According to many scholars, today, in 1178 BC, Odysseus arrived home from what could be the longest detour in the history of literature. Reading Homer’s Odyssey, and reading about it, can become epic adventures themselves. A piece of literature this old has naturally spawned hundreds of versions across all sorts of media. I am no expert, but I can talk about a few of my favorite versions of The Odyssey.
The Robert Fitzgerald translation has long been my favorite “classic” version of Homer’s epic. I’ve read that many experts find the translation to be pretty clean and accessible, and hey, if you need help with it, you could also grab Ralph J. Hexter’s A Guide To The Odyssey: A Commentary On The English Translation Of Robert Fitzgerald. You can also find Mr. Hexter’s book on Overdrive in either Kindle or ePub format.
If you find yourself fearing the commitment required to read a traditional translation of the Odyssey, you could check out Alexander Aciman’s Twitterature : The World’s Greatest Books In Twenty Tweets Or Less. This wryly humorous collection also includes The Iliad. Bonus!
Knowing my posting history I am sure regular readers will not be surprised that I was smitten with the early 1980’s Ulysses 31 cartoon. It’s available in a DVD collection, but alas, CLP does not yet have it. I’ll have to settle for Gareth Hinds’ excellent graphic novel adaptation, appropriately titled The Odyssey: A Graphic Novel.
You’ll also find no shortage of love for Homer on the Internet. The online information project Chain features an interesting, short, and very readable article entitled “The Myth of Odysseus in Popular Culture” that is well worth reading.
This post merely scratches the surface when it comes to The Odyssey’s penetration into literature, pop culture, and other media. If you’re interested in finding more, doing a simple Keyword search in the library catalog will get you started on an odyssey of your own!