The World’s Best English Epic Poetry – Homer’s Odyssey (in English Translation)

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The world’s best English epic and narrative poetry includes William Morris‘ translation of Homer’s Odyssey.

In this striking narrative, we follow Odysseus (= Ulysses) as he attempts to return home to Ithaca after the Greek victory after the Trojan War. Odysseus’ initial prospects are unpropitious: we first meet our hero incarcerated on the island of Ogygia, which is ruled by the nymph Calypso – who actively prevents Odysseus from leaving. Although Zeus himself procures Odysseus’ release, Odysseus’ troubles are just beginning: as other powers remain offended that Odysseus still lives – and take action to destroy him.

Harassed unceasingly by the enmity of various immortals, Odysseus wanders for a decade before eventually Zeus permits his return home: only to find his own demesne besieged by a host of enemies attempting to wed his own wife on the supposition that Odysseus – by now – must surely be dead!

  • Even when Odysseus leaves Calypso: how can he hope to sail anywhere in safety when he has incurred the wrath of Zeus’ own brother – Poseidon?
  • Is even Odysseus’ cunning enough to escape the wily machinations of: the cyclops Polyphemus, the Lotus-eaters, or the powerful sorceress Circe?

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Odysseus & Polyphemus


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