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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.
marries Orestes, the avenging son of Agamemnon. The Odyssey, however, does not specifically allude to such an outcome. 18 (p. 40) child of Zeus: Homer does not specify the manner of Helen’s descent from Zeus. Other sources explain that Zeus took the form of a swan to rape Helen’s mother, Leda, resulting in the birth of four children from eggs: Helen, Clytaemnestra, Castor, and Polydeuces. The two males became symbols of loyalty (see p. 138) and the two females of betrayal, illustrating the
would have no joy, however great her longing, over his coming; but here he should meet shameful death, fighting with more than he. You spoke unwisely! Come, people, then, turn to your own affairs! For this youth here, Mentor shall speed his voyage, and Halitherses too, for they are from of old his father’s friends; but I suspect he still will sit about, gather his news in Ithaca, and never make the voyage.” He spoke, and hastily dissolved the assembly. So they dispersed, each to his home; but
lack the wisdom of Odysseus, there is good hope you will one day accomplish all. Disregard, then, the mind and mood of the mad suitors, for they are in no way wise or upright men. Nothing they know of death and the dark doom which now is near, nor know how all shall perish in a day. But for yourself, the voyage you plan shall not be long delayed. So truly am I your father’s friend, I will provide you a swift ship and be myself your comrade. But you go to the palace, mix with the suitors, and
its lord. So living here we had been much together; and nothing further could have parted then our joyous friendship till death’s dark cloud closed round. But God himself must have been envious of a life like this, and made that hapless man alone to fail of coming.” So he spoke, and stirred in all a yearning after tears. Then Argive Helen wept, the child of Zeus;18 Telemachus too wept, and Menelaus, son of Atreus; nor yet did Nestor’s son keep his eyes tearless. For in his mind he mused on good
behind his father, glorious in form and beauty, some god or man upset the balanced mind within, and off he went for tidings of his father to hallowed Pylos. And now the lordly suitors watch for his coming home, hoping to have the race of prince Arceisiusao blotted from Ithaca and left without a name. However, let us leave him too, whether he falls or flies, or whether the son of Kronos holds over him his arm. But come, old man, relate to me your troubles; and tell me truly this, that I may know