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The Odyssey

(Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Homer - Author

Robert Fagles - Translator

Bernard Knox - Introduction by

Bernard Knox - Notes by

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ISBN 9780140268867 | 560 pages | 01 Nov 1997 | Penguin Classics | 5.31 x 8.50in | 18 - AND UP
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Our beautiful editions of Robert Fagles's brilliant translations of Homer - now in Penguin Classics

If The Iliad is the world's greatest war epic, then The Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of everyman's journey though life. Odysseus's 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.

Translated by Robert Fagles
Introduction and Notes by Bernard Knox

I

Athene Visits Telemachus

Tell me, Muse, the story of that resourceful man who was driven to wander far and wide after he had sacked the holy citadel of Troy. He saw the cities of many people and he learnt their ways. He suffered great anguish on the high seas in his struggles to preserve his life and bring his comrades home. But he failed to save those comrades, in spite of all his efforts. It was their own transgression that brought them to their doom, for in their folly they devoured the oxen of Hyperion the Sun-god and he saw to it that they would never return. Tell us this story, goddess daughter of Zeus, beginning at whatever point you will.

All the survivors of the war had reached their homes by now and so put the perils of battle and the sea behind them. Odysseus alone was prevented from returning to the home and wife he yearned for by that powerful goddess, the Nymph Calypso, who longed for him to marry her, and kept him in her vaulted cave. Not even when the rolling seasons brought in the year which the gods had chosen for his homecoming to Ithaca was he clear of his troubles and safe among his friends. Yet all the gods pitied him, except Poseidon, who pursued the heroic Odysseus with relentless malice till the day when he reached his own country.

Poseidon, however, was now gone on a visit to the distant Ethiopians, in the most remote part of the world, half of whom live where the Sun goes down, and half where he rises. He had gone to accept a sacrifice of bulls and rams, and there he sat and enjoyed the pleasures of the feast. Meanwhile the rest of the gods had assembled in the palace of Olympian Zeus, and the Father of men and gods opened a discussion among them. He had been thinking of the handsome Aegisthus, whom Agamemnon’s far-famed son Orestes killed; and it was with Aegisthus in his mind that Zeus now addressed the immortals:

‘What a lamentable thing it is that men should blame the gods and regard us as the source of their troubles, when it is their own transgressions which bring them suffering that was not their destiny. Consider Aegisthus: it was not his destiny to steal Agamemnon’s wife and murder her husband when he came home. He knew the result would be utter disaster, since we ourselves had sent Hermes, the keen-eyed Giant-slayer, to warn him neither to kill the man nor to court his wife. For Orestes, as Hermes told him, was bound to avenge Agamemnon as soon as he grew up and thought with longing of his home. Yet with all his friendly counsel Hermes failed to dissuade him. And now Aegisthus has paid the final price for all his sins.’

The Odyssey Introduction

Introduction
The Spelling and Pronunciation of Homeris Names
Maps:
1. Homeric Geography: Mainland Greece
2. Homeric Geography: The Peloponnese
3. Homeric Geography: The Aegean and Asia Minor

Homer: The Odyssey
Book 1: Athena Inspires the Prince
Book 2: Telemachus Sets Sail
Book 3: King Nestor Remembers
Book 4: The King and Queen of Sparta
Book 5: Odysseus-Nymph and Shipwreck
Book 6: The Princess and the Stranger
Book 7: Phaeacia's Halls and Gardens
Book 8: A Day for Songs and Contests
Book 9: In the One-Eyed Giant's Cave
Book 10: The Bewitched Queen of Aeaea
Book 11: The Kingdom of the Dead
Book 12: The Cattle of the Sun
Book 13: Ithaca at Last
Book 14: The Loyal Swineherd
Book 15: The Prince Sets Sail for Home
Book 16: Father and Son
Book 17: Stranger at the Gates
Book 18: The Beggar-King of Ithaca
Book 19: Penelope and her Guest
Book 20: Portents Gather
Book 21: Odysseus Stings his Bow
Book 22: Slaughter in the Hall
Book 23: The Great Rooted Bed
Book 24: Peace

Notes
Translator's Postscript
Genealogies
Textual Variants from the Oxford Classical Text
Notes on the Translation
Suggestions for Further Reading
Pronouncing Glossary
Wonderfully readable... Just the right blend of roughness and sophistication. (Ted Hughes)

Robert Fagles is the best living translator of ancient Greek drama, lyric poetry, and epic into modern English. (Garry Wills, The New Yorker)

Mr. Fagles has been remarkably successful in finding a style that is of our time and yet timeless. (Richard Jenkyns, The New York Times Book Review)