The great epic of Western literature, translated by the acclaimed classicist Robert Fagles
A Penguin Classic
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.
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. The first line reads: "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." Hellenic scholar Bernard Knox contributes extensive introductory commentary, providing both historical and literary perspective. Notes, a pronouncing glossary, genealogies, a bibliography and maps of Homer's world are included.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A true epic
As I'm sure many have figured out, there is already a free version of this. However, that was translated sometime before the Great Depression. Fagles' translation is far superior, and brings an old classic up to date on its translation. If you are going to read The Odyssey, then this will be worth your 12 bucks.
A Masterful Translation
Homer's work itself does not need any more praise; it's place among the classics is already firmly defined. This unfortunately leads to a number of translations which do not reflect the colloquial nature of the oral tradition by which "The Odyssey" was originally delivered. Fagles, in a masterful display of self control, manages a tone which is both stately and without excessive airs. It is often too easy to take the original text and see it's nobleness. It is indeed at the pinnacle of the ancient epic tradition. But Fagles here evidently goes to great pains to avoid this grievous mistake, instead highlighting the importance of the text by preserving its rhythm, and creating an atmosphere in which readers are more at ease to read and enjoy the work, as opposed to bowing in reverence.
Great telling of a great epic
This translation truly captures the humor, irony, and tragedy of the epic despite the language gap. This is the best version of the Odyssey.