The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy
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By Padraic Colum
The Iliad and the Odyssey are two of the world’s oldest and richest stories. Taking the threads of these epics in hand, renowned Irish folklorist Padraic Colum weaves them into a single, marvelous adventure. Here is the story of the wise Odysseus, who bids goodbye to his infant son, Telemachus, his young wife Penelope, and his father, old Laertes, in answer to Agamemnon’s summons that he join the heroic Achilles and other Greek warriors and wage war against Troy. After ten long and bloody years, the thread of war is wound up—yet Odysseus returns not to Ithaca. Ten more years pass as he wanders, encountering Calypso and the Cyclopes, Circe and the Sirens, the terrible Scylla and Charybdis, and more. Yet his wandering may come at a terrible price: presuming Odysseus dead, a host of suitors have presented themselves to Penelope, seeking to win her hand and thus to usurp Telemachus and take his kingdom for themselves.
First published in 1918, The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy has proven itself an invaluable seed of classical education and source of great enjoyment for young readers whose imaginations “rise to deeds and wonders.”
Padraic Colum (1881–1972) was an Irish poet, novelist, and playwright. A leading figure in the Irish Literary revival, he wrote over sixty books and numerous plays and collections of poetry. In 1961, Colum received the Regina Medal from the Catholic Library Association, “awarded annually to a living exemplar of the words…only the rarest kind of best in anything can be good enough for the young.”
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