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The Odyssey

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Overview

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.

A retelling of Homer's epic that describes the wanderings of Odysseus after the fall of Troy.

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The Odyssey

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Overview

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.

A retelling of Homer's epic that describes the wanderings of Odysseus after the fall of Troy.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
Susan Sarandon reads an introduction by Tom Palaima as well as synopses of each book, all of which are included in a useful little booklet. Lombardo, a veteran of many performances of his translation, delivers the poem himself in a well-modulated, walnutty voice that occasionally roars out dramatically to handle the more exuberant, even bumptious, passages.
—Katherine A. Powers
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.
From the Publisher

"A lively, brief retelling with colorful, action-filled pictures."--Los Angeles Times Book Review

"This serious retelling of the Odyssey, illustrated with lush watercolors and line drawings, is a modern prose version of Homer's epic tale about Odysseus's return from Troy. A good introduction to Homer and an exciting story."--Reviews from Parent Council

"A real winner."--Children's Bookwatch

"McCaughrean's fine retelling of Odysseus' wanderings is a heroic tale in the truest sense of the It captures all the drama and bloodcurdling action of the original work while making the story accessible to young people in language that is still vigorous and expressive.... Illustrations by Victor Ambrus complement McCaughrean's style perfectly, their bold colors and lively portrayals displaying all the energy of the text."--Booklist

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."
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."
Bloomsbury 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.

— Jay Kenney

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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.

— G.S. Bowe

Choice

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.

Anglo-Hellenic Review

McCrorie has produced an epic with its own rhythms, idioms and developing pleasures.

Classical Bulletin

Bold new translation.

— Emily Anhalt

From Barnes & Noble
The greatest adventure story of all time, this epic work chronicles Odysseus's return from the Trojan War and the trials he endures on his journey home. Filled with magic, mystery, and an assortment of gods & goddesses who meddle freely in the affairs of men.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140383096
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/28/1997
  • Series: Puffin Classics Series
  • Edition description: ABR
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 160,202
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 7.58 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Homer

Homer was probably born around 725BC on the Coast of Asia Minor, now the coast of Turkey, but then really a part of Greece. Homer was the first Greek writer whose work survives.

He was one of a long line of bards, or poets, who worked in the oral tradition. Homer and other bards of the time could recite, or chant, long epic poems. Both works attributed to Homer – the Iliad and the Odyssey – are over ten thousand lines long in the original. Homer must have had an amazing memory but was helped by the formulaic poetry style of the time.

In the Iliad Homer sang of death and glory, of a few days in the struggle between the Greeks and the Trojans. Mortal men played out their fate under the gaze of the gods. The Odyssey is the original collection of tall traveller’s tales. Odysseus, on his way home from the Trojan War, encounters all kinds of marvels from one-eyed giants to witches and beautiful temptresses. His adventures are many and memorable before he gets back to Ithaca and his faithful wife Penelope.

We can never be certain that both these stories belonged to Homer. In fact ‘Homer’ may not be a real name but a kind of nickname meaning perhaps ‘the hostage’ or ‘the blind one’. Whatever the truth of their origin, the two stories, developed around three thousand years ago, may well still be read in three thousand years’ time.

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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Read an Excerpt

 ‘”Strangers!” he cried. “And who are you? Where do you come from over the watery ways? Is yours a trading venture; or are you cruising the main on chance, like roving pirates, who risk their lives to ruin other people?”

‘Our hearts sank. The booming voice and the very sight of the monster filled us with panic. Still, I managed to find words to answer him. “We are Achaeans,” I said, “on our way back from Troy – driven astray by contrary winds across a vast expanse of sea – we’re making our way home but took the wrong way – the wrong route – as Zeus, I suppose, intended that we should. We are proud to say that we belong to the forces of Agamemnon, Atreus’ son, who by sacking the great city of Ilium and destroying all its armies has made himself the most famous man in the world today. We find ourselves here as suppliants at your knees, in the hope that you may give us hospitality, or even give us the kind of gifts that hosts customarily give their guests. Good sir, remember your duty to the gods; we are your suppliants, and Zeus is the champion of suppliants and guests. He is the god of guests: guests are sacred to him, and he goes alongside them.”

‘That is what I said, and he answered me promptly out of his pitiless heart: “Stranger, you must be a fool, or must have come from very far afield, to order me to fear or reverence the gods. We Cyclopes care nothing for Zeus with his aegis, nor for the rest of the blessed gods, since we are much stronger than they are. I would never spare you or your men for fear of incurring Zeus’ enmity, unless I felt like it. But tell me where you moored your good ship when you came. Was it somewhere along the coast, or nearby? I’d like to know.”

‘His words were designed to get the better of me, but he could not outwit someone with my knowledge of the world. I answered with plausible words: “As for my ship, it was wrecked by the Earthshaker Poseidon on the borders of your land. The wind had carried us on to a lee shore. He drove the ship up to a headland and hurled it on the rocks. But I and my friends here managed t o escape with our lives.”

‘T this the gruel brute made no reply. Instead, he jumped up, and reaching out towards my men, seized a couple and dashed their heads against the floor as though they had been puppies. Their brains ran out on the ground and soaked the earth. Limb by limb he tore them to pieces to make his meal, which he devoured like a mountain lion, leaving nothing, neither entrails nor flesh, marrow nor bones, while we, weeping, lifted up our hands to Zeus in horror at the ghastly sight. We felt completely helpless. When the Cyclopes had filled his great belly with this meal of human flesh, which he washed down with unwatered milk, he stretched himself out for sleep among his flocks inside his cave.

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Table of Contents

Translator's Preface ix
Introduction xix
1 Trouble at Home 3
2 A Gathering and a Parting 16
3 In the Great Hall of Nestor 28
4 With Menelaos and Helen 43
5 A Raft on the High Seas 67
6 Laundry Friends 81
7 The Warmest Welcome 91
8 Songs, Challenges, Dances, and Gifts 101
9 A Battle, the Lotos, and a Savage's Cave 118
10 Mad Winds, Laistrugonians, and an Enchantress 135
11 The Land of the Dead 152
12 Evil Song, a Deadly Strait, and Forbidden Herds 171
13 A Strange Arrival Home 184
14 The House of the Swineherd 197
15 Son and Father Converging 213
16 Father and Son Reunited 229
17 Unknown in His Own House 243
18 Fights in the Great Hall 261
19 Memory and Dream in the Palace 274
20 Dawn of the Death-Day 292
21 The Stringing of the Bow 304
22 Revenge in the Great Hall 317
23 Husband and Wife at Last 332
24 Last Tensions and Peace 343
Notes 359
Names in the Odyssey 409
Bibliography 417
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