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The Odyssey

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Customer Review Snapshot

4.2 out of 5 stars
122 total reviews
5 stars
54
4 stars
43
3 stars
21
2 stars
4
1 star
0
Most helpful positive review
Experienced an unplanned event while traveling? Or feel like you are living through an epic of misfortune that will not end? Or just having a really bad day? If you answered yes to any of these questions then rush to your shelves and re-read a chapter of Odysseus' travails on his way home. [Pause for you to finish reading chapter]. OK, deep breath, now your problems don't seem so bad, do they? Recommended for all adventurers who need more perspective.

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The Odyssey

Specifications

Publisher
Simon & Brown
Book Format
Hardcover
Number of Pages
352
Author
Homer
ISBN-13
9781613828762
Publication Date
December, 2011
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
9.00 x 6.00 x 0.94 Inches
ISBN-10
1613828764

Customer Reviews

5 stars
54
4 stars
43
3 stars
21
2 stars
4
1 star
0
Most helpful positive review
4 customers found this helpful
Experienced an unplann...
Experienced an unplanned event while traveling? Or feel like you are living through an epic of misfortune that will not end? Or just having a really bad day? If you answered yes to any of these questions then rush to your shelves and re-read a chapter of Odysseus' travails on his way home. [Pause for you to finish reading chapter]. OK, deep breath, now your problems don't seem so bad, do they? Recommended for all adventurers who need more perspective.
Most helpful negative review
1 customers found this helpful
Okay, I finally forced...
Okay, I finally forced myself to read it after all these years, and I found it boring,lengthy, slow reading, who cares! The gods are mad at Odysseus, so they put him through hell getting home. He's forced to sleep with a bevy of minor goddesses while his wife is plagued by slimy suitors at home. His son goes in search of him, but after slogging through nearly 200 pages, I gave up. Skip the book and watch "O, brother, Where art Thou?" Far more entertaining!
Most helpful positive review
4 customers found this helpful
Experienced an unplann...
Experienced an unplanned event while traveling? Or feel like you are living through an epic of misfortune that will not end? Or just having a really bad day? If you answered yes to any of these questions then rush to your shelves and re-read a chapter of Odysseus' travails on his way home. [Pause for you to finish reading chapter]. OK, deep breath, now your problems don't seem so bad, do they? Recommended for all adventurers who need more perspective.
Most helpful negative review
1 customers found this helpful
Okay, I finally forced...
Okay, I finally forced myself to read it after all these years, and I found it boring,lengthy, slow reading, who cares! The gods are mad at Odysseus, so they put him through hell getting home. He's forced to sleep with a bevy of minor goddesses while his wife is plagued by slimy suitors at home. His son goes in search of him, but after slogging through nearly 200 pages, I gave up. Skip the book and watch "O, brother, Where art Thou?" Far more entertaining!
1-5 of 122 reviews

Rereading this I cant...

Rereading this I can't believe I once found Homer boring. In my defense, I was a callow teen, and having a book assigned in school often tends to perversely make you hate it. But then I had a "Keats conversion experience." Keats famously wrote a poem in tribute to a translation of Homer by Chapman who, Keats wrote, opened to him "realms of gold." My Chapman was Fitzgerald, although in this reread I tried the Fagles translation and really enjoyed it. Obviously, the translation is key if you're not reading in the original Greek, and I recommend looking at several side by side to see which one best suits. A friend of mine who is a classicist says she prefers the Illiad--that she thinks it the more mature book. I love the Illiad, but I'd give Odyssey a slight edge. Even just reading general Greek mythology, Odysseus was always a favorite, because unlike figures such as Achilles or Heracles he succeeded on his wits, not muscle. It's true, on this reread, especially in contrast to say the Illiad's Hector, I do see Odysseus' dark side. The man is a pirate and at times rash, hot-tempered, even vicious. But I do feel for his pining for home and The Odyssey is filled with such a wealth of incident--the Cyclops, Circe, Scylla and Charybdis, the Sirens--and especially Hades, the forerunner of Dante's Hell. And though my friend is right that the misogynist ancient Greek culture isn't where you go for strong heroines, I love Penelope; described as the "matchless queen of cunning," she's a worthy match for the crafty Odysseus. The series of recognition scenes on Ithaca are especially moving and memorable--I think my favorite and the most poignant being that of Odysseus' dog Argos. An epic poem about 2,700 years old, in the right translation it can nevertheless speak to me more eloquently than many a contemporary novel.

Its good to meet clas...

