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The Odyssey | [Homer (translated by Robert Fagles)]

The Odyssey

Regular Price:$27.97
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Publisher's Summary

This new translation by award-winning translator Robert Fagles captures the energy of Homer's original in bold, contemporary idiom. This is an Odyssey to treasure for its sheer lyrical mastery. The great adventure story tells of Odysseus, a veteran of the Trojan War, who - through a landscape peopled with monsters, sea nymphs, evil enchantresses, and vengeful gods - makes his tortuous way home to his faithful wife, Penelope. Shipwrecked numerous times, faced with apparently insurmountable obstacles, offered the temptations of ease, comfort, and even immortality, Odysseus remains steadfast and determined. Themes of courage and perseverance, fidelity and fortitude are woven into the rich tapestry of danger, disaster, and ultimate triumph. Written by the blind poet, Homer, in the 8th century B.C., The Odyssey is the foundation for modern European literature. It is read by Ian McKellen, one of the most highly acclaimed actors in the English-speaking world.

For informative lectures about Homer and The Odyssey, don't miss CliffsNotes on Homer's The Odyssey (Unabridged).

(P) and ©1996 Penguin Books USA Inc.

What the Critics Say

"To re-create a world where everything is living...is very nearly as difficult as to create it. Fagles does this with triumphant assurance; every arrowhead flashes lightning, every bush burns; Homer is with us." (James Dickey)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (694 )
5 star
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4.4 (516 )
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3 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Huda Pearland, TX, USA 02-13-10
    Huda Pearland, TX, USA 02-13-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Audible made my reading assignment easy"

    I am a college student and not used to this type of literature. when our teacher assigned this reading, I was overwhelmed because the reading seemed hard to understand and lots of work, but when I read the book with audible, it was fun experience and made my reading easy to read and understand; in fact, I ended up enjoying my book and looking forward for more.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vic 06-13-14
    Vic 06-13-14
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    "Fagles yes, McKellen yes, Production NO!"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The narration is excellent, as is the translation; however, the production is terrible. The first thing I noticed is that in many places the recording skips or hiccups. This is absolutely unacceptable. As others have stated, if an actual human had checked this recording before it was offered for sale then these glitches would have been caught and hopefully corrected. As others have stated, the pitch also varies in places which is a shame because the narration is superb.

    Hey Audible - ummm Amazon - I know you don't care but we pay for these recordings with real money. This is the age of options and you might find that your customers have gone elsewhere because you stopped caring. Maybe that's why, after being an Audible member since 2006, I canceled my membership.

    You can do better, Amazon!


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rick Annapolis, MD, United States 11-19-10
    Rick Annapolis, MD, United States 11-19-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Wow, wow, wow."

    Just echoing the other reviews here. We all know the story is a classic, but McKellen's reading is just fascinating. No one would have trouble enjoying the classics if they were all presented like this one.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Killian Palo Alto, CA, United States 05-16-14
    Killian Palo Alto, CA, United States 05-16-14 Member Since 2011

    Audiophile since the days I had to check 'em out on rickety cassette tapes at the local library. Currently working the other side of production as an author of romance and scifi/fantasy.

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    "GREAT STORY, Ok Audiobook"

    Ladies and Gentlemen, this book has been sold to us all wrong. Show of hands: who among you has heard mention of either The Iliad or The Odyssey and rolled your eyes over yet another "classic" work of fiction forced on unsuspecting high school students meant to bore us into submission? Dudes, this is seriously one of the most exciting books I've ever read. It's practically a ... Um, who's the current go-to action hero actor? Anyways, this is the movie he would star in. It's like if you took Quentin Tarantino to ancient Greece, told him to find inspiration, then let him go gonzo on the script without limits.

    What's weird is that I thought I hadn't read this, somehow escaping it through my academic career. What I realized later was that I had read parts of it in my "Gender in the Classical World" honors lit class my freshman year of college. (I remembered only when I came on the tale of Circe. I remember having a quiz on this and failing horribly, because I didn't understand the context, but let's not go into a discussion of how poorly my high school prepared its students for the world of higher education.) Even then, I didn't enjoy the book, because the focus was on analyzing. No fault on the instructor; that's appropriate for a college course. But seriously, I feel like I missed out on taking in a landscape painting by a master, because someone blotted out all the canvas excepting a single blade of grass.

