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The Odyssey cover art

The Odyssey

Written by: Homer,Emily Wilson - translator
Narrated by: Claire Danes
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Publisher's Summary

Acclaimed actress Claire Danes burnishes an epic story of heroes, gods, and monsters in a groundbreaking translation of The Odyssey, the first great adventure story in the Western literary tradition. When the wily warrior-king Odysseus sets off for home after the Trojan War, he doesn’t realize this simple undertaking will become a perilous journey of 10 years. Beset at every turn, he encounters obstacles, detours, and temptations—both supernatural and human—while his wife Penelope fends off would-be suitors desperate to take the throne.

Emily Wilson is the first woman to take on the daunting task of translating over 100,000 lines of a three-millennium-old poem from Ancient Greek to modern-day English. Her breathtaking rendition captures the poetic immediacy of the original text, while allowing listeners to experience The Odyssey with an honesty and directness few other versions have achieved. The result is a lean, fleet-footed translation that recaptures Homer’s “nimble gallop” and brings an ancient epic to new life. A fascinating introduction provides an informative overview of the Bronze Age milieu that produced the epic, the major themes of the poem, the controversies about its origins, and the unparalleled scope of its impact and influence. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 Emily Wilson (translation), Adrian Kitzinger (maps copyright) (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Odyssey

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Skip the intro, go straight to the book. Come back

The translation was done very well. Im not a huge fan of Claire Daines so narration from hey was a bit of a bitter pill, but I'm speaking personally and other people's views are likely to differ.

The 3+ hour introduction by both the narrator and then the translator, I feel would have been better suited for the end of the book as an analysis after you've already made your judgements of the poems. It was unnecessary and preemptive and should have been used as a tool at the end. Instead, it felt like it was presumptuous in the idea you had already read the poems before to provide added context, instead, it took some soul from whatever your first impressions may have been as a first time reader, providing spoilers and details otherwise best experienced during the read.

All in all, it still receives a good score. I do implore any future readers to skip the introduction at the beginning and come back to it after I'd you are so inclined.

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7 people found this helpful

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An epic will always be an epic!

This is my fourth go through The Odyssey. The first, a children's adaptation when I was 7 or 8 hooked me to this grand story. Emily Wilson's translation is a wonderfully accessible one and an excellent addition to the myriad versions of Homer's epic. Clare Danes narration is spot on. If one is to read/listen to The Odyssey, this version is highly recommended.

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6 people found this helpful

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Good story

Good narrative. Liked all the emotions in her voice. Made the listening more interesting. Good work audible.

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4 people found this helpful

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Foreword should be Post Script

The foreword is over 3 hours long and speaks of the story as though you already know it. This completely spoils the story for new readers and there is no conceivable reason that it would not be placed at the end of the book. would recommend skipping the introduction and going back to it after. Claire Danes is an excellent orator however.

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3 people found this helpful

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Engaging

Wilson’s translation is easy to follow and understand. It is now my favourite version, and I’ve read/listened to several.

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2 people found this helpful

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Great story, Clair Danes is also a great Narrator

It was a great book to listen to, I recommend listening to the long 3 hr intro, it gives you great info and knowledge to begin your story.

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2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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An epic retold

The Odyssey is so familiar that I don’t know how one can accurately review the work. Like other epics there are aspects of the story that feel surprisingly modern. Then there are the parts that feel like it was written over 2000 years ago with all the rhythm and formulaic structure of the times.
For me, the best part of this recording was the introduction. I was tempted to skip it but I found it educational, insightful, and thought-provoking. I’m certainly not capable of commenting on this translation but I enjoyed listening to the explanation of Dr. Wilson’s approach.
What I didn’t enjoy was Claire Danes’ narration. It sounded plaintive to me and showed little variation in emotion no matter what kind of event was being depicted.

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1 person found this helpful

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A compelling, modern translation

This is Homer like you've never experienced before. I had previously read portions of The Odyssey in an introductory classics course on Greek mythology. These translations were stuffy, lofty, and often difficult to understand. This translation, by contrast, was accessible and exciting. I have no knowledge of Greek so I can't speak to its accuracy, but I can certainly speak to its effectiveness as English verse for the modern-day reader. When I was contemplating purchasing this title, I was worried that the translation would be too modern or diverge too significantly from the intent or style of the original, but Emily Wilson safely navigated the Scylla and Charybdis (as she put it in her Translator's Notes) between slang and the arcane.

This edition includes about 3 hours of prefatory material, which as an academic (though not in classics), I really enjoyed and felt enhanced my experience of the narrative. Currently, I'm relistening to that material again now that I've finished the story. These essays are written in an accessible style, like the translation itself, and helped me understand The Odyssey in its historical context and have a much richer experience than if I had listened to the story on its own.

Claire Danes, or really any woman, might seem an unusual choice for such a story, given that Homer was almost certainly a man or several men, and the narrative is mostly told from the perspectives of the men in the story. Wilson's Translator's Note will make it clear why Audible Studios made this choice. This is one of the only (if not they only) translation of The Odyssey by a woman. Wilson's prefatory materials focus on the experience of women and its representation of women is one of the biggest differences between this translation and previous ones, aside from the lack of archaic language. Claire Danes was an ideal choice as narrator of Wilson's translation.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Great introduction to a timeless story

Brilliant performance by Claire Danes. She is a master story teller and I will look for more books she performs. Bravo!

The introduction was so important to understand a story we all believe we know but few have read or thought past the words.

I was captivated from beginning to end.

One troubling technical issue was the chapters or books were not defined from Audible. It made it very difficult to navigate so I had to be careful not to close the book.

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Ancient pop culture

I can understand why The Odyssey has been so popular through the ages. It really shows you that humans have always had an appetite for adventure stories, and that The Odyssey has clearly been a massive influence on popular culture, poetry, and literature since forever.

Claire Danes did a great job, delivering the right amount of emotion, and her voice was easy to listen to.

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