It's good to meet classics in person after being distant acquaintances who know one another just well enough to nod in passing. Now I can shake The Odyssey heartily by the hand when I meet it in other stories, hail-well-met. And meet it in other stories I will, this revered grandfather of the revenge story and the travelogue. Besides being a classic, The Odyssey is a fascinating tale in its own right of strange wonders and awful dangers, of the faithful and the faithless, of wrongs committed and retribution meted out. Odysseus, Achaean hero of the Trojan War, has been ten years fighting at Troy and another ten making his way home. Imprisoned by a nymph, shipwrecked, lost, waylaid - Odysseus, beloved of some gods, is hated by others. Meanwhile at home in Ithaca, many have despaired of his coming, including his wife Penelope and son Telemachus, who now suffer at the hands of Penelope's suitors, leading men of the Achaeans who wish to possess her. Odysseus will never return, they say, as they sit in his house eating and drinking up all his wealth. Telemachus is just a young man and cannot prevent their ravages. The situation is indeed desperate, as Penelope, worn out with mourning Odysseus, begins to accept her fate to become another man's wife. Once I got used to it, I loved the repetition of certain phrases and descriptions: "long-tried royal Odysseus," "discreet Telemachus," "heedful Penelope," "clear-eyed Athena," "the gods who hold the open sky," "rosy-fingered dawn," "on the food before them they laid hands," and more. It reminded me that I was hearing a poem (I listened on audiobook) and that it was originally memorized by the bard, not read off the page. The repetition is comforting. It was easy to fall into the rhythm of the story and the archaic language, surrendering to the storyteller's art. I find the interplay between the gods and men so interesting. I don't know if The Odyssey is an accurate picture of ancient Greek theology and I don't want to draw too many conclusions from what was understood even at the time to be mythological. But I had a similar experience listening to The Iliad - the gods are great and powerful and all that, but they are so very involved in human affairs, almost as if they can't bear to be left out... why should Athena care so much whether Odysseus ever gets home? Why is it that human affairs so concern the councils of Olympus? I suppose the simple answer is that these stories were made up by humans and since the thing that interests us most is ourselves, we can't imagine gods who aren't likewise fascinated. I listened to an older translation by George Herbert Palmer and I'm glad I did. My experience of The Iliad was marred by the fact that it was a modernized translation, the latest and greatest supposedly. But all that really means is that it was dumbed-down for lazy listeners, to the point where some of the heroic moments almost became comical in our modern parlance. No thank you! I'm no expert in translation, but this one presented no jarring moments of disconnect between the style and substance, and I thought it fitted the subject matter very well. The reader of this particular audiobook, Norman Dietz, has a low, smooth, calm voice that I quickly learned to like. This is an excellent story that never slackens its pace or lets you stop caring what happens to its hero. Don't be intimidated by its status as a classic - all that means is that it's a good story that has stood the test of time, delighting its hearers both in ancient days and now. I recommend it!

Experienced an unplann...

Experienced an unplanned event while traveling? Or feel like you are living through an epic of misfortune that will not end? Or just having a really bad day? If you answered yes to any of these questions then rush to your shelves and re-read a chapter of Odysseus' travails on his way home. [Pause for you to finish reading chapter]. OK, deep breath, now your problems don't seem so bad, do they? Recommended for all adventurers who need more perspective.

Emily Wilsons transla...

Emily Wilson's translation of The Odyssey is my third; I read Robert Fagles' and Stanley Lombardo's before this. You can't go wrong with any of them - Fagles' is lyrical but modern, Lombardo's is admirably plain-speaking and fast-paced, and Wilson's is swift, smart and exciting. But Wilson's is my favorite now, and the one I'd recommend to someone dipping in for the first time. Caroline convinced me to read Wilson's introduction, and I'm glad I did. It's a corker. She explains The Odyssey this way: "We encounter a surprising range of different characters and types of incident: giants and beggars, arrogant young men and vulnerable old slaves, a princess who does laundry and a dead warrior who misses the sunshine, gods, goddesses, and ghosts, brave deeds, love affairs, spells, dreams, songs, and stories. Odysseus himself seems to contain multitudes: he is a migrant, a pirate, a carpenter, a king, an athlete, a beggar, a husband, a lover, a father, a son, a fighter, a liar, a leader, and a thief. He is a man who cries, takes naps, and feels homesick, but he is also a man who has a special relationship with the goddess who transforms his appearance at will and ensures that his schemes succeed." As she says, this isn't the usual hero who saves the world or "at least changes it in some momentous way"; instead, "for this hero, mere survival is the most amazing feat of all". The story raises "important questions about the moral qualities of this liar, pirate, colonizer, deceiver, and thief, who is so often in disguise, absent or napping, while other people - those he owns, those he leads- suffer and die, and who directly kills so many people." This complexity is what continues to fascinate me, and has led me through three translations and re-reads. What is so outstanding about this translation? "The Odyssey is a poem, and it needs to have a predictable and distinctive rhythm that can be easily heard when the text is read out loud. The original is in six-footed lines (dactylic hexameters), the conventional meter for archaic Greek narrative verse. I used iambic pentameter, because it is the conventional meter for regular English narrative verse - the rhythm of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, Keats, and plenty of more recent anglophone poets . . . my translation sings to its own regular and distinctive beat. My version is the same length as the original, with exactly the same number of lines. I chose to write within this difficult constraint because any translation without such limitations will tend to be longer than the original, and I wanted a narrative pace that could match its stride and Homer's nimble gallop." I can't speak to the original, but hers certainly has stride and nimble gallop. She also leans toward simplicity of language, "in a style that echoes the rhythms and phrasing of contemporary anglophone speech." She notes that "stylistic pomposity is entirely un-Homeric". Occasionally (rarely, really) this results in what to me is an odd word choice, e.g. carrying weapons in a "hamper" - really? But overall it succeeds beautifully. Some examples: At a light touch of whip, the horses flew, Swiftly they drew toward their journeys' end, on through fields of wheat, until the sun began to set and shadows filled the streets. Helen, on the events in Troy: The Trojan women keened in grief, but I was glad - by then I wanted to go home. I wished that Aphrodite had not made me go crazy, when she took me from my country, and made me leave my daughter and the bed I shared with my fine, handsome, clever husband. Circe confronting Odysseus: "Who are you? Where is your city? And who are your parents? I am amazed that you could drink my potion and yet not be bewitched. No other man has drunk it and withstood the magic charm. But you are different. Your mind is not enchanted. You must be Odysseus, the man who can adapt to anything." Odysseus and Athena are natural partners. As she says, "To outwit you in all your tricks, a person or a god would need to be an expert at deceit. You clever rascal! So duplicitous, so talented at lying! You love fiction and tricks so deeply, you refuse to stop even in your own land. Yes, both of us are smart. No man can plan and talk like you, and I am known among the gods for insight and craftiness." He is such a liar! And it's so deeply engrained that he lies even when he doesn't need to. But his lies always carry a greater message: "His lies were like the truth/ and as she listened, she began to weep." If you haven't read The Odyssey before, you probably know the basics of the story by osmosis. But that's nothing like experiencing this ancient yet so modern story. Emily Wilson has brought an intelligence, rhythm and excitement to it that to me is the best yet. Have some fun reading an old classic; it's a treat.

