficient, often captures the rhythm and the sound of the Greek, and functions well as an English equivalent of the Greek hexameter. Unlike most translators, he wishes to preserve at least some of the sound of the Greek, and his rendition of the formula glaukôpis Athene as glow-eyed Athene is inspired. He remains true to the formulae of Homeric verse, and several of his choicessuch as rose-fingered daylight or words had a feathery swiftnessdelight. Homer, Zeus-like, would have nodded his approval.
This is a fine, fast-moving version of the liveliest epic of classical antiquity. With a bracing economy, accuracy, and poetic control, Edward McCrorie conveys the freshness and challenge of the original in clear, sensitive, and direct language. Instead of the uncertain solemnity of some previous translations or the free re-creation of others, McCrorie has managed a version that will have immediate appeal to this generation of students and general readers alike.
Meet the Author
Both the Iliad and the Odyssey are attributed to Homer, the first and greatest of the Greek poets. Homer's biographical dates are a matter of conjecture, as is his actual existence. Legend characterizes him as a blind minstrel who wandered Greece, singing his epic poems in the ancient oral tradition.
American artist and illustrator Newell Convers Wyeth (1882–1945) was a student of Howard Pyle. He created more than 3,000 paintings and illustrated more than 100 books. His home and studio in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, are designated as a National Historic Landmark.
American poet William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878) was also a lawyer, journalist, and long-time editor of the New-York Evening Post. He studied both Greek and Latin in his youth, and in his old age he revisited his love of the classics to write blank-verse translations of both the Iliad and the Odyssey.
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