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Allegories of the Odyssey
John Tzetzes
Harvard University Press, 2019
Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey were central to the educational system of Byzantium, yet the religion and culture of the Homeric epics—even the ancient Greek language itself—had become almost unrecognizable to Byzantine Greek readers coming to the texts nearly two millennia later. The scholar, poet, and teacher John Tzetzes (ca. 1110–1180) joined the extensive tradition of interpreting Homer by producing his Allegories of the Iliad, dedicated to the foreign-born empress Eirene. Tzetzes later composed the Allegories of the Odyssey, a more advanced verse commentary, to explain Odysseus’s journey and the pagan gods and marvels he encountered. Through historical allegory, the gods become ancient kings deified by the pagan poet; through astrological interpretation, they become planets whose positions and movements affect human life; through moral allegory Athena represents wisdom, Aphrodite desire. This edition presents the first translation of the Allegories of the Odyssey into any language.
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Audible Punctuation
Performative Pause in Homeric Prosody
Ronald J. J. Blankenborg
Harvard University Press, 2019

Audible Punctuation focuses on the pause in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, both as a compositional feature and as a performative aspect of delivery, arguing for the possibilities and limits of expressing phrases in performance. Ronald Blankenborg’s analysis of metrical, rhythmical, syntactical, and phonological phrasing shows that the text of the Homeric epic allows for different options for performative pause—a phonetic phenomenon evidenced by phonology.

From the ubiquitous compositional pauses in sense and metrical surface structure, Audible Punctuation selects the pauses that, under specific phonetic circumstances, double as rests of some duration during a performance. In this way, Blankenborg identifies those places in the verses that a performer of Homeric poetry was most likely to have used as opportunities to pause. The distribution of pauses over Homer’s hexameters proves to be irregular and unpredictable because phonological phrases and grammatical clauses differ considerably in the way they terminate. The mismatch of prosodic and other levels of phrasing draws attention to the need to reassess stylistic issues, notably enjambment.

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Blemished Kings
Suitors in the Odyssey, Blame Poetics, and Irish Satire
Andrea Kouklanakis
Harvard University Press, 2023

Each of the suitors in the Odyssey is eager to become the king of Ithaca by marrying Penelope and disqualifying Telemachus from his rightful royal inheritance. Their words are contentious, censorious, and intent on marking Odysseus’ son as unfit for kingship. However, in keeping with other reversals in the Odyssey, it is the suitors who are shown to be unfit to rule.

In Blemished Kings, Andrea Kouklanakis interprets the language of the suitors—their fighting words—as Homeric expressions of reproach and critique against unsuitable kings. She suggests that the suitors’ disparaging expressions, and the refutations they provoke from Telemachus and from Odysseus himself, rest on the ideology whereby a blemished king cannot rule. Therefore, the suitors vehemently reject Telemachus’ suggestion that they are to be blamed. She shows that in the Odyssey there is linguistic and semantic evidence for the concept that blame poetry can physically blemish, hence disqualify, rulers. In her comparative approach, Kouklanakis looks towards the regulatory role of satire in early Irish law and myth, particularly the taboo against a blemished-face king, offering thereby a socio-poetic context for the suitors’ struggles for kingship.

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Bloodlines
Odyssey of a Native Daughter
Janet Campbell Hale
University of Arizona Press, 1998
These autobiographical essays by a member of the Coeur d'Alene tribe interweave personal experiences with striking portraits of relatives, both living and dead, to form a rich tapestry of history, storytelling, and remembrance. Hale's is a story of intense and resonant beauty. Breathtaking in its range and authority, Bloodlines is an important addition to the literature of women of color.
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Children of Hope
The Odyssey of the Oromo Slaves from Ethiopia to South Africa
Sandra Rowoldt Shell
Ohio University Press, 2018

In Children of Hope, Sandra Rowoldt Shell traces the lives of sixty-four Oromo children who were enslaved in Ethiopia in the late-nineteenth century, liberated by the British navy, and ultimately sent to Lovedale Institution, a Free Church of Scotland mission in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, for their safety. Because Scottish missionaries in Yemen interviewed each of the Oromo children shortly after their liