The Odyssey: The Fitzgerald Translation

The Odyssey: The Fitzgerald Translation

NOOK Book(eBook)

$9.94 View All Available Formats & Editions
Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
Want a NOOK ? Explore Now

Overview

The Odyssey: The Fitzgerald Translation by Homer, D. S. Carne-Ross

Robert Fitzgerald's is the best and best-loved modern translation of The Odyssey, and the only one admired in its own right as a great poem in English. Fitzgerald's supple verse is ideally suited to the story of Odysseus' long journey back to his wife and home after the Trojan War. Homer's tale of love, adventure, food and drink, sensual pleasure, and mortal danger reaches the English-language reader in all its glory.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466801479
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 11/15/1998
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 510
Sales rank: 170,447
File size: 759 KB

About the Author

Robert Fitzgerald's versions of the Iliad, the Aeneid, and the Oedipus cycle of Sophocles (with Dudley Fitts) are also classics. At his death, in 1988, he was Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard.


Robert Fitzgerald's versions of the Iliad, the Aeneid, and the Oedipus cycle of Sophocles (with Dudley Fitts) are also classics. At his death, in 1985, he was Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard.


Homer is a legendary ancient Greek epic poet, traditionally said to be the creator of the epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey. Homer's works form the groundwork of the Western Canon and are universally praised for their genius. Their formative influence in shaping many key aspects of Greek culture was recognized by the Greeks themselves, who considered him as their instructor.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

BOOK I

A GODDESS INTERVENES

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "The Odyssey"
by .
Copyright © 1998 Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Inc..
Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
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.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents,
Title Page,
BOOK I - A GODDESS INTERVENES,
BOOK II - A HERO'S SON AWAKENS,
BOOK III - THE LORD OF THE WESTERN APPROACHES,
BOOK IV - THE RED-HAIRED KING AND HIS LADY,
BOOK V - SWEET NYMPH AND OPEN SEA,
BOOK VI - THE PRINCESS AT THE RIVER,
BOOK VII - GARDENS AND FIRELIGHT,
BOOK VIII - THE SONGS OF THE HARPER,
BOOK IX - NEW COASTS AND POSEIDON'S SON,
BOOK X - THE GRACE OF THE WITCH,
BOOK XI - A GATHERING OF SHADES,
BOOK XII - SEA PERILS AND DEFEAT,
BOOK XIII - ONE MORE STRANGE ISLAND,
BOOK XIV - HOSPITALITY IN THE FOREST,
BOOK XV - HOW THEY CAME TO ITHAKA,
BOOK XVI - FATHER AND SON,
BOOK XVII - THE BEGGAR AT THE MANOR,
BOOK XVIII - BLOWS AND A QUEEN'S BEAUTY,
BOOK XIX - RECOGNITIONS AND A DREAM,
BOOK XX - SIGNS AND A VISION,
BOOK XXI - THE TEST OF THE BOW,
BOOK XXII - DEATH IN THE GREAT HALL,
BOOK XXIII - THE TRUNK OF THE OLIVE TREE,
BOOK XXIV - WARRIORS, FAREWELL,
THE POEM OF ODYSSEUS,
BY ROBERT FITZGERALD,
A NOTE ON THE TEXT,
POSTSCRIPT,
CRITICAL WRITING ON THE ODYSSEY AND HOMERIC POETRY,
NOTES AND GLOSSARY,
ALSO AVAILABLE FROM FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX,
Notes,
Copyright Page,

Reading Group Guide

This teacher's guide is keyed to the Robert Fitzgerald translation of The Odyssey. By universal consensus, Fitzgerald's Odyssey is acknowledged to have an openness and immediacy unsurpassed by any other English translation.

Little is certain when it comes to the origins of The Odyssey or its partner epic, The Iliad. The Iliad is the prequel, as we would now call it, to The Odyssey in the legendary story of the Greek expedition to reclaim Helen from the city of Troy. Both epics circulated from the dawn of literacy under the name of Homer, but who this fabled poet was, and when and where he lived, remain riddles. Already some ancient critics doubted a single poet wrote both epics, and most modern scholars prefer to ascribe the creation and shaping of both stories to a tradition rather than to one or even two authors. Legends about the gods, and about a variety of heroes and their exploits, were in constant circulation and development, handed down from generation to generation. Over many centuries, bards developed highly formalized language to chant the stories in public performances. As the scenes of performances in The Odyssey suggest, these singers had a large repertoire of tales from which they chose when aiming to satisfy a particular audience's demand, or more likely the request of the local lord. The material was familiar, and the language traditional, indeed formulaic, so that a good singer could always improvise, in proper style and meter, a song that suited the performance situation in theme, episodes, details, scope, and tone. All the songs, as far as we can tell, gave audiences a vision of their ancestors, people more glorious and admirable than the singer's contemporaries, whether in victory or in defeat. In their greatness, in their heroic pursuit of glory and undying fame, the epic characters defined the heroic code the listeners, at least initially members of a warrior class, were to follow. What conferred undying fame was epic song itself: listeners of epic would have aspired to become the subject of song for subsequent generations.

