I know, abridged, how dare I sully literature by not reading it in its full form. But as I can’t read (or hear) Ancient Greek it could already be said to be sullied by the translation into English. Besides if it was good enough for Sir Ian McKellen it’s most certainly good enough for me.
Let me explain. I have been listening to the adventure of Odysseus read by Sir Ian McKellen who brings what could be very dull speeches to riveting life.
The story of the Odyssey sounds like a very modern tale in this modern abridged translation and gives me thoughts of a young adult book where the teenage boys and his mother long for the return of the father lost during a war.
I love the intelligent responses to problems Odysseus always provides. He the MacGyver of the Ancient Greeks. I also love the magic of the gods whose fickle characters one moment are against a man and then stand beside him in battle for all he holds dear.
Though language is an appeal characteristic for this story due to its great age and the nature of the style (mostly speeches) the story of how this luckless man finally get’s home after 20 years away is the main reason to read this story.
Not that I would discourage anyone from reading the Odyssey, but it’s very clear this story was originally told by storytellers and only later written down. That’s why if you see Sir Ian on the shelf I recommend you pick it up and plunge into the world of Odysseus.