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.
'The Making of the Odyssey' is a penetrating study of the background, composition, and artistry of the Homeric Odyssey, which places the poem in its late seventh-century context in relation to the 'Iliad' and other poetry of the time.
Whereas traditional commentaries tend to be comprehensive and micro-textual, this narratological commentary, first published in 2001, focuses on one aspect of the Odyssey, its narrativity, and pays lavish attention to the meso- and macro-levels. Drawing on the concepts of modern narratology as well as the insights of Homeric scholarship, it discusses the role of narrator and narratees, methods of characterization and description, plot-development, focalization, and the narrative exploitation of type-scenes. Full attention is also given to the structure, characterizing function, and relation to the narrative context of the abundantly present speeches. Finally, the numerous themes and motifs, which so subtly contribute to the unity of this long text, are traced and evaluated. Although Homer's brilliant narrative art has always been admired, this commentary aims to lay bare the techniques responsible for this brilliance. All Greek is translated and all technical terms explained in a glossary.
This is a literary explication aimed at helping the first-time reader more fully to appreciate and understand the Odyssey. The book includes a chronology, extensive notes, and suggestions for further reading.
This wide-ranging collection makes available to specialists and nonspecialists alike important critical work on the Odyssey produced during the last half century. The ten essays address five major concerns: the poem's programmatic representation of social and religious institutions and values; its transformation of folktales and traditional stories into epic adventures; its representation of gender roles and, in particular, of Penelope; its narrative strategies and form; and its relation to the Iliad, especially to that epic's distinctive conception of heroism. In the introduction, Seth L. Schein describes the poetic background to the work and suggests a variety of interpretive approaches, some of which are developed in the essays that follow. These essays include previously published work by Jean-Pierre Vernant, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Pietro Pucci, and Charles P. Segal. There also are a new essay by Laura M. Slatkin, two revised and expanded ones by Nancy Felson-Rubin and Michael N. Nagler, and three appearing in English for the first time by Uvo Hlscher, Karl Reinhardt, and Vernant. The result is a collection that juxtaposes older, often hard-to-find articles with significant newer pieces in a way that allows for a fruitful dialogue among them.