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Name: ___________________

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Once upon a time . . .  

These lines are famous in our culture as the beginning of a fairy tale. Homer’s ​Odyssey, t​ hough
very much a fantasy tale,​ ​does not start this way.

Since it was first told, the story of the ​Odyssey ​has been translated into nearly every language on
earth. Translating is like another word for ​interpreting a ​ nd the O
​ dyssey h
​ as been interpreted in
many different ways. We will read a few different ways that the first line from the poem has been
translated.

Alexander Pope’s translation from 1725 What do you notice? What does it mean?

The man for wisdom’s various arts renown’d,


Long exercis’d in woes, O Muse ! resound.

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Robert Fitzgerald’s translation from 1961 What do you notice?

Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story


Of that man skilled in all ways of contending,
The wanderer, harried for years on end
After he plundered the stronghold
On the proud height of Troy.
Richard Lattimore’s translation from 1965 What do you notice?

Tell me, Muse, of the man of many ways, who was


driven
Far far journeys after he had sacked Troy’s sacred
citadel.

Robert Fagles translation from 1996 What do you notice?

Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and


turns
Driven time and again off course, once he had
plundered
The hallow heights of Troy.

What are some words that have shown up in all translations so far?

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Elizabeth Wilson’s translation from 2018 What do you notice?

Tell me about a complicated man.

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