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The Odyssey of Homer (Lawrence translation)
     

The Odyssey of Homer (Lawrence translation)

3.1 14
by Homer, T. E. Lawrence (Translator), Bernard Knox (Introduction)
 

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Colonel T.E. Lawrence was one of the most flamboyant figures of his era, known throughout the Western world as Lawrence of Arabia. Glory-seeking yet self-effacing, this soldier, archaeologist, spy, and scholar was a war hero whom Winston Churchill called "one of the greatest men of our time." Less well known were his abilities as historian and author,

Overview

Colonel T.E. Lawrence was one of the most flamboyant figures of his era, known throughout the Western world as Lawrence of Arabia. Glory-seeking yet self-effacing, this soldier, archaeologist, spy, and scholar was a war hero whom Winston Churchill called "one of the greatest men of our time." Less well known were his abilities as historian and author, which won him the admiration of such writers as Ezra Pound, W.H. Auden, and Robert Graves.
While stationed on a desolate R.A.F. outpost on the fringes of the Karachi desert in India, Lawrence began his acclaimed translation of The Odyssey. He devoted himself to the project for four years, and during that time he came to feel that he was uniquely suited to the task. "I have hunted wild boars and watched wild lions," he wrote. "Built boats and killed many men. So I have odd knowledges that qualify me to understand The Odyssey, and odd experiences that interpret it to me." Relying on an innate sense of language and truly gifted abilities at translation, Lawrence transformed Homer's Odyssey into mellifluous prose. The result was an overnight bestseller. The New York Herald Tribune hailed it "perhaps the most interesting translation of the world's most interesting book," and The New York Times called it "ruggedly and roughly masculine" and added that it "gives a vividness to the story beyond any other text familiar to us."
Lawrence breathes new life into the adventures of Odysseus, smoothing the reader's path through a fantastic array of monsters, temptresses, gods, and goddesses. For a generation of readers accustomed to verse translations of Homer, this bold and vivid prose version is well worth rediscovery.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The point of comparison between these two volumes is that neither will be well received by serious classicists. There have been at least ten previous editions of Lawrence's prose translation of the Odyssey . When it was first published in 1932, Lawrence's admittedly ``free'' translation was criticized by many as being too fast and loose with the original text. This and the colloquialisms that bothered critics then are all the more pronounced 60 years later. Nor does Bernard Knox give any discernible reason for the reissue of the work in his preface to the volume. Billed as a rediscovery, this is just new packaging of an old translation. Believing that the topography and the meteorology of the Mediterranean does not mesh with its descriptions in the Odyssey and the Iliad , Wilkens presents a compelling argument that moves the Trojan War to Western Europe and Troy to East Anglia near Cambridge. The ``Trojan War,'' he contends, was actually a Celtic battle that was fought hundreds of years before Homer's time and passed down to him by oral tradition. Wilkens redraws the map of the Trojan War, justifying each location with archaeological evidence or etymological analysis of place-names. The volume makes for interesting reading, albeit somewhat frustrating for one who is a Homerian by enthusiasm but not scholarship because most of the cited references are in languages other than English (this work has been translated from French). Libraries without Lawrence's translation can do without it, and only large libraries will want to consider adding Wilkens.-- Marjorie F. MacKenzie, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780760755501
Publisher:
Sterling Publishing
Publication date:
03/15/2004
Pages:
327
Product dimensions:
6.52(w) x 8.94(h) x 1.31(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Odyssey


By Homer

American Guidance Service

Copyright © 1994 Homer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1561036390


Chapter One

Book I

To the Muse.

*

The anger of Poseidon.

*

In Poseidon's absence,

a gathering of the gods in Zeus' halls on Olympus.

Athena's plea for help for the stranded Odysseus;

Zeus' consent.

*

Athena in the guise of Mentes visits Ithaca.

Her advice to Telemachus:

he is to confront the Ithacan elders

with the problem of the suitors

and to leave Ithaca to search

for news of his father.

*

Penelope's appearance among the suitors.

Her silencing of Phemius the singer.

