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Iliad and Odyssey boxed set [Paperback]

4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book by Homer

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Odyssey Book Review Feb. 11 2004
It is not perfect, but it is still one of the best books I've ever read. I believe this is a better story than "The Iliad". There are a lot more journey's and adventures. Besides fighting the Egyptians, Odysseus has to battle the goddess Circe, the Cyclopes, a Monster in a cave that he can't defeat, as well as get by the Sirens. He meets merpeople, and visits many foreign lands. He has to avoid lightning bolts, Hurricane's, Crashing rocks, and even go to Hades to consult with the dead. After all of this the prophets foretell that he will lose his ship and all of his men, but that one day he will make it home again. After all of this will he finally reach home only there to be killed?
After the war at Troy, Odysseus is plagued to travel the world for twenty years before returning home because he killed one of Poseidon's sons. While he is away nobody has heard news of Odysseus and can only assume that he has been killed, but since they can not confirm this, they can not give him a proper burial and pass his property on to his son Telemachus. Suitors who believe Odysseus will never return vie for the hand of Odysseus' wife Penelope. They use this as an excuse to use up all of Odysseus' property and to waste away all of Telemachus' inheritance. There are 108 suitors who represent the best young men of Ithaca and they all come from noble family's. These men have no honor however and behave very badly, so the gods are not on their side.
While on his journey home Odysseus visits Hades and there sees Agamemnon, Achilles, Ajax, Heracles, and many of the other Achaean heroes. It is here that he learns the fate of king Agamemnon who's wife plotted his murder upon his return.
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For nearly three thousand years the poems of Homer have thrilled listeners of every culture and epoch. Allusions to The Iliad and The Odyssey are so pervasive in our western culture that they are almost required reading for anyone who wishes to study western literature.
Briefly, The Iliad is the story of the ten year long Trojan War, which climaxes with the destruction of the city of Troy by the Greeks through the deception of the Trojan Horse, and The Odyssey is the telling of the many adventures of the Greek Chieftan Odysseus (also known as Ulysses) during his long journey home. Filled with tales of the heroes and gods of ancient Greece, the poems are noted for the masterful use of wonderfully illustrative similes and metaphors, which become all the more wonderful with the understanding that Homer is believed to have been blind!
Translations of Homer which try to adhere to the original poetic structure and be as literal as possible are immensely difficult to read by all but the most focused scholars. Other translations have completley deviated from any resemblance of poetry in an effort to be more accessible to the average reader. Here Mr. Fagles has achieved a translation which is not only easy to read and understand, but which retains the poetic lyricism of the original.
Homer's works should be on the bookshelf of anyone who is interested in the classics, and with this translation you don't have to be a University Professor to appreciate them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A readable Iliad in modern idiom June 25 2002
Robert Fagles's translation of Homer's Iliad is spiritually if not literally true to the original. Both versions repeat set speeches and descriptions in precisely the same words, and the translation exhibits a fairly regular rhythmic beat. But Homer's Greek was chanted, and the set passages were like refrains in which listeners could, if they chose, join in as a chorus. In English, the repetitions sometimes become tedious, especially when the same speech is given three times in two pages, as in the relay of Zeus's orders in Book II. Especially noteworthy is Bernard Knox's long and fascinating Introduction, which conveys Homer's grim attitude toward war, the interplay of divine and human will, and the ancient concepts of honor, courage, and virility in the face of the stark finality of death. Knox also includes a succinct explanation of the quantitative, rather than accentual, basis of Greek (and Latin) verse. For easy readability, Fagles's translation is without rival. For elegance and poetry, however, I recommend Richmond Lattimore's older but still gripping and fluent translation.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating - 4.5 stars Jan. 7 2002
The Iliad was not quite what I expected. It doesn't have the lyricism and imagery of other epic poems such as Paraside Lost or the Inferno. Its metaphors are sometimes crude and very wordy. It is also an extremely violent book -- large sections of the text are devoted to describing the deaths of warriors in graphic detail. It is also sometimes repititious, which is partly a result of having evolved from an oral tradition in which repitition allowed the poet more time to improvise the next segment of poetry.
However, it is still a powerful poem. The story is not what you might expect. There is no Trojan horse, no golden apples. It starts in the ninth year of the siege of Troy as Achilles, enraged by the actions of Agammemnon, breaks from the Argives and sulks in his tent. This sets in motion a chain of events that will result in a clash between himself and the great Trojan hero Hector. All of this unfolds next to a second tale - the fighting amongst the Olympian gods as they determine the destiny of Troy and the heroes from both armies fighting for it.
The Iliad unfolds novelistically. We start with the rage of Achilles in the plains of Troy. Gradually, slowly, the background is revealed - the reason for the Argive invasion of Troy, the reason for the rage of Achilles. It is only very late in the book that the reasons for Hera's hatred of Troy and the tight bond between Patroclus and Achilles is explained.
Although there are many characters in the book, Achilles is the most powerful. Passionate, temperamental, arrogant, brutal and courageous. In many ways, he comes across as the villian. He is opposed by Hector -- also arrogant and brutal, but a family man. Hector is both admired and loved by the Trojans. Achilles is admired by the Greeks, but not loved.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The World's Greatest War Story / Adventure Epic
The Iliad is the story of the rage and wrath of Achilles during the Trojan War while the Odyssey is the story of Odysseus' ten year journey to return home after the sack of Troy. Read more
Published 21 months ago by DrFThickett
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful books
These are beautiful books. Simple paper backs, but so nicely put together. The typeface is easy to read, and the layout of the books is pleasing. Definitely a bargain at $25. Read more
Published on April 16 2011 by Luke Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Edition
I purchased the "deluxe" edition which includes both the Iliad and the Odyssey (ISBN: 0670779644). The volumes themselves are handsomely made with cloth binding and satin... Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2009 by Aaron
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Edition
This box set is an amazing deal and a really great translation of Homer's works. I've read other editions but this one is much clearer, smoother, and understandable to the modern... Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2009 by The Frosty Hound
5.0 out of 5 stars The ground is dark with blood
The Iliad

With many books, translations are negligible, with two obvious exceptions, one is the Bible, and surprisingly the other is The Iliad. Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2008 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally Free to Love Homer in Print!
Most of what needs to be said about the Fagles' translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey has been covered in the previous reviews. Read more
Published on April 16 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars what a masterful translation!
I have read the Lattimore translation, but Fagels has far out done this earlier work. The story's prose, flow and verbage capture the emotion and grandeur of the event. Read more
Published on July 21 2003 by doc peterson
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful modern verse
Robert Fagles' translations of these two western classics capture the raw beauty of the epic poetry in extremely readable language. Read more
Published on Sept. 30 2002 by camm
4.0 out of 5 stars Good bargain on two classics
The Iliad and Odyssey two-pack is a great value on two classics that everyone should have in their collection. Read more
Published on March 21 2002 by D. Renkey
4.0 out of 5 stars Dramatic and readable
Robert Fagles has done an excellent job at giving life to this ancient 'song', an epic of war. If you read this translation aloud (which you should certainly do!! Read more
Published on March 9 2002 by Joyce M. Sico
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