Category: Odyssey

book of books – The Odyssey


The reason for reading Homer’s Odyssey was simply because I thought it would make reading James Joyce’s Ulysses easier. Being honest it did not do that because where there were references in Joyce they are either quite oblique or in the wrong order so unless you are really looking for them you miss them.

The surprising thing was that in its own right the book has a solid story and plenty of action at keep you interested and at some points reads like a script for a Sinbad the Sailor or Lord of the Rings film and at others like a who’s who of Olympian Gods.

Plot summary
Odysseus the hero has been marooned on an island for years after upsetting the gods on his way home from victory in Troy. Athena, Zeus’s daughter, looks him on with favour and so is allowed to leave his exile and head home and on the way tells of his adventures with Cyclops, sirens, spider legged six headed beasts and the Gods. But once home he discovers that suitors have moved into his palace and are waiting to marry Penelope his wife so he reveals his true identity to his son and with some old comrades who have remained loyal slaughter them all and things end happily ever after

Is it well written?
The text in set out in poetry form but it reads more like a piece of prose so that is sometimes a challenge. In style it reminds you of anything written in the same way, Dante springs to mind, and has the same dense text that makes you feel that half the time you are missing some crucial details. Having said that it is surprisingly easy to read and the story is gripping enough to make you want to stick with it, although at the end he does spin out the length of time it takes to reveal Odysseus is back and then dispatches the suitors.

Should it be read?
For most people the idea of going out and reading Homer for fun and not because some lecturer has told you to might seem odd. But this does link in with other texts, mot just Ulysses, and for that reason it is one of those books that has a wider relevance for someone who wants to get into literature so should be read.

Version read – there are numerous translations, even my local library stocked three, but I plumped for the Robert Fitzgerald translation in a Collins Harvill hardback

book of books – The Odyssey


The reason for reading Homer’s Odyssey was simply because I thought it would make reading James Joyce’s Ulysses easier. Being honest it did not do that because where there were references in Joyce they are either quite oblique or in the wrong order so unless you are really looking for them you miss them.

The surprising thing was that in its own right the book has a solid story and plenty of action at keep you interested and at some points reads like a script for a Sinbad the Sailor or Lord of the Rings film and at others like a who’s who of Olympian Gods.

Plot summary
Odysseus the hero has been marooned on an island for years after upsetting the gods on his way home from victory in Troy. Athena, Zeus’s daughter, looks him on with favour and so is allowed to leave his exile and head home and on the way tells of his adventures with Cyclops, sirens, spider legged six headed beasts and the Gods. But once home he discovers that suitors have moved into his palace and are waiting to marry Penelope his wife so he reveals his true identity to his son and with some old comrades who have remained loyal slaughter them all and things end happily ever after

Is it well written?
The text in set out in poetry form but it reads more like a piece of prose so that is sometimes a challenge. In style it reminds you of anything written in the same way, Dante springs to mind, and has the same dense text that makes you feel that half the time you are missing some crucial details. Having said that it is surprisingly easy to read and the story is gripping enough to make you want to stick with it, although at the end he does spin out the length of time it takes to reveal Odysseus is back and then dispatches the suitors.

Should it be read?
For most people the idea of going out and reading Homer for fun and not because some lecturer has told you to might seem odd. But this does link in with other texts, mot just Ulysses, and for that reason it is one of those books that has a wider relevance for someone who wants to get into literature so should be read.

Version read – there are numerous translations, even my local library stocked three, but I plumped for the Robert Fitzgerald translation in a Collins Harvill hardback

book of books – The Odyssey


The reason for reading Homer’s Odyssey was simply because I thought it would make reading James Joyce’s Ulysses easier. Being honest it did not do that because where there were references in Joyce they are either quite oblique or in the wrong order so unless you are really looking for them you miss them.

The surprising thing was that in its own right the book has a solid story and plenty of action at keep you interested and at some points reads like a script for a Sinbad the Sailor or Lord of the Rings film and at others like a who’s who of Olympian Gods.

