The Odyssey, Paperback
4 out of 5 (23 ratings)


Literature's grandest evocation of life's journey, at once an ageless human story and an individual test of moral endurance, Homer's ancient Greek epic "The Odyssey" is translated by Robert Fagles with an introduction and notes by Bernard Knox in "Penguin Classics".

When Robert Fagles' translation of "The Iliad" was published in 1990, critics and scholars alike hailed it as a masterpiece.

Here, one of the great modern translators presents us with "The Odyssey", Homer's best-loved poem, recounting Odysseus' wanderings after the Trojan War.

With wit and wile, the 'man of twists and turns' meets the challenges of the sea-god Poseidon, and monsters ranging from the many-headed Scylla to the cannibalistic Cyclops Polyphemus - only to return after twenty years to a home besieged by his wife Penelope's suitors. In the myths and legends retold in this immortal poem, Fagles has captured the energy of Homer's original in a bold, contemporary idiom.

Seven greek cities claim the honour of being the birthplace of Homer (c. 8th-7th century BC), the poet to whom the composition of the "Iliad" and "Odyssey" are attributed. "The Iliad" is the oldest surviving work of Western literature, but the identity - or even the existence - of Homer himself is a complete mystery, with no reliable biographical information having survived.

If you enjoyed "The Odyssey", you might like Robert Fagles' translation of "The Iliad", also available in "Penguin Classics". "Wonderfully readable ...Just the right blend of roughness and sophistication." ("Ted Hughes"). "A memorable achievement ...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"). "His translation of "The Odyssey" is his best work yet." (Garry Wills, "New Yorker").


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 560 pages, illustrations
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Poetry by individual poets
  • ISBN: 9780143039952



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Showing 1 - 5 of 23 reviews.

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Review by

I read the Robert Fagles translation, which was fairly easy to navigate, and enjoyable to read. It was a wonderful story, all about making choices, understanding consequences, and accepting them. It was also about being brave in the face of adversity.Odysseus is an appealing character: Strong, smart and cunning, and able to rise above his apparent punishment by the gods to redeem his condition.

Review by

hint: if you ever read nietzche, you can pick up on his strong impression of this book with his frequents quotes of "poor, unhappy man!" and "it is not my lot in life to be" and "others"nietzche was a huge fan of greece philosohpy, long with other turn of century germans. dont do one without the other. titillating times these were, when groups of men would be eaten by lions in the forests of greece. mindblowing history lesson in these pages.

Review by

Good fun to read, the end in this translation though seems to descend into rambling nonsense. A lot of it didn't really seem to make much sense, but the poetry of it carries you away so you don't really care anyway. I'd say this was a lot easier to read than say, Dickens, or somebody, for those who think they might be put off by the language/age of the text.

Review by

A thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining book..there is drama, action, romance, mythical creatures, magic, gods and goddesses, and many more. Its not just for those who love classics but should be read by everyone. Its worth the time and one gets to understand why people love the work of Homer so much

Review by

I'm not sure, but I think this was the edition I read & liked the best - I've read several over the years. I liked the 'full' or 'best translated' versions & the highly edited versions the least. There's a happy medium in there. The full versions have a lot characters & stuff going on that doesn't add to the story & just confuses me. When edited too much, the story loses its flavor. The story line, plot, can't be beat. Much of the motivation of the characters seems weak or over-used, but that's only because it is the great-granddaddy of so much of our current literature, of course.

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