The Odyssey

The Odyssey

3.9 364
by Homer

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Most translations of The Odyssey are in the kind of standard verse form believed typical of high-serious composition in the ancient world. Yet some scholars believe the epic was originally composed in a less formal, phrase-by-phrase prosody. Charles Stein employs the latter approach in this dramatic, and in some ways truer, version. Famous episodes such as the…  See more details below


Most translations of The Odyssey are in the kind of standard verse form believed typical of high-serious composition in the ancient world. Yet some scholars believe the epic was originally composed in a less formal, phrase-by-phrase prosody. Charles Stein employs the latter approach in this dramatic, and in some ways truer, version. Famous episodes such as the sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, and the Cyclops, are rendered with previously unseen energy and empathy. The poem’s second half—where Odysseus, returned home to take revenge on his wife’s suitors—has extraordinarily subtle, “novelistic” features that are made more transparent in this version. There is also a special feel for the archaic dimensions of Homer—the world of gods and their complex relations to Fate and Being that other translators tend to deemphasize in order to make the poem feel “modern.” Most versions exclude or minimize the magical aspects of the poem, but Stein gives these elements full play, so that the spirit of a universe predating the classical era shines through. This vibrant version of The Odyssey shows readers not only what the Greeks thought about their gods but the gods themselves. Summaries preceding each chapter and a list of recommended websites help expand the experience.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Zwerger's (The Wizard of Oz) captivating cover image of the Mad Tea-Party for this edition of Carroll's 1865 tale conveys the psychological tension of the interior artwork: Alice, at the head of an elongated table with a pristine white linen cloth, stares at the pocket watch that the March Hare is about to lower into his cup of tea. The Hare, bug-eyed, gazes out at readers while the Mad Hatter to his right, wearing a hat box, fixates on a black upturned chapeau (in lieu of a place setting), and the Dormouse between them sleeps. Across the table, an empty red mug is placed in front of a vacant green chair, and a teacup and saucer trimmed in red seems to be set for the reader. The painting conveys the way in which Zwerger brilliantly manages both to invite readers into the story and to keep them at a distance. From the heroine's first appearance, as she falls down a well while chasing the White Rabbit, with a glimpse of orderly bookshelves at the upper left corner, Zwerger demonstrates the many layers to Alice's journey: a cutaway view reveals that the bulk of the other "shelves" are the result of rats and insects tunneling underground. The supporting cast conveys the artist's nearly sardonic perspective. The contrary caterpillar, with six of its eight arms crossed, would be at home in New York's East Village: instead of a hookah it smokes a cigarette and sips red wine, yet--unlike Sir John Tenniel's sedated counterpart--this caterpillar is lucid, defiantly staring out at an Alice (and readers) absent from the scene. Zwerger's penetrating interpretation reinvents Carroll's situations and characters and demands a rereading of the text. All ages. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Charles Dodgson wrote this story at the request of Alice Liddell, and for close to 150 years, it has been a favorite of young readers. Lisbeth Zwerger brings her award-winning artistic skill to the story and offers a very different look for a new generation. Her palette is brighter, the art has more of a layered look than in her previous works, and she offers more frontal views. The whimsy is there and the White Rabbit, Queen, Cheshire Cat and others will be quickly recognized. The illustrations range from full pages to spot art liberally sprinkled throughout the twelve chapters. The story can be read on one level as a magical adventure in which Alice faces a host of very strange things and variety of bizarre characters. It fills a child's need for fantasy and escape. The actual social commentary and satire will elude most contemporary readers, but it in no way diminishes the joy of reading this classic story.
The El Paso Times
Why didn't something like this come sooner. Maintains the dignity of Homer's work while folding comfortably and well into today's vernacular. allows reders to read this masterpiece as comfortably as a modern novel.
From the Publisher
“[Robert Fitzgerald’s translation is] a masterpiece . . . An Odyssey worthy of the original.” –The Nation

“[Fitzgerald’s Odyssey and Iliad] open up once more the unique greatness of Homer’s art at the level above the formula; yet at the same time they do not neglect the brilliant texture of Homeric verse at the level of the line and the phrase.” –The Yale Review

“[In] Robert Fitzgerald’s translation . . . there is no anxious straining after mighty effects, but rather a constant readiness for what the occasion demands, a kind of Odyssean adequacy to the task in hand, and this line-by-line vigilance builds up into a completely credible imagined world.”
–from the Introduction by Seamus Heaney

Stephen Coonts
Homer's ancient song, The Odyssey, is a treasure waiting to be discovered by every generation. Eickhoff's fresh, bold, contemporary translation rival's Fitzgerald's. I highly recommend it.

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Product Details

North Atlantic Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(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.’

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The Odyssey (Marvel Illustrated) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 364 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 2 days ago
Anonymous 5 days 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 30 days 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
If you people really need to pretend to be cats to be happy you need to rethink your life. I come to the reviews to see relevant opinions on the book I want to get not to see people pretend to be cats to make up for how "sucky" they think their lives are there's a million chatrooms you could have gone to but no, you had to go to a classic work of literature's review section to pretend to be cats. I'm sick of it and it needs to stop. Let me know if you feel the same way.
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What about nike? Shes a god