The Odyssey, translated by T. E. Lawrence, an epic 12,000-line poem composed over 2,700 years ago, is the first adventure story in Western literature. It describes the ten-year wanderings of Odysseus in his quest to return home after the Trojan War. Hounded by the sea-god Poseidon and championed by the goddess Athene, he encounters giants, sorceresses, and sea monsters before finally reaching his beloved Ithaca. There he must endure the taunts of the Suitors to his queen, Penelope, who have taken up residence in his palace. At once enchanting fairy tale and gripping drama, the Odyssey is eminently readable, not least for the rich complexity and magnetism of its hero. An inspiration to writers as diverse as Virgil, Swift, and Joyce, the Odyssey has proved enormously influential and continues to captivate readers of all ages.
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