Telemachus and the suitors:

their sharp exchange.

*

Nightfall:

Telemachus and his old nurse, Eurycle*¯¯a.

Muse, tell me of the man of many wiles,*

the man who wandered many paths of exile*

after he sacked Troy's sacred citadel.*

He saw the cities-mapped the minds-of many;*

and on the sea, his spirit suffered every*

adversity-to keep his life intact;*

to bring his comrades back. In that last task,*

his will was firm and fast, and yet he failed:*

he could not save his comrades. Fools, they foiled*

themselves: they ate the oxen of the Sun,*

the herd of Helios Hyperion;*

the lord of light requited their transgression-*

he took away the day of their return.*

Muse, tell us of these matters. Daughter of Zeus,*

my starting point is any point you choose.*

All other Greeks who had been spared the steep*

descent to death had reached their homes-released*

from war and waves. One man alone was left,*

still longing for his home, his wife, his rest.*

For the commanding nymph, the brightest goddess,*

Calypso, held him in her hollow grottoes:*

she wanted him as husband. Even when*

the wheel of years drew near his destined time-*

the time the gods designed for his return*

to Ithaca-he still could not depend*

upon fair fortune or unfailing friends.*

While other gods took pity on him, one-*

Poseidon-still pursued: he preyed upon*

divine Odysseus until the end,*

until the exile found his own dear land.*

But now Poseidon was away-his hosts,*

the Ethiopians, the most remote*

of men (they live in two divided parts-*

half, where the sun-god sets; half, where he starts).*

Poseidon, visiting the east, received*

the roasted thighs of bulls and sheep. The feast*

delighted him. And there he sat. But all*

his fellow gods were gathered in the halls*

of Zeus upon Olympus; there the father*

of men and gods spoke first. His mind upon*

the versatile Aegisthus-whom the son*

of Agamemnon, famed Orestes, killed-*

he shared this musing with the deathless ones:*

"Men are so quick to blame the gods: they say*

that we devise their misery. But they*

themselves-in their depravity-design*

grief greater than the griefs that fate assigns.*

So did Aegisthus act when he transgressed*

the boundaries that fate and reason set.*

He took the lawful wife of Agamemnon;*

and when the son of Atreus had come back,*

Aegisthus murdered him-although he knew*

how steep was that descent. For we'd sent Hermes,*

our swiftest, our most keen-eyed emissary,*

to warn against that murder and adultery:*

'Orestes will avenge his father when,*

his manhood come, he claims his rightful land.'*

Hermes had warned him as one warns a friend.*

And yet Aegisthus' will could not be swayed.*

Now, in one stroke, all that he owes is paid."*

Athena, gray-eyed goddess, answered Zeus:*

"Our father, Cronos' son, you, lord of lords,*

Aegisthus died the death that he deserved.*

May death like his strike all who ape his sins.*

But brave Odysseus' fate does break my heart:*

long since, in misery he suffers, far*

from friends, upon an island in the deep-*

a site just at the navel of the sea.*

And there, upon that island rich in trees,*

a goddess has her home: the fair-haired daughter*

of Atlas the malevolent (who knows*

the depths of every sea, for he controls*

the giant column holding earth and sky*

apart). Calypso, Atlas' daughter, keeps*

the sad Odysseus there-although he weeps.*

Her words are fond and fragrant, sweet and soft-*

so she would honey him to cast far off*

his Ithaca; but he would rather die*

than live the life of one denied the sight*

of smoke that rises from his homeland's hearths.*

Are you, Olympus' lord, not moved by this?*

Was not Odysseus your favorite*

when, on the spacious plain of Troy, beside*

the Argive ships, he sacrificed to you?*

What turned your fondness into malice, Zeus?"*

Zeus, shepherd of the clouds, replied: "My daughter,*

how can the barrier of your teeth permit*

such speech to cross your lips? Can I forget*

godlike Odysseus, most astute of men,*

whose offerings were so unstinting when*

he sacrificed to the undying gods,*

the masters of vast heaven? Rest assured.*

Only Poseidon, lord whose chariot runs*

beneath the earth, is furious-it was*

Odysseus who deprived the grandest Cyclops,*

the godlike Polyphemus, of his eye.*

