The Odyssey
  • Publication Date: November 18, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781554814268 / 155481426X
  • 252 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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The Odyssey


  • Publication Date: November 18, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781554814268 / 155481426X
  • 252 pages; 5½" x 8½"

This new edition of Homer’s epic poem is designed with the needs of undergraduate students in mind. The selections, totalling almost half the full work, include all the most famous and most frequently taught episodes. The edition features numerous explanatory footnotes, an illuminating introduction, a glossary of names (with a guide to pronunciation), maps, examples of scenes from the Odyssey depicted in ancient art, and a range of other background materials that help set Homer’s classic in its historical and literary context.


“This is a lovely translation—clear and accessible: it captures the flow of the Greek, it is accurate in handling subtle nuances of that language, and it gives the story a brisk and powerful pace. This significantly shortened edition conveys the essential elements of the story and should be especially welcome for some readers and classroom settings.” — Miles Beckwith, Iona College

“Ian Johnston’s abridged version of his translation of Homer’s Odyssey is an accessible and highly convenient text for use on courses of many different kinds. Comprising forty per cent of the original poem, the text both captures the essential elements of the narrative and makes it manageable for courses with other texts. The introduction is both brief and mostly complete in its range, and is supported by an excellent glossary and collection of parallel literary texts.” — Murray McArthur, University of Waterloo


  • The Gods
  • Odysseus
  • A Note on Poetic Form and on the Translation

The Odyssey: Selections

  • Map
  • Book One: Athena Visits Ithaca
  • Book Two: Telemachus Prepares for His Voyage
  • Book Three: Telemachus Visits Nestor in Pylos
  • Book Four: The Suitors Plan to Kill Telemachus
  • Book Five: Odysseus Leaves Calypso’s Island
  • Book Six: Odysseus and Nausicaa
  • Book Seven: Odysseus at the Court of Alcinous in Phaeacia
  • Book Eight: Odysseus Is Entertained in Phaeacia
  • Book Nine: Ismarus, the Lotus Eaters, and the Cyclops
  • Book Ten: Aeolus, the Laestrygonians, and Circe
  • Book Eleven: Odysseus Meets the Shades of the Dead
  • Book Twelve: The Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, the Cattle of the Sun
  • Book Thirteen: Odysseus Leaves Phaeacia and Reaches Ithaca
  • Book Fourteen: Odysseus Meets Eumaeus
  • Book Fifteen: Telemachus Returns to Ithaca
  • Book Sixteen: Odysseus Reveals Himself to Telemachus
  • Book Seventeen: Odysseus Goes to the Palace as a Beggar
  • Book Eighteen: Odysseus and Irus the Beggar
  • Book Nineteen: Eurycleia Recognizes Odysseus
  • Book Twenty: Odysseus Prepares for His Revenge
  • Book Twenty-One: The Contest with Odysseus’s Bow
  • Book Twenty-Two: The Killing of the Suitors
  • Book Twenty-Three: Odysseus and Penelope
  • Book Twenty-Four: Zeus and Athena End the Fighting

In Context

  • Literary Contexts
    • from Xenophanes, Fragments (c. fifth century bce)
    • from Pindar, Nemean 7 (c. fifth century bce)
    • from Plato, The Republic (c. 380 bce)
    • from Aristotle, Poetics (c. 335 bce)
    • from Longinus?, On the Sublime (c. 1st century ce)
    • from Demetrius?, On Style (c. 1st century ce)
  • The Odyssey in Ancient Art
  • Early Written and Printed Versions




Ian Johnston’s other works include translations of Antigone, Oedipus the King, and several other classical Greek texts, as well as numerous translations of Latin, French, and German works, among them Broadview editions of Kant’s On Perpetual Peace, Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, and Rousseau’s Fundamental Political Writings. Now retired, Johnston was for many years a professor at Vancouver Island University.