Here are the most exciting and essential parts of two historic, epic poems: the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey". The ancient words of Homer find a new home in today's world - spoken aloud, just as Homer intended.
Translated and Narrated by Stanley Lombardo. Introduction by Susan Sarandon.
©2000 Hackett Publishing Company; (P)2006 Parmenides Publishing
"Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon lends her calm and well-known voice to reading the synopses of the epic's 24 chapters. With this Odyssey, the 3,000-year-old Homer may find himself with a whole new generation of fans. Timeless. (AudioFile)
I don't think it is really necessary (or even relevant) to commenting on the importance of the Iliad and the Odyssey so I would rather focus on some questions specific for this edition.
The abridgement: to summarize Homer is certainly a bold task but it seems to me that this was done as well as possible. The summaries fill in the blanks for the missing parts which are important to the story so it does not feel awkward. The other important aspect is that the abridgement was done by selecting pieces, not by rewriting the text itself so you are still listening to Homer.
The translation: This is another contentious area but the translation worked for me. It does convey a lot of the epic style without sounding too archaic or difficult to follow, which would not work very well in an audio book. (Printed editions often come with lots of explanatory notes and adding something like that would break the flow of the audio text irreparably).
The performance: Although he is not a professional actor, the performance was very convincing. An audio edition also has the advantage of the restoring the oral performance, which is how these texts were originally meant to be performed.
In summary, they have managed to create a very interesting version, which still captures the attention and makes you want to "hear what will happen next" - even though the plot is obviously anything but new.
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