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The great epic of Western literature, translated by the acclaimed classicist Robert Fagles
Robert Fagles, winner of the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, presents us with Homer's best-loved and most accessible poem in a stunning modern-verse translation. "Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy." So begins Robert Fagles' magnificent translation of the Odyssey, which Jasper Griffin in the New York Times Book Review hails as "a distinguished achievement."
If the Iliad is the world's greatest war epic, the Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of an everyman's journey through life. Odysseus' reliance on his wit and wiliness for survival in his encounters with divine and natural forces during his ten-year voyage home to Ithaca after the Trojan War is at once a timeless human story and an individual test of moral endurance. In the myths and legends retold here,
Fagles has captured the energy and poetry of Homer's original in a bold, contemporary idiom, and given us an Odyssey to read aloud, to savor, and to treasure for its sheer lyrical mastery. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox's superb introduction and textual commentary provide insightful background information for the general reader and scholar alike, intensifying the strength of Fagles's translation. This is an Odyssey to delight both the classicist and the general reader, to captivate a new generation of Homer's students. This Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition features French flaps and deckle-edged paper.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
I urge no longer; I have no more to say; for now the gods and all the Achaeans understand. But give me a swift ship with twenty comrades, to help me make a journey up and down the sea; for I will go to Sparta and to sandy Pylos, to learn about the coming home of my long-absent father. Perhaps some man may give me news or I may hear some rumor sent from Zeus, which oftenest carries tidings. If I shall hear my father is alive and coming home, worn as I am, I might endure for one year more. But if I
adulthood. Nor does Telemachus literally find what he seeks—his father or trustworthy news of his whereabouts; instead, he discovers his progenitor in himself. For Athene does not send him on some flight of escape to a new land that will be wholly his own and from which he will never return—a romantic discovery of selfhood in utter freedom, in isolation from the lowering authority of all fathers, predecessors, and precedents. Instead, she sends him into the country of the past, from which he
there were pretty dancing-grounds and haunts for nymphs. Then holding a council, I said to all my men: “ ‘Friends, there is food and drink enough on the swift ship; let us then spare the cattle, for fear we come to harm, for these are the herds and sturdy flocks of a dread god, the Sun, who all things oversees, all overhears.’ “So I spoke, and their high hearts assented. But all that month incessant south winds blew; there came no wind except from east and south. So long as they had bread and
floor, some of these suitors who devour your living. But let me make you strange to all men’s view. I will shrivel the fair flesh on your supple limbs, pluck from your head the yellow locks, and clothe you in such rags that they who see shall loathe the wearer. And I will cloud your eyes, so beautiful before, that you may seem repulsive to all the suitors here, and even to your wife and the son you left at home. But first seek out the swineherd, the keeper of your swine; for he is loyal, loving
inhuman worlds, some beautiful and some terrifying, against which we come to judge the values of the human community itself. The work thus sets the pattern of fabulous travel narratives from Dante’s Commedia to The Wizard of Oz to the revealingly titled 2001: A Space Odyssey. The tale suggests the upper and lower bounds of (particularly masculine) behavior when Odysseus carries human custom into the semidivine worlds of the Phaeacians and the Cyclopes, whose common descent from Poseidon