Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Green (Dougherty Centennial Professor Emeritus of Classics, Univ. of Texas at Austin), classical historian, translator, and poet, whose many books include a noted biography of Alexander the Great, a history of the Persian War, and translations of the Argonautika and Ovid's Tristia, offers a new verse translation of the Odyssey, the product of many years of reading and thinking. As with his earlier translation of the Iliad, Green aspires to a "declaimable" style, inspired by C. Day Lewis's Aeneid and Richmond Lattimore's Iliad. He avoids the anarchizing tendencies of Stanley Lombardo, following an approach closer to that of Anthony Verity and Robert Fagles. Comparisons to Emily Wilson's recent translation are inevitable. While Wilson seeks a modern, readable version Green wishes to capture the strangeness of Homer's oral language, preserving the repetitive epithets and phraseology, using the transliteration of the Greek names rather than their Latinate forms, and following the linear rhetoric and syntax of the original. VERDICT Both Wilson and Green capture the spirit of the Odyssey, but word-for-word, Green also captures a feel for the Homeric language, an experience closer to the original.-Thomas L. Cooksey, formerly with Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal Review
Gr 6 Up-Concise and briskly paced, this dynamic comic-book version streamlines Homer's plot and zooms in on the all-out monster-trouncing, enchantress-encountering, death-defying action. The exploits of the square-jawed Odysseus are resplendent in bold lines and jewel tones while the fickle gods and goddesses shimmer in translucent hues. A reader-grabbing intro to the epic. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Seeking modern adventure demanding frequent suspension of disbelief? Vivid vision? Realistic dialogue? Recognizable characters and situations? Occasional implausibility? Here, writes Green (Univ. of Texas, Austin), is a "semi-heroic adventure story ... [embellished] by folktale and fantasy." Thus, he identifies a few irresistible Homeric features in this new Odyssey translation, out just four years after his acclaimed version of the Iliad (CH, Sep'15, 53-0093). Homer's epic tale of survival, temptation, betrayal, and vengeance loses none of its verve and pathos in Green's experienced hands. Previous translators into English have taken the poet's elusive sentence structure and "chopped and changed" it to normalize it. Along with a few surprises in his interpretation, Green offers a flexible, colloquial reading of the tripartite work, making this an amazingly accessible translation for experienced or novice readers, a translation that conveys both the feeling and the sense of the original lyrical Greek. Green does this by drawing on the classical and admirable example of C. Day Lewis's "declaimable" (i.e., easily recited) and mainly dactylo-spondaic rendering (in 1952) of Virgil's Aeneid. The extensive introduction, maps of ancient Greece and Asia Minor, detailed chapter summaries, and explanatory notes make the volume eminently suitable for classroom use. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. --Raymond J. Cormier, emeritus, Longwood University
Horn Book Review
This inexpensive condensed version of Homer's epic competently delineates plot points, following Odysseus on his myriad adventures. However, the retelling sacrifices complexity of language and depth of theme ostensibly in the name of age-appropriateness. Occasional black-and-white illustrations highlight the hero's quest and some of the mythical creatures he encounters. Discussion questions and a "Note to Parents and Educators" are appended. Copyright 2010 of The Horn Book, Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Book Review
Fresh version of one of the world's oldest epic poems, a foundational text of Western literature.Sing to me, O muse, of thewell, in the very opening line, the phrase Wilson (Classical Studies, Univ. of Pennsylvania) chooses is the rather bland "complicated man," the adjective missing out on the deviousness implied in the Greek polytropos, which Robert Fagles translated as "of twists and turns." Wilson has a few favorite words that the Greek doesn't strictly support, one of them being "monstrous," meaning something particularly heinous, and to have Telemachus "showing initiative" seems a little report-card-ish and entirely modern. Still, rose-fingered Dawn is there in all her glory, casting her brilliant light over the wine-dark sea, and Wilson has a lively understanding of the essential violence that underlies the complicated Odysseus' great ruse to slaughter the suitors who for 10 years have been eating him out of palace and home and pitching woo to the lovely, blameless Penelope; son Telemachus shows that initiative, indeed, by stringing up a bevy of servant girls, "their heads all in a row / strung up with the noose around their necks / to make their death an agony." In an interesting aside in her admirably comprehensive introduction, which extends nearly 80 pages, Wilson observes that the hanging "allows young Telemachus to avoid being too close to these girls' abused, sexualized bodies," and while her reading sometimes tends to be overly psychologized, she also notes that the violence of Odysseus, by which those suitors "fell like flies," mirrors that of some of the other ungracious hosts he encountered along his long voyage home to Ithaca.More faithful to the original but less astonishing than Christopher Logue's work and lacking some of the music of Fagles' recent translations of Homer; still, a readable and worthy effort. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.