There must have been many signal events, many great moments in the history of epic before The Iliad and The Odyssey achieved the forms in which we know them, but two appear, in retrospect, to have been supremely significant. Many towns and settlements were sacked as peoples jockeyed for land and power in what is now Greece and Turkey, but it seems that a city known as Troy, or Ilium, on the northwest coast of Asia Minor, near the strait known as the Dardanelles, and for that strategic reason a significant power, was the frequent target of marauding attacks and sieges. One of the most devastating destructions it suffered fell shortly before or after 1200 B.C.E., some 3,200 years before our time. Around this destruction there seem to have coalesced stories of a Greek army on a mammoth campaign to sack the fortified city which sat astride sea and land lanes to the richer east. What was the reason for the expedition? Not greed and power politics--so legend has it-- but the drive to recover something yet more precious: Greek honor in the shape of Helen, the beautiful wife of Meneláos, King of Sparta. Helen, the story goes, had been abducted by Paris, the handsome Trojan prince. And so the tale was spun backward.

The legendary campaign against Troy took ten years. The Iliad, long though it is, narrates a crucial patch of the tenth year only, when Akhilleus, the greatest hero of the Greeks, fell out with the Greek commander in chief, Agamémnon, Meneláos' brother. By the end of The Iliad, Akhilleus has lost his companion, Patróklos, but has killed the great Trojan hero, Hektor. Troy was doomed, though its fall occurred in the cycle of stories, now mere fragments, that follow The Iliad, but not before Akhilleus himself met his death. The storytelling cycle continued with stories of the homecomings of the various Greek heroes, and it is the homecoming of the craftiest of those heroes, Odysseus, deviser of the Trojan horse itself, that is told in The Odyssey. Odysseus' journey is the longest of all the heroes'--up to another ten years, given the wanderings and delays--and he faces almost fatal odds when he returns home, but his is the only truly successful homecoming. But no more of that now, since it is The Odyssey you are about to read.

The other signal moment in the development of the two Homeric poems seems to have fallen in the eighth century B.C.E., for reasons that are hard to pin down. Whether by destiny or by luck, there was a happy conjunction of, on the one hand, one or two singers who had so mastered the traditional material and style that they could spin out monumental versions of these two episodes of the Trojan cycle, extraordinary in size, subtlety, and complexity of design, and, on the other hand, the introduction of writing from the Near East. Whether our great singer or singers--we might as well let him (or them) bear the name "Homer"--were literate or not, within one or two generations these two poems were beginning their own odyssey as texts, written in an alphabet adapted from Phoenician letters first on scraps of hide, then on papyrus rolls, centuries later in vellum codices or books, and finally printed on paper, whether in scholarly editions of the Greek original or in translations in many languages like the one you have before you.

To say that this journey of Homer's poem rivals Odysseus' own journey is to say a great deal, for not unjustly have Odysseus' long and perilous travels given the name to all wanderings of epic proportions. It takes him ten years to travel from Troy, on the northwest coast of Asia Minor, to his island kingdom of Ithaka, off the west coast of mainland Greece. The distance in miles is not the point. He travels far beyond the "real" world, visiting the fierce Laistrygonês and monstrous Kyklopês, Aiolos, King of the Winds, the dreamy land of Lotos Eaters, and passing Skylla and Kharybdis, rarely without losing some of his companions. He spends longer periods of time with the enchantress Kirkê and, after all his crew have perished, with the nymph Kalypso. But always he presses homeward. When, with the aid of Athena and the Phaiákians, he reaches Ithaka, the homecoming, and the poem, are but half accomplished. He must disguise himself and marshal a few allies before he can win back his very hearth and hall from the small army of suitors who have lain siege to his wife, Penélopê. She is a crafty and cunning force to be reckoned with, more than a match in wits for her suitors, and even at times for Odysseus himself. The second half of the poem is a story of disguise, misleading tales, and recognitions, of reunion not only of a husband and a wife, but of two father-son pairs. At the end, generations are reconciled, and civic strife averted.

For how long, no one can say. Cycles continue, legends go on and on, because Homeric poems end "in the middle of things," as they begin. What has continued without end is the reading of The Odyssey. At the beginning of the poem, Homer asks the Muse, guarantor of epic memory, to sing through him. The Muse still sings in the pages of your book, and she is eager to begin. Attend her, and wonder.

The questions, exercises, and assignments that follow are designed not only to guide your students through The Odyssey and to help them approach it primarily as a compelling narrative that speaks to us directly today, but also to unlock an artifact from another time and place and culture that challenges us to consider what is human and universal, what is culture-bound and relative. The Odyssey is at once an archaeological treasure and a great read, an adventure story and a time machine. As a compelling narrative, questions will spring to mind, for The Odyssey is the story of a family reunited against all odds. The saga of Odysseus, Penélopê, and Telémakhos is a recognizable family drama, and many other figures are recognizable today. Can't you imagine Telémakhos and Nausikaa among your students? Or Odysseus and Penélopê, or Helen and Meneláos, among others, as their parents?

To prepare your students to appreciate the second aspect, you may want to show them images from Greece and other Eastern Mediterranean cultures from ca. 2000 B.C.E. to 500 B.C.E. to help them visualize the world in which the Homeric heroes and Homeric audiences lived. If you can arrange a field trip to a local museum which has a collection of Greek antiquities, so much the better. You may also want to have them develop a time line from the Bronze and Iron Ages to the present on which you can help them plot the fall of Troy and the final phase of the development of the Homeric poems (as above) against the events of other cultures. Independent of such specifics, one should ask what it means for readers today to overhear the voices of so fundamentally "other a culture." To what extent should we be prepared to suspend our own deeply ingrained moral expectations and accept the fact that Odysseus and his family, for example, own slaves? Is studying a culture from the past essentially different from studying a foreign culture contemporary to ours? How does The Odyssey itself present the reader with questions about cultural difference?

As an epic which is meant to memorialize a culture's heroes, The Odyssey is dense with names and details. Encourage your students to keep a journal of their reading and to bring to class any and all questions that occur to them as they read. Finally, don't forget that The Odyssey was, and in your translation is, poetry. Have each student select and prepare one or more passages he or she finds particularly significant or intriguing and then read it aloud to the class with feeling and dramatic gesture. You could also have pairs or small groups of students do a concerted reading or even perform certain key scenes from the text: for example, the recognitions of Odysseus by Telémakhos, Eur´ykleia, Penélopê, and Laërtês.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Odyssey (Marvel Illustrated) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 393 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.
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!
Phronesis More than 1 year ago
This is generally acknowledged by scholars to be (one of) the finest translations of Homer's Odyssey.
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok so my 9th grade english class is reading it and I really didn't think I'd like it but once we got into the story I found that I really liked it! :) I Love the story line, how Odyssues is trying to get home to his wife, Peneople, and his son Telemachus......And how Odyssues has to go throught so many things to reach his goal.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for 9th grade English and I didn't think I would like it at first, but then I really started enjoying it, and now I really like it.
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
Awesome
bibliophile26 on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
Before now, I'd only read portions of this that were assigned in high school and college. Reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (see book 55) inspired me to read it from cover to cover. It is a great classic book, but the repetition of things (Odysseus' story was retold to many people) drove me crazy and I thought Odysseus was never going to reveal his identity and confront the suitors. Now I need to reread The Iliad. I'm going to try to read at least one classic book each summer.
auntieknickers on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
Still a classic translation although there are several more recent.
hlselz on LibraryThing 22 hours ago
I've read this one twice for school and I really like it. Its all about life, and the struggle to find ourselves, and our way home.
lyzadanger on LibraryThing 1 days ago
Having trouble getting through the more academic poetic translations? I totally recommend the modern prose tranlsation by Eickhoff. Reads more like a novel than an esoteric, long-ago epic. Not that he can erase Homer's overarching misogynism, but that's a story for another day ;).
TerrapinJetta on LibraryThing 1 days ago
Good fun to read, the end in this translation though seems to descend into rambling nonsense. A lot of it didn't really seem to make much sense, but the poetry of it carries you away so you don't really care anyway. I'd say this was a lot easier to read than say, Dickens, or somebody, for those who think they might be put off by the language/age of the text.
tcarter on LibraryThing 7 days ago
How do I meaningfully review a piece of work that has been around so long and is part of the foundation of all western literature? If you've read it, you'll know how great it is, and if you're thinking about reading it, then do so. Don't be afraid. It is great literature, but it's also a great read. It's deep but it's readable, it's tragic and it's comic. What strikes me is that you can imagine meeting the characters today, despite them having been written thousands of years ago, in another language, in another place. Sheer, accessible, genius.
clothingoptional on LibraryThing 7 days ago
Don't read this book - listen to it. Epic poetry is meant to be recited...
dawnpen on LibraryThing 7 days ago
The sea repeats. The day repeats. The night repeats. And home, home is the ultimate repetition.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Timeless
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GREATGREARGREATGREATGREATGREATGREAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!! IT WAS THE BEST BOOK EVER