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Gullivers Travels from Ancient Times
Odyssey - Homer
Member Name: marcel_beren
Odyssey - Homer
Date: 28/02/01, updated on 28/02/01 (92 review reads)
Advantages: Eye-popping excitement
Disadvantages: Watch out for bad translations. Go for a noted publisher.
This is one of the world's greatest (and oldest) stories.
It can be ruined by a poor translation - and there are plenty about. My tip is to go for the edition printed by the most prestigious and well-known publisher you can find. There are many childrens' versions too, some of which are excellent. It's a story children love, of someone desperate to get home - circumstances they're all too familiar with!
This book tells of the return from Troy of Ulysses / Odysseus (depending on the Greek or Latin name of the same person).
The Trojan war has finally been won and the Greeks can return home after so many years away from their loved ones.
Yet Ulysses stumbles from disaster to disaster, encountering many tragedies on his way, as well as adventures. There's much of interest here - Cyclops and other monsters, mad people, bad people and if you happen to be a fan of 80s band The Police, you'll at last understand the line in "Wrapped around Your Finger" about Sicylla and Charibdis - the origins of the expression of being caught between a rock and a hard place.
Ulysses' biggest mistake is to anger the god of the Sea, Poseidon (I won't reveal how!). For someone dependent on ships to get him home, this is quite a problem, as Poseidon dogs his every step.
The finale, surrounding his own home, is quite stupendous and there are more twists here than in a ball of yarn.
Originally, this was a story that was recited, off by heart, by storytellers. There are many mnemonic devices to assist the recall of the storyteller, such as repetitive phrases they would not need to concentrate on, as they tried to recall the next phase. ("The wine-red sea" is one that comes to mind)
Historically, this book is set in the pre-Archaic period of Greece, which is in turn the pre-Classical period with which so many are familiar. Historians use the anachronisms in it to learn more ab
out the Archaic period in which it was "written" or composed.
This is a wonderful, stirring story, full of surprising emotions such as tenderness and romance, as well as the more martial themes. The moral seems to be to placate the gods and don't take liberties with the possessions of a hero, unless you are CERTAIN he is dead!