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review 2017-11-18 20:04
Representation of Human: "The Odyssey" by Homer (translated by Robert Fitzgerald; read by Dan Stevens)
The Odyssey: The Fitzgerald Translation - Homer,Robert Fitzgerald,D. S. Carne-Ross

I humbly declare this book to be the greatest literary work of mankind. If you don't learn Greek (worth it just to read this Meisterwerk, never mind the rest of the immortal trove of Greek literature) you can read it in so many translations that have become classics in their own use of the English language, Fagles and Murray, just to mention two. Oh, what the Hades, let's throw in a third, not just for its brilliant translation, but also owing to the exotic character behind it: no less than Lawrence of Arabia.


The Homeric poems were sung in a less-enlightened time, in comparison with the later Greek tragedies, and with the later epics too. Apollonius' Argonautica was composed, post Greek Tragedy, and his audience would have been, no doubt, familiar with Euripides' Medea. Questions such as how justice and revenge affect societies were addressed by Aeschylus in the Oresteia; likewise, the reception of the anthropomorphic gods, and their pettiness, was raised by Euripides in Hippolytus and the Bacchae. Furthermore, the real nature and brutality of warfare was also raised in the Trojan Women. Throw in how one state views another state, and questions of racial identity, and you have The Persians by Aeschylus, and Medea by Euripides. Additionally, if you include Philoctetes by Sophocles, and the issue of how youth should conduct themselves is also raised. If you consider, too, Ajax by Sophocles, and you find that the bloodthirsty myths of an earlier age are filtered through questions that C5 Athenian society faced. What is better, the brute force of an unsophisticated Ajax, or the sophistry and rhetorical arguments of Odysseus in Ajax? By the time we arrive at Virgil, and The Aenied, brutal events such as the death of Priam by Neoptolemus in Aeneid Book II, are tempered with a more enlightened approach. Neoptolemus is condemned for killing Priam, and rightly so, as mercy is important, and exemplifies the Romanitas of 'Sparing the humble, and conquering the proud'. However, Aeneas doesn't show mercy in his killing of Turnus at the end of Book XII.



If you're into Greek Literature, read on.

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text 2017-08-23 04:43
This book was forgettable.
2061: Odyssey Three - Arthur C. Clarke

Unfortunately. I liked the story well enough. It was interesting and the characters were enjoyable. However, it wasn't gripping. The content of the story is such that you can conceivably read it without having read any of the previous. Nothing in this story hinges completely on previous books. In fact, there are several passages that are pulled directly from prior texts that support the book well enough for the story purposes. A nice little story but not one to draw me back again and again like more compelling works.

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text 2017-08-21 05:38
And book two was...
2010: Odyssey Two - Arthur C. Clarke

...Fabulous! I like this book sooooo much better than the first. The people actually make the story here. A few years ago I read Larry Niven's Ringworld and discovered I don't care much for extreme hard sci-fi. Books where the science drives the story and not the people. That was one of the problems with the first book. Fortunately that isn't the case here. While I enjoyed the descriptions of the various space items it was because that forwarded the plot. It was startling to realize that the time frame of this book is concurrent with the last few chapters of the first book. People tend to think that sequels must perforce take place completely after the events in the first story. And I will be most interested to see how humanity copes with two suns, no nights and an eventual encounter with the Europans. 

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text 2017-08-20 07:08
I finally did it!
2001: A Space Odyssey - Arthur C. Clarke

It took three tries but I actually made it through this book. I watched the movie oh so many years ago and only remember tiny random bits, not even a full scene. The book is going to be similar for me. I think what I disliked most is that two thirds or so of the book seem to be written in the passive voice. There's very little actual conversations or interactions between characters, just extensive descriptions of what this piece of machinery or that space maneuver is doing. Boring! But I wanted to make sure that I finished this book before going on to the next. Since the very end of 2001 with the Star Child was interesting I'm hoping that the next book is a little more active voice and action. Fingers crossed.

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text 2017-06-23 23:06
The Odyssey
The Iliad and the Odyssey - Homer

The Odyssey by Homer

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


The crafty hero of The Iliad is in the last leg of his long ten year journey home, but it not only his story that Homer relates to the reader in this sequel to the first war epic in literature.  The Odyssey describes the Odysseus’ return to Ithaca after twenty years along with the emergence of his son Telemachus as a new hero while his faithful wife Penelope staves off suitors who are crowding their home and eating their wealth daily.


Although the poem is named after his father, Telemachus’ “arc” begins first as the reader learns about the situation on Ithaca around Odysseus’ home and the search he begins for information on his father’s whereabouts.  Then we shift to Odysseus on a beach longing to return home when he is informed his long sojourn is about to end and he sets off on a raft and eventually arrives among the Phaeacians, who he relates the previous ten years of his life to before they take him back home.  On Ithaca, Odysseus and his son eventually meet and begin planning their revenge on the Penelope’s suitors that results in slaughter and a long-awaited family reunion with Penelope.


First and foremost The Odyssey is about coming home, in both Telemachus’ and Odysseus’ arcs there are tales of successful homecomings, unsuccessful homecomings, and homecoming that never happen of heroes from The Iliad.  Going hand-in-hand with homecomings is the wanderings of other heroes whose adventures are not as exciting or as long as Odysseus’.  Interwoven throughout the poem with homecomings and wanderings is the relationship between guests and hosts along with the difference between good and bad for both that has long reaching consequences.  And finally throughout Odysseus’ long journey there are tests everywhere of all types for him to overcome or fail, but the most important are Penelope’s both physical and intimate.


Even though it is a sequel, The Odyssey is in complete contrast to The Iliad as instead of epic battle this poem focuses on a hero overcoming everything even the gods to return home.  Suddenly the poet who gave readers a first-hand account of war shows his readers the importance of returning from war from the perspective of warriors and their families.   Although they are completely different, The Odyssey in fact compliments The Iliad as well as completing it which means if you read one you have to read the other.

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