Plot summary
Odysseus the hero has been marooned on an island for years after upsetting the gods on his way home from victory in Troy. Athena, Zeus’s daughter, looks him on with favour and so is allowed to leave his exile and head home and on the way tells of his adventures with Cyclops, sirens, spider legged six headed beasts and the Gods. But once home he discovers that suitors have moved into his palace and are waiting to marry Penelope his wife so he reveals his true identity to his son and with some old comrades who have remained loyal slaughter them all and things end happily ever after

Is it well written?
The text in set out in poetry form but it reads more like a piece of prose so that is sometimes a challenge. In style it reminds you of anything written in the same way, Dante springs to mind, and has the same dense text that makes you feel that half the time you are missing some crucial details. Having said that it is surprisingly easy to read and the story is gripping enough to make you want to stick with it, although at the end he does spin out the length of time it takes to reveal Odysseus is back and then dispatches the suitors.

Should it be read?
For most people the idea of going out and reading Homer for fun and not because some lecturer has told you to might seem odd. But this does link in with other texts, mot just Ulysses, and for that reason it is one of those books that has a wider relevance for someone who wants to get into literature so should be read.

Version read – there are numerous translations, even my local library stocked three, but I plumped for the Robert Fitzgerald translation in a Collins Harvill hardback

Great Odyssey link

I know the Odyssey is not everyone’s cup of tea but if you want to go through it quickly and get the benefit of the story without the need to go through some of the repetitive retelling of the years of Odysseus’s exile then the Odysseus web site is the best place I discovered while looking for Homer link’s that I can recommend.

Great Odyssey link

I know the Odyssey is not everyone’s cup of tea but if you want to go through it quickly and get the benefit of the story without the need to go through some of the repetitive retelling of the years of Odysseus’s exile then the Odysseus web site is the best place I discovered while looking for Homer link’s that I can recommend.

The Odyssey – post X

This epic comes to an end and it has not been the experience I expected at all being much more accessible and enjoyable. You expect this to be a heavy tome that is full of intellectual but irrelevant content but that is far from the reality

Bullet points from chapters twenty two to twenty four

Twenty two
This is a chapter of carnage as one by one the suitors are slaughtered and Odysseus gets his revenge with the text merrily describing the punishment he hands out to the suitors

He then goes further and gets the women, twelve of them, who have betrayed him and gets those maids to take the corpses out and wash down the blood then they are taken and hanged for their disloyalty

Twenty three
There are some scholars, I got his surfing the web, that believe this is where the story should have ended and the next chapter was added later and it makes sense because it is the moment Odysseus and Penelope are reunited

Initially the wife refuses to accept that Odysseus has come back but then he reveals a secret only he would have known and she embraces him and listens as he recounts all that has happened on his travels

Twenty Four
The suitors head into the underworld and recount their tale of woe and blame Penelope for leading them on

Meanwhile Odysseus goes to visit his father and as before pretends at first to be a stranger and back in the town the fathers and friends decide to avenge the suitors deaths and a battle is just on the brink of starting when Athena comes down and orders them to stop and make peace

That’s all so I will post a full review in the next couple of days…

The Odyssey – post X

This epic comes to an end and it has not been the experience I expected at all being much more accessible and enjoyable. You expect this to be a heavy tome that is full of intellectual but irrelevant content but that is far from the reality

Bullet points from chapters twenty two to twenty four

Twenty two
This is a chapter of carnage as one by one the suitors are slaughtered and Odysseus gets his revenge with the text merrily describing the punishment he hands out to the suitors

He then goes further and gets the women, twelve of them, who have betrayed him and gets those maids to take the corpses out and wash down the blood then they are taken and hanged for their disloyalty

Twenty three
There are some scholars, I got his surfing the web, that believe this is where the story should have ended and the next chapter was added later and it makes sense because it is the moment Odysseus and Penelope are reunited

Initially the wife refuses to accept that Odysseus has come back but then he reveals a secret only he would have known and she embraces him and listens as he recounts all that has happened on his travels

Twenty Four
The suitors head into the underworld and recount their tale of woe and blame Penelope for leading them on

Meanwhile Odysseus goes to visit his father and as before pretends at first to be a stranger and back in the town the fathers and friends decide to avenge the suitors deaths and a battle is just on the brink of starting when Athena comes down and orders them to stop and make peace

That’s all so I will post a full review in the next couple of days…