The Odyssey by Robert Fagles & Homer
(Penguin Classics)

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The Odyssey is an intensely human story. It is Odysseus' intelligence and above all, his capacity to endure, that finally sees him reinstalled on his throne, reunited with his wife and son.



The Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of every man's journey through life. In the myths and legends that are retold here, renowned translator Robert Fagles has captured the energy and poetry of Homer's original in a bold, contemporary idiom and given us an edition of The Odyssey to read aloud, to savor, and to treasure for its sheer lyrical mastery. This is an edition to delight both the classicist and the general reader, and to captivate a new generation of Homer's students.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Robert Fagles & Homer

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Homer is the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, the two greatest Greek epic poems. Nothing is known about Homer personally; it is not even known for certain whether there is only one true author of these two works. Homer is thought to have been an Ionian from the 9th or 8th century B.C. While historians argue over the man, his impact on literature, history, and philosophy is so significant as to be almost immeasurable. The Iliad relates the tale of the Trojan War, about the war between Greece and Troy, brought about by the kidnapping of the beautiful Greek princess, Helen, by Paris. It tells of the exploits of such legendary figures as Achilles, Ajax, and Odysseus. The Odyssey recounts the subsequent return of the Greek hero Odysseus after the defeat of the Trojans. On his return trip, Odysseus braves such terrors as the Cyclops, a one-eyed monster; the Sirens, beautiful temptresses; and Scylla and Charybdis, a deadly rock and whirlpool. Waiting for him at home is his wife who has remained faithful during his years in the war. Both the Iliad and the Odyssey have had numerous adaptations, including several film versions of each. Translator and professor Robert Fagles was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 11, 1933. He received a BA in English from Amherst College and a PhD in English from Yale University. While obtaining his degrees, he studied Latin and Greek on the side. He taught at Yale for one year and then joined the faculty at Princeton University as an English professor and remained there until he retired in 2002. While at Princeton, he created the university's department of comparative literature and received an honorary doctorate in June 2007. He was also a renowned translator of Latin and Greek. His first published translation was of the Greek poet Bacchylides (1961), which was followed by versions of The Oresteia by Aeschylus and the plays, Antigone, Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles. Fagles was best known for his versions of The Iliad (1990), The Odyssey (1996) and The Aeneid (2006). Instead of being an exacting literal translator, he sought to reinterpret the classics in a contemporary idiom which gave his translations a narrative energy and verve. He died of prostate cancer on March 26, 2008.
Published November 1, 1997 by Penguin Classics. 560 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Education & Reference, Children's Books, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Romance, Religion & Spirituality, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Odyssey
All: 8 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 2

Publishers Weekly

on Nov 04 1996

Robert Fagles's 1990 translation of The Iliad was highly praised; here, he moves to The Odyssey. As in the previous work, he adroitly mixes contemporary language with the driving rhythms of the original.

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Above average
Reviewed by Charlotte Higgins on Jan 29 2014

The Odyssey is an intensely human story. It is Odysseus' intelligence and above all, his capacity to endure, that finally sees him reinstalled on his throne, reunited with his wife and son.

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Teen Ink

Reviewed by Bapalapa2 on Jan 27 2014

There's definitely something for everyone: action, romance,tragedy, comedy, mythology and, of course, sex. If that does not interest you,I'm sure the graceful, well-balanced poetry of the ancient epic will.

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Curled Up

Reviewed by Pamela Crossland on Jan 01 2007

This is wonderful reading, more exciting than any tale George Lucas or Stephen Spielberg has taken to the big screen. I hope it is still taught in public schools and offered up with the excitement and verve it deserves.

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Book Review Circle

Reviewed by Sayan Mukherjee on Jun 12 2014

Absolutely brilliant. I have given a rating of '4' only because the translation cannot compare with the epic brilliance and flavor of the original. I plan to pursue classical studies in ancient Greek in the future so as to be able to read it in the original.

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She Reads Novels

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Reviewed by Helen on Dec 06 2013

It doesn’t seem right to just ‘review’ an epic like The Odyssey as I would any other book, but that’s what I’ve had to do as I really don’t feel that there’s much I can add to everything that’s already been said about it over the centuries. It’s actually been a lot harder to write about The Odyssey than it was to read it!

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Impressions In Ink

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Reviewed by Annette on Aug 09 2013

Why will I read another Greek mythology story? I don't have a philosophical or academic reason for wanting to read another Greek mythology story. The Odyssey has peaked my interest in something I'd ignored before (and for no good reason.) I'm quite certain The Iliad will be next.

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Reading World

Above average
Reviewed by Susan on Dec 15 2013

It’s a wonderful book to have read once. I know I’ll continue to seek out re-tellings of the tale, but I doubt I will re-read this one. However, I will eventually read Homer’s Iliad.

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