ebook ∣ Johns Hopkins New Translations from Antiquity
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A bold new translation that preserves the swiftness, austerity, and clarity of the original.
"Tell us, Goddess, daughter of Zeus, start in your own place:
when all the rest at Troy had fled from that steep doom
and gone back home, away from war and the salt sea,
only this man longed for his wife and a way home."
Homer's Odyssey, at once an exciting epic of strife and subterfuge and a deeply felt tale of love and devotion, stands at the very beginning of the Western literary tradition. From ancient Greece to the present day its influence on later literature has been unsurpassed, and for centuries translators have approached the meter, tone, and pace of Homer's poetry with a variety of strategies. Chapman and Pope paid keen attention to color, drama, and vivacity of style, rendering the Greek verse loosely and inventively. In the twentieth century, translators such as Lattimore kept rigorously close to the sense of each word in the original; others, including Fitzgerald and Fagles, have departed further from the language of the original, employing their own inventive modern style.
Poet and translator Edward McCrorie now opens new territory in this striking rendition, which captures the spare, powerful tone of Homer's epic while engaging contemporary readers with its brisk pace, idiomatic language, and lively characterization. McCrorie closely reproduces the Greek metrical patterns and employs a diction and syntax that reflects the plain, at times stark, quality of Homer's lines, rather than later English poetic styles. Avoiding both the stiffness of word-for-word literalism and the exaggeration and distortion of free adaptation, this translation dramatically evokes the ancient sound and sense of the poem. McCrorie's is truly an Odyssey for the twenty-first century.
To accompany this innovative translation, noted classical scholar Richard Martin has written an accessible and wide-ranging introduction explaining the historical and literary context of the Odyssey, its theological and cultural underpinnings, Homer's poetic strategies and narrative techniques, and his cast of characters. In addition, Martin provides detailed notes—far more extensive than those in other editions—addressing key themes and concepts; the histories of persons, gods, events, and myths; literary motifs and devices; and plot development. Also included is a pronunciation glossary and character index.