Odyssey Readalong

The Odyssey Readalong

A Novel Challenge recently posted a notice about an Odyssey readalong taking place in the month of November. Despite the fact that my current reading challenges are in critical condition, and that I haven’t read the Iliad yet, this challenge is too tasty to pass up. The Odyssey Readalong is being hosted by Trish at Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity, and has so far attracted 14 hardy souls to join Odysseus in his journey through Siren-infested waters and Cyclops-ridden lands. I like that it’s a small group—with some of the larger challenges it’s simply impossible to visit all the posts and it’s too easy to just stick to familiar blogs. This will be more life-raft than cruise ship, so we should be able to get to know each other by month’s end. The reading pace seems reasonable, and it will be a nice way to get in one last serious reading binge before the Christmas craziness sets in.

I still haven’t decided which edition to read. Trish has tantalizingly suggested trying an audio version. I have two audio options at the library, Fagles and Rouse.  From what I’ve read elsewhere, I suspect the Fagles version might be too casual for my liking, though it certainly gets lots of rave reviews. I understand that the Rouse is prosified and easy to follow, but I think I’d rather have it in verse. In print I have Lattimore and my lovely little Loeb Classical Library edition (Murray and Dimock). I should probably go with the Lattimore since the Loeb translation is intended more as an aid to reading the original Greek (which is on the verso pages) than an aesthetic rendering in English.

There’s still time to head down to your favourite bookstore or library and grab a copy for yourself before the challenge starts on Monday. Who’s in?

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13 comments on “Odyssey Readalong

  1. Tom says:

    Hi Sylvia, not sure I'm in, I'll give it some thought. I've toyed with having crack at Homer for a while now. I don't own any editions so I feel no particular allegiance. My intent was always to go with Fagles when the time came being that it is highly regarded as you say. I think I would need something that is as friendly to the modern ear as possible. I'll have to check out the link. Good luck!

  2. Nick Senger says:

    I'm in the middle of The Divine Comedy right now, so I won't be able to join in, but I highly recommend the translation by Stanley Lombardo. I understand it may not be as scholarly as some other translations, but it reads wonderfully.

  3. Trish says:

    Awesome Sylvia–I'm so glad you're joining us! Sounds like you know a thing or two about Homer, so hopefully you'll be able to enlighten us along the way? Maybe YOU will be the life-raft. 😉 It's been 15 years since I've read The Odyssey, so I'm looking forward to the journey. Interesting what you say about Fagles. I don't have the edition but he seems to be the go-to guy. I'll be reading from Fitzgerald's translation, but might see if I can get my hands on an audio for my daily commute.

    Looking forward to having you!!

    Best,

    Trish

  4. Stefanie says:

    I listend to the Fitzgerald translation of The Iliad and read the Fagles version and liked Lattimore's better. I started listening to Fagle's Odyssey but got bogged down though I did manage to finish it by reading it. I hope whatever translation you go with you like it!

  5. Sylvia says:

    I hope you join up, Tom. The more the merrier!

    Thanks for the suggestion, Nick. We're lucky to have so many versions to choose from!

    Thanks for organizing this, Trish! What I know about Homer isn't much, I've just been reading the introductions to the Iliad and Odyssey that I have. I probably still wouldn't know a dactyl if it hit me, but since this is supposed to be a ripping yarn I don't think too much expertise is required to appreciate it. I do have a companion to the Odyssey, by Lattimore, but I don't know if I'll have to time to read it as well. I might just use it whenever I get totally confused. I've heard very good things about the Fitzgerald translation, so I think you are in good hands. I can't wait to get started!

    Stefanie, I suspect that reading will be easier than listening, at least the first time around. It's so fiddly to back up and replay sections on audio that it doesn't lend itself to a challenging text. Do you have any advice on reading the Odyssey?

  6. Tom says:

    Ok, I'm in. Fagles on my Kindle. Is it ok if I jump the gun?

  7. Sylvia says:

    Yay! Go ahead, enjoy!

  8. Stefanie says:

    Advice on reading the Odyssey? Don't expect it to be like The Iliad and try to not let what you think you know about it get in the way.

  9. Sylvia says:

    Well, since I haven't read the Iliad and I don't know much about the Odyssey that shouldn't be too difficult! 😀 Thanks.

  10. Dwight says:

    I'll also recommend listening to an audio version of The Odyssey as well as reading it. I approached it that way, using different translations, and appreciated it much more.

  11. Sylvia says:

    Interesting idea, Dwight. I just got the audio version of Fagles from the library so maybe I will give it a spin if I have time. Thanks for the suggestion!

  12. tony price says:

    oh yes, lattimore, lattimore! my favourite!

    i'm sorry i missed the beginning of this or i'd have loved to read along as well – but right now i'm in the thick of dorothy dunnett's lymond novels

  13. Sylvia says:

    Tony, Lattimore it is! I like that he uses Greek rather than Latinized spelling for proper names. The Lymond Chronicles sounds interesting. I've been watching a series on the history of Scotland. Lots of killing, but interesting!

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