    I have to admit, there were a few points that made me cringe as a modern reader, but one has to remind themselves that Homer reflected the values and morals of his time, not mine. Still, it was hard to stomach that Penelope is exalted for her commitment to Odysseus, remaining true to him for twenty years. Meantime Odysseus while trying to get home to her has no qualms about being sexed up by whatever goddess or nymph takes a fancy to him, and that's considered okay. Different times, different expectations...

    You know why Homer has been passed down and survived through the centuries? Not because he gives us a picture into an ancient culture, religion, and history. Not because of its consequential anthropological richness. Not even because of its lyric quality for those who can read it in its original tongue. (ee cummings proved that language could be beautiful for beauty's sake without being purposeful.) It's because it's one hell of a story, and takes you on one-- actually numerous thrilling, epic adventures.

    AUDIOBOOK notes: Ian McKellen's rendition was superior. However, I can't give the audiobook performance in whole 5 stars due to production value. This seriously needs to be remastered. It was obviously adopted for digital format from a copy of the tape production. Numerous times between chapters there was a huge change in the audio quality (getting softer, slowing down, sounding warped, etc.) There were even a few parts where there were "hiccups" in the flow, ie where a few words blotted out.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela 04-11-14
    Pamela 04-11-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Terrible Recording"
    Would you try another book from Homer (translated by Robert Fagles) and/or Ian McKellen?

    I am an avid member of Audible because I want books, professional readers and professional recordings…this recording id terrible. A bad listen.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan 12-06-13
    Alan 12-06-13
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    "Some chapter starts/audio issues"
    Any additional comments?

    The 4 star rating in this case is only for the 2005 Penguin Audio audiobook edition of Robert Fagles' 1996 translation of Homer's The Odyssey. This is not a reflection on Fagles' translation or Ian McKellen's narration which are both 5 stars. The lower rating is only due to a few chapter/verse timing issues and the occasional distraction due to the ambience of different recording sessions combined into one audiobook. The recording is from the pre-digital download era and the audio chapters are based on approximate 30 minute timings (1 side of a cassette tape?), regardless of the actual Homeric verses. So the 24 Chapter starts are only occasionally equal to the beginnings of the 24 Verses of the Odyssey. This may or may not be a distraction for some. It is probably not a major issue if you are following along with a print edition.
    One segment, Chapters 9 to 12 in the audiobook, middle of Verse 10 to the end of Verse 12 in Homer, has a significant audio issue. The speed of McKellen's reading drops to a deep bass voice at a seemingly slowed down audiospeed, as if the tape slowed down or McKellen was suffering from a serious cold on the day of the recording. This is enormously distracting when compared to the sound of the voice before and after this segment. Again, this is not a deal breaker but listeners should at least be forewarned of this fault.
    The audiobook also excludes Bernard Knox's introduction that is available in the Penguin print edition.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 08-26-13
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    "Poetical"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Odyssey to be better than the print version?

    it is better then any of the translations i have tried to read. One thing Robert Fagles got right is that he made it sound poetical. The Odyssey was written as poetry, and so this sounded.


    What did you like best about this story?

    it was easy to listen to and follow the story.


    Any additional comments?

    i will be looking for more of Fagles translations of the classics

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark 01-04-12
    Mark 01-04-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Only a blind Greek could do it better"
    Any additional comments?

    Sadly, I do not understand Greek so I must settle for the next best thing: this gloriously musical translation spoken by THE master of English diction. Absolutely enthralling. Gorgeous. Only Homer himself could have done it better.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Septimus MacGhilleglas 10-02-11 Member Since 2011

    Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.

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    "This is easily one of the best I've ever heard."
    What did you love best about The Odyssey?

    Ian McKellen's talent as a narrator is astounding. His cadence and inflections are sublime. The only complaint I have is the 3 seconds of electronic organ noise separating the books. This is one of the few books that I could listen to over and over.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lawrence Elfstrom 10-25-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Really helped with World Lit course"
    If you could sum up The Odyssey in three words, what would they be?

    Long, Interesting, Difficult


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Odyssey?

    When Odysseus and his cronies slaughter Penelope's suitors.


    What does Ian McKellen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Ian's voice brought the characters to life. He eliminated the need to sound out words I did not recognize and made the repetitiveness of the text more bearable.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, I had to because I was given two days to read it.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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