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The Adventures of Ulysses

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(1808)




Charles Lamb wrote this small book in 1808 to tell the tale of Homer's Odyssey to children. It is a wonderfully well-written and accurate account of the story of Ulysses, and modern readers will be surprised at the sentence structure that the early nineteenth century felt was suitable for children. Today it is a good introduction to the verse version for adults as well as children. The year before Lamb wrote this book, he and his sister Mary wrote Tales from Shakespeare in 1807. This is a collection of short-story versions of Shakespeare's plays with some of the dialogue directly from the play. Before World War II, many, many children read Lamb, Bulfinch's Mythology, and Charles Dickens before leaving high school. To read Lamb is a pleasure at any age, and his work provides a marvellously literate transition to the original versions by Homer and Shakespeare. Lamb had a justifiably good reputation as an essayist in the nineteenth century. His essays are genial, humane, and extraordinarily observant. Those who like the prose of his tale of Ulysses owes it to themselves to read more of Charles Lamb. ~ Submitted by Jane Honeycutt

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