Robert Fitzgerald's much-acclaimed translation, fully possessing as it does the body and spirit of the original, has helped to assure the continuing vitality of Europe's most influential work of poetry.
(P)2006 Books on Tape
Classics,contemporary fiction, Politics, Philosophy, Economics - a weekly eye on The New Yorker & The Guardian and dense word style/play.
I first read the Odyssey thirty years ago on a bus journey from Cardiff to Sunderland via London which took over sixteen hours to complete and cost ?9.40 return (hence the via London bit). The great advantage was that I was able to read it in one sitting. Once you get over the endless strings of names and the very picaresque style, it is possible to enjoy The Odyssey as a good read in itself. However, the real beauty of this book is to marvel at the thought that Troy was destroyed in 1188 BC and that this huge work dates from around the 9th Century BC - and to consider the huge influence that it holds over all modern literature. Calypso, the Oxen of the Sun, Cyclops, Mentor, the Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis - are all here together with so much more that is familiar and yet strange. I first read this in order to get the inside edge on James Joyce - but on re-reading got so much more. Like all great works, it improves with age!
"Good British Sound"
A very good reading by Mr. Lee, who has a hint of Sean O'Connery in his voice at times. For these American ears, the slight British (I should say Scottish) accent does the trick in making me imagine the poetry of a hightened foreign language. The reading moves along at a fast enough clip to keep you focused on the action. And Lee doesn't overdo voices for different characters, so it is always Homer coming through. The only drawback was that I was looking for the Fitzgerald translation, as it is advertized, but it is actually the Samuel Butler prose translation. I'm not disappointed though: it took me a while to realize I was'nt even hearing poetry, Butler does such a good job with idiomatic repetitions ("child of dawn" for example) and a certain elevated style. He captures the dactylic hexameter, if I correctly recall the meter of the Greek, quite well, and, although he was writing this in the early 20th Century, again if my memory serves right, it reads very up-to-date. Butler, by the way, believed that the Odyssey was not written by Homer but by a young girl, hence the poem's focus on proper family life. This belief doesn't affect the translation.
"Narrator makes it"
Homer's works can often be dry and boring when read aloud. John Lee brings The Odyssey to life - I can't wait to listen to it again!
"Great reading, but not Fitzgerald"
This is an excellent, strong reading of the Odyssey; but despite the blurb here, it is NOT the Robert Fitzgerald translation, but the Samuel Butler prose version (edited to replace the Roman names Butler used with their Greek originals). Five stars anyway for being well done, but you should know what you're getting.
This was the perfect way for me to "read" this classic. It's a terrific translation, and John Lee is my favorite reader, with just the right mix of warmth, humor and serious to his voice.
"Excellent performance of a required text."
Illiad may be the more important book, but this one is much more approachable.
"Only So So....."
I had high hopes going into this. I didn't remember reading this in High School and Greek mythology interests me. Honestly, I ended up being somewhat disappointed. While it was great in some parts with a lot of interest, there were large parts of what I can only term as fluff. The beginning and end really hampered the story for me, while the middle was truly enjoyable. I could be wrong and this is a good translation of an interesting myth and I just don't know how to appreciate it. In truth, it's probably best to seek out an abridged version as that will keep your interest piqued.
On another note, the narrator is more than admirable. The comparison to Sean Connery is there and he reads with very well pronounced words and feeling behind him.
"Always a classic!"
This is a timeless classic. Wonderful to listen to the story again. I had not read it since College.
I thought this was very nicely read! I found Odysseus believable (even though sometimes I wanted to slap him in the face), and Athena cool. I found Penelope something of a long-suffering bore - WHY didn't she send those horrid suitors packing? She was just BEGGING for trouble. I wanted to tear my hair out that O's only solution to the suitor problem was to KILL them all! Whoa, fella! Didn't you learn to play nice in kiddie garden? Now I have to go back and read/listen to the Illiad to see how it started! I LIKE this narrator!
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