(Thoosa-nymph whose father, Phorcys, keeps*

a close watch on the never-resting deep-*

gave birth to that huge Cyclops after she*

had lain in her deep sea-cave with Poseidon.)*

And ever since his son was gouged, the god*

who makes earth tremble, though he does not kill*

Odysseus, will not let him end his exile.*

But now we all must think of his return-*

of how to bring him home again. Poseidon*

will set aside his anger; certainly*

he cannot have his way, for he is only*

one god against us all, and we are many." NNN*

Athena, gray-eyed goddess, answered him:*

"Our father, Cronos' son, you, lord of lords,*

if now the blessed gods indeed would end*

the wanderings of Odysseus, let us send*

the keen-eyed Hermes to Calypso's isle,*

Ogy´gia. Let him there at once declare*

to her, the goddess with the lovely hair,*

our undeniable decree: Steadfast*

Odysseus is to find his homeward path.*

But I shall make my way to Ithaca*

at once, to give his son the strength to summon*

the long-haired Ithacans; when they assemble*

he can denounce-and scatter-all the suitors:*

they are forever slaughtering his sheep,*

his shambling oxen with their curving horns.*

Then off to sandy Pylos and to Sparta*

I'll send him to seek tidings of his father's*

return; he may yet hear some hopeful word-*

and men will then commend him for his search."*

That said, Athena fastened on fine sandals:*

these-golden, everlasting-carried her*

with swift winds over seas and endless lands.*

The goddess took her bronze-tipped battle lance,*

heavy and huge and solid; with this shaft,*

she-daughter of so great a force-can smash*

the ranks of warriors who've earned her wrath.*

One leap-and from Olympus' peaks she reached*

the land of Ithaca. She stood before*

Odysseus' door, the threshold of his court.*

She gripped the bronze-tipped shaft, and taking on*

the likeness of a stranger, she became*

lord Mentes, chieftain of the Taphians.*

She found the braggart suitors at the gate.*

Delighting in their dicing, they reclined*

on hides of oxen they themselves had skinned-*

with pages and attendants serving them,*

some mixing wine and water in wide bowls,*

while others washed the tables down with sponges*

and readied them for food, and others still*

stacked meat in heaps on platters-high and full.*

The very first to notice Mentes' presence*

was young Telemachus. He-sad, morose-*

sat with the suitors. In his reverie,*

he saw his sturdy father-would that he,*

returning suddenly, might banish these*

intruders from his palace and restore*

the rights and rule that had been his before.*

Such was the sadness of Telemachus,*

alone among the suitors, till he saw*

Athena; he rushed toward the outer door,*

ashamed that none had gone to greet the stranger.*

He drew near, clasped her right hand, even as*

his left relieved her of the heavy lance.*

And when he spoke, his words were like winged shafts:*

"My greetings, stranger. Welcome to our feast.*

Eat first-and then do tell us what you seek."*

He led the way; Athena followed him.*

Once they were in the high-roofed hall, he placed*

her lance against a column at whose base*

a polished rack, with slots for spears, was set;*

within that rack there stood still other shafts,*

the many spears that brave Odysseus left.*

He led the stranger to a tall chair, wrought*

with care; across its frame he spread rich cloth.*

There he invited her to sit and rest*

her feet upon a stool; and he himself*

sat nearby, on another well-carved chair,*

set far off from the suitors, lest his guest,*

in all that brouhaha, might look askance*

at feasting with such overbearing men-*

and, too, because he wanted so to gather*

what news he could about his distant father.*

That they might wash their hands, a servant poured*

fresh water from a lovely golden jug*

into a silver basin; at their side*

she placed a polished table. The old housewife*

was generous: she drew on lavish stores;*

to each of them she offered much and more.*

The carver offered meats of every sort,*

and for their wine he set out golden cups;*

and these-again, again-a page filled up.*

But then the suitors swaggered in; they sat,*

in order, on low seats and high-backed chairs.*

The pages poured fresh water for their hands,*

and servants brought them baskets heaped with bread.*