At the very dawn of au...

At the very dawn of authentic history, some 1000 BC, the Greeks were chanting out the poems of Homer throughout the Aegean. And ever since. And the sooner anyone joins in, continuously, the better. Little of Homer is known, be he man or she woman. So often, Founders are shadowy, from dim beginnings great lights. By the time their import is comprehended, they themselves are gone. And perhaps all creative work is marked by many minds. Into the Odyssey much is infused. It is a mass of history, legend, myth, ideals, manners and modes and matured. Nothing, nothing about it, is primitive or undone. Compared to the Iliad, the Odyssey is more even in style, conformed to plot, and harmonious in presentation of characters and events. [ix] Its unity is conspicuous. The plot assumes the ten-year Trojan War ended with the victors returning to Greece laden with plunder. All but one. For another ten years, Odysseus (Ulysses to the Romans) wandered the seas and islands whose lord he had offended. Poseidon here plays like an instrument all the circumstances over which mind must struggle, elements and afflictions, forces living and natural. This theme of mind over matters is passed to us from the Greek genius. The poem has a natural division into two parts. The first 12 books relate the homeward journey--at sea, among the islands and peoples, gods and phantoms. The 12 books of the second part give the report of the recovery by Odysseus of his kingdom, at home. The struggle entirely shifts from the enchanted to the human, from the voyager sea to the castle in Ithaca. The tension is now dramatic rather than incidental. This part has a sustained psychological power bearing on the final catastrophe--the slaughter of Penelope's suitors. A unifying theme of the work across both halves is eating -- unlike the Iliad which has constant fighting, the Odyssey is a series of banquets and occasions to dine. Which leads me to this observation: The dominant forces in the poem are women. The men who appear are admirable in ways women admire: Odysseus, known for his wisdom and resourcefulness, and others -- Telemachus, Eumaeus, Antinotis, Laertes, and Eurymachus-- strong, loyal, bearing responsibility. But for the entire odyssey, Athena is the prime mover. The nymphs Calypso and Circe are most formidable, and Ino and Leucothea most resourceful. When Odysseus meets the dead in Hades, there are as many women as men. In the Ithacan household, women are conspicuous and equal figures, and even the handmaid Melantho has a strong part. In short, woman is the equal comrade, respected, appreciated, looked to. The women of Homer's time did not live in isolation, nor in the thrall of a king. Harems were never characteristic to the Greeks. Helen sits in the hall with Menelaus, Arete in the hall with Alcinotis, and of course, Penelope has her run of the castle unattended, as is Nausica with her maids in the country. [xxiii] All are treated with dignity and major roles. Women have lost in the intervening ages what they once had. As to style, similes are common, metaphors rare. [xxiv] The thing and that with which it is compared remain two, separate, as in life. There is a "child-like" quality in this story-telling. And, with this ancient tale, no "spoiler-alert" can be given: The Ending is Wonderful! This iteration contains Questions and a Pronouncing Vocabulary.

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Electrode, Comp-812499160, DC-prod-az-southcentralus-15, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-30.0.3, SHA-fe0221a6ef49da0ab2505dfeca6fe7a05293b900, CID-e029d9ea-328-16e8186dc99370, Generated: Tue, 19 Nov 2019 02:38:49 GMT