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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2002
This review will focus upon the translation of "The Odyssey" more than the work itself. Having withstood the test of time and considered the first great work of the Western tradition, "The Odyssey" can do well enough without my two cents.
This translation is among the most accurate on the market. Though I speak no Greek myself, classics professors have urged me to read this translation, the best English source for it. Despite the usual popularity for the Fitzgerald translation, the Lattimore version provides a more literal translation with consistent themes of word choice running throughout. "They put their hands to the good things that lay ready before them," for example, will come up over and over again because, quite simply, the phrase comes up over and over again. And we have the same adjectives consistently before each of the major players: resourceful Odysseus, thoughtful Telemachos, and circumspect Penelope, along with the gray-eyed Athene. Lattimore explains how he chooses to translate the work, and his translation is a literal work of a genius.
For those who desire the most accurate translation of this great work, I would highly recommend the Lattimore translation of "The Odyssey of Homer."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2000
If you are trying to plough through the Canon, then this book is the next stop after the Iliad. And what a stop it is! Although I think that the Iliad is a better read, the Odyssey is an excellent sequel and a very good story too. Want to know whether Odysseus returned from Troy, and how? Want to know which other heroes made it? Want to catch up with a few of them, dead or alive, on the way? If so then this is the book for you.
Lattimore's translation is excellent and highly recommended. Anyone who enjoyed his Iliad will find the same brilliance at work here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2009
If you glance at this book and notice that all the lines are written as verses, do not be alarmed, the verses are not difficult to understand. Lattimore's translation of Homer's The Odyssey is probably the best that you shall ever find, and it seems to remain truthful to the original, yet does not make it hard on the readers to understand.

I highly recommend this edition for anyone interested in reading this epic.
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on January 29, 2001
This Lattimore translation of "The Odyssey" was the first book I read last quarter for my Comparative Literature class, and it became a preview of coming wonders. I had neglected the old classics out of ignorance and prejudice (these two tend to go together) and "The Odyssey" was one of those books that forced me to look at an entire collection of genres and literary epochs in a different, far more positive way. I do not know Greek, therefore I cannot say whether the translation is absolutely faithful to the original, but it flows well when read silently and it sounds even better when I read it aloud, alone at night. This is the story of Odysseus, King of Ithaka, Captain of the Greeks, who must return to his homeland and his family after helping defeat the Trojans. Amazingly enough, many people seem to have bought entirely into the idea of Odysseus as a noble, courageous, and honorable leader of men who gets sidetracked solely because of the wrath of Poseidon. I finished this poem with an entirely different view of its protagonist. To me, Odysseus was an arrogant liar, a murderer and a rapist who did not hesitate to attack people who were not his enemies (the Kikonians on his way back after sacking Troy and killing and/or enslaving most of its people, as reads in Book IX, page 138), and who did not hesitate to endanger the lives of his men just to boast of his deeds (same Book, page 150). This "hero" eventually makes it to Ithaka and ends up drenched in the blood of the suitors of his wife, ordering the torture and death of the serving women who had become lovers of the suitors. His son Telemachos becomes a murderer as well: he kills a man by stabbing him on the back with a javelin. Since the suitors represented the youth of Ithaka's noble families, Odysseus has arranged to create a blood feud with everyone on the island. Only the intervention of Athena will save the day, and after all the bloodshed, all the lies, the pillaging, and the murders, he leaves Ithaka and Penelope once more to wander in other lands and thus follow a prophecy regarding his own death.
"The Odyssey" is a great poem. It is never boring and only after reading it complete one understands how little the film and TV productions kept of the original work, and how poorly we have been served with such adaptations. My reading of this timeless classic is rather different to that of other people who may have much better qualifications in this area. What I got out of it was the impression that Homer, whomever he was, used irony to drive home a message regarding his "hero," and this irony, together with the folklore that surrounded the Trojan War and its participants, helped Euripides, by the Fifth century BC, paint a far more direct and damaging picture of the Greek victors in his "Trojan Women."
I now consider "The Odyssey" necessary reading. Even if you read it and arrive to a different understanding of the poem, I think it will be an extremely valuable experience.
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on April 20, 2004
As with his work on the Iliad, few translators have had the success that Richmond Lattimore has when it comes to THE ODYSSEY. I would be hard pressed to find a better translation since others are either too literal to be poetic or too liberal to be faithful to Homer's story. Alexander Pope's is, of course, one of the greatest, but you have to go back 250 years to find one as enduring as Lattimore's.
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on October 26, 2015
Excellent translation, with all the repetitious "rosy-fingered dawn"s and "wine-dark sea"s and "wiley Odysseus"s. I had previously slogged through a prose translation. This was much better. You could feel the rhythm. I'm sure it also didn't hurt that I read it while Island hopping around Greece!
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on November 3, 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this translation of The Odyssey. It flowed well, was easily understood and it told a good story.
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on November 3, 1999
Is it possible that HarperCollins has misprinted the cover, changing the first name of the translator?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2001
I read the odyssey for my high school English class, and it was not an easy read. However, the Lattimore edition that we used was terrific. It provided short summaries (just three to five words) at the top of each page to clue the reader in to what would be happening on the page. In addition, the translation was clear and easy to understand. I highly recommend this edition of Homer's Odyssey.
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on December 29, 2014
Great English translation of the Odyssey.
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