The Odyssey of Homer [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 ...
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The Odyssey of Homer

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Overview

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 Pompilius.

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 all written tradition, concerning the author or authors of the Iliad and Odyssey.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940014249775
  • Publisher: Library of Alexandria
  • Publication date: 3/20/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 509 KB

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

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(12)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2005

    Great Translation

    Lattimore is the best tranlator of Ancient Greek I've seen. As a classics major I have translated numberous tragedies as well as both the Iliad and the Odyssey and Lattimore's translations have often helped me through some rough spots. If you want to get a true idea of the way the Greek was meant to be understood, your best bet is to read translations done by Lattimore.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2012

    An excellent use of his spare time

    Apparently aircraftsman Shaw (T.E. Lawrence; 'Lawrence of Arabia') occupied his spare time while hiding himself in the ranks of the RAF, translating Homer's Odyssey from the original Greek into accessible English. He therefore broke with the strictures of its verse and moved the epic poem into what is essentially, a great adventure story. It is also reported that he took, by some standards, excessive time in crafting the translation; working on particular sections time and again, until his skills as a wordsmith, brought him perfection in phrasing. It is hard work when you start reading but once you become accustomed to the flow of the text, it eases the effort. Some of the wording is, to me sublime. Two examples illustrate: ‘As he was running on, the Goddess broke into a smile and petted him with her hand. She waxed tall: she turned womanly: she was beauty’s mistress, dowered with every accomplishment of taste. Then she spoke to him in words which thrilled.’(p.189). ‘...for there is nothing so good and lovely as when man and wife in their home dwell together in unity of mind and disposition.’(p.89). Need I say more?

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2012

    ...

    What is up with the summary? Anyway, I loved this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    It is free!

    This is a translation by George Herbert Palmer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2000

    The Odyssey of Homer Review

    This book was vey invigorating and interesting, Richard Lattimore was (in my opinion) the best translators of his time.The Odyssey takes you on the voyage of Odyseus and makes it feel like you are right there beside the characters.This is a very good book to enjoy by the fire or anywhere one has room to read and keep thoughts clear.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    Bad OCR

    Like so many of these free books, this is a bad OCR version. Will need to deal with a lot of rubbish.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    NOT Lattimore...

    Very annoying that it would suggest otherwise in part of the promotional material. And of course in e-book world "all sales are final."

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2003

    ODYSSEY

    Very easy to understand, very good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2001

    The Odyssey of Homer, an eloquent masterpiece.

    The Odyssey of Homer by Richard Lattimore is an eloquent masterpiece. Richard¿s translation is highly recommended, intriques the reader, and easy to comprehend. This long narrative poem is about the journey of Odysseus. Captain of the Greeks, Royal King of Ithada, and Godlike, Odysseus, ceases the day when he defeats Troy. Odysseus proves his heroism through this intellectual strength, cleverness, and yet, his weakness. All of these superhuman traits are found in each of the sections of the book. The four broad sections of Odyssey are: The Adventures of Telemachos, The homecoming of Odyssseus, The Great Wanderings, and Odysseus on Ithaka.

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    Posted October 19, 2010

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