The suitors' hands reached out. The feast was theirs.*

When they had had their fill of food and drink,*

the feasters felt the need for chant and dance-*

at banquets, these are pleasing ornaments.*

A steward now consigned a handsome harp*

into the hands of Phemius, who was forced,*

from time to time, to entertain those lords.*

He struck the strings, and music graced his words.*

Then, as Telemachus turned toward his guest,*

lest he be overheard, he held his head*

close to the gray-eyed goddess-and he said:*

"Dear guest, will you be vexed at what I say?*

This harping and this chant delight these men,*

for all these goods come easily to them:*

they feed-but never need to recompense.*

They feast at the expense of one whose white*

bones, surely, either rot beneath the rain,*

unburied and abandoned on the land,*

or else are preyed upon by churning waves.*

Yet, were Odysseus to return, were they*

to see him here again, they would not pray*

for gold or richer clothes-just faster feet.*

But he has died by now, died wretchedly;*

and nothing can console us now, not even*

if some man on this earth should say my father*

will yet return. The day of his homecoming*

is lost: it is a day we'll never see.*

But tell me one thing-tell me honestly:*

Who are you? Of what father were you born?*

Where is your city, where your family?*

On what ship did you sail? Why did that crew*

bring you to Ithaca? And who were they?*

For surely you did not come here on foot!*

And also tell me truthfully-is this*

the first time you have come to Ithaca,*

or have you been my father's guest before?*

For many other foreigners have come*

to visit us-like you, my father knew*

the ways of many men and many lands."*

Athena, gray-eyed goddess, answered him:*

"My words to you are true: I'm Mentes, son*

of wise Anchialus; the Taphians,*

tenacious oarsmen, are the men I rule.*

Now I have landed here with ship and crew;*

we cross the winedark sea toward Temese-*

all this in search of copper. What we stow*

is gleaming iron, which we're set to barter.*

Outside the city, moored in Rhe*¯¯thron's harbor,*

close to the fields, beneath Mount Neion's forest,*

my ship is waiting. Years ago, your father*

and mine were guests and friends. (Just ask the brave*

Laertes-though they say he shuns the city;*

it seems that now he much prefers to grieve*

far off, alone, except for one old servant.*

She, when his body aches from the hard climb*

he makes, from slope to slope, to tend his vines,*

still carries food and drink right to his side.)*

NNN*

"Now I have come-for I had heard indeed*

that he, your father, had returned. Surely*

it is the gods who now obstruct his journey.*

For bright Odysseus has not died upon*

this earth: he is alive somewhere, delayed*

upon an island set among vast waves,*

held by harsh savages, against his will.*

I am no augur or interpreter*

of flights of birds, but now I shall foretell-*

even as the immortals prompt my soul-*

events my mind can see: Your father will*

not be kept back from his dear land much longer,*

though they may bind him fast in iron chains;*

he is a man of many wiles, who can*

contrive the way to reach his home again.*

But you-do tell me now with honesty:*

Are you, so tall, indeed Odysseus' son?*

Your head and handsome eyes resemble his*

extraordinarily; we two had met*

quite often in the days before he left*

for Troy, where others, too-the Argives' best-*

sailed in their hollow ships. But since then I*

have not seen him, and he has not seen me."*

Telemachus' reply was keen and wise:*

"Dear friend, I cannot be more frank than this.*

My mother says I am his son, but none*

can know for sure the seed from which he's sprung.*

In any case, would I had been the son*

of one so blessed that he grew old among*

his own belongings. I, instead, am born-*

or so they say-of one who surely was*

the most forsaken man, the most forlorn.*

Now you have had and heard my full response.&

Continues...

Continues...


Excerpted from The Odyssey by Homer Copyright © 1994 by Homer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Bernard Knox is the retired Director of the Center for Hellenistic Studies and one of America's foremost classics scholars. His most recent volume is Essays Ancient and Modern.

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The Odyssey of Homer 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Tiger_Holland More than 1 year ago
The Odyssey is a Greek epic clocking in at roughly 12,000 lines divided into twenty-four books (1-4 The Telemachy, 5-8 Odysseus' Homecoming, 9-12 The Great Wanderings, Odysseus on Ithaka, 13-24). The Odyssey was written after The Iliad, but though it takes place in the same universe, it's not really a sequel because The Iliad can be summarized as the Crazy War Between Massive Nation-Armies while The Odyssey is the Crazy Stuff That Happened to This One Guy. The stakes are smaller, and more personal. All epics have central driving themes and while The Iliad is the epic of menos, rage, The Odyssey is the epic of nostos: homecoming. For the most part, this isn't a tale of revenge and combat--all of Odysseus' trials and adventures are only happening because he's trying to get home to his wife and son, which makes The Odyssey so very different from The Iliad that it's possibly by a different author. Note on the translation: Crafting Greek dactylic hexameter into beautiful, readable English isn't easy, but this translation is a pleasure to read. You can see the poetry in the lines, where it's not just telling a story but making a presentation, and every page has a notation at the top, helpfully summarizing the action. The opening lines of the epic are a standard Muse invocation, introducing the subject and asking for inspiration: "Tell me, Muse, of the man of many ways, who was driven/ far journeys, after he had sacked Troy's sacred citadel." This also introduces the key concept of Ingenuity in the book, which is one of Odysseus' chief virtues. Most characters in this story get epithets, descriptors that show up as often as not when the character is mentioned, and Odysseus is called "resourceful Odysseus," "Odysseus of the many designs," and "the man of many turns" because he's a brainy action hero (think Sherlock Holmes...Indiana Jones...MacGuyver), and a skilled speaker. He can plot, plan, scheme, disguise himself, and use language like a weapon. His cleverness and versatility are contrasted with other characters, but particularly with Polyphemos the cyclops. Polyphemos' one eye represents his single-mindedness, and he is defeated because he can't examine a problem from multiple perspectives, which shown in the famous scene where Odysseus has blinded him and Polyphemos is yelling to the other cyclopes that "nobody" is hurting him because Odysseus said his name is Nobody. The cyclops doesn't understand trickery or double meanings, but Odysseus can use both to his advantage. His versatility and smarts are probably the chief reason that Athena, the goddess of wisdom, is his patroness and biggest fan. There's also a big Hospitality theme in the Odyssey, and everyone who is good or heroic can be recognized by the way they share food, offer shelter, and provide clothing for those who need it. Food is an especially big deal, and there's a right way to eat and a wrong way to eat--the cyclopes eat their guests, which is the ultimate abuse of hospitality. Penelope's suitors show their evilness by eating up all the food and making themselves at home on property that doesn't belong to them. The main challenge of reading The Odyssey comes in its non-linear narrative. Much is revealed in flashbacks, either in stories told by Odysseus himself or in songs performed by court poets, but epics really aren't worried about tangents--it's part of the whole package, these lengthy side trips away fr
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent and understandable translation. I wish I'd had it in high school. I wouldn't have waited sixty years to reread it.
chipafer More than 1 year ago
I find that Lattimore's translation is exemplary. He chooses a translation that is easy to follow, but doesn't stray far from the original ancient Greek. The NOOK version, however, tends to cut words completely in half at the end of various lines, unless it is in the smallest font size. All in all, an excellent purchase, and a must have for any Classics fan.
Bibliopotamus More than 1 year ago
Lattimore's translation preserves the dactylic hexameter of the original and therefore is very useful as a guide to translating from the original. There are many verse translations of The Odyssey, but this is certainly one of the best.
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Cohort # and name. Also weapons. The first two of the cohort that post a bio get centuron
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Female cohort #2 Godly parent Sancus Age 15 Weapons battle ax poisin spike club Centrum
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Messed up. Name..Du<_>mbass. Parent..Minerva Age..15 Weapon of choice..knives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bad transfer!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
21 feb 2011. downloaded this book this morning and lo and behold it was an Alexander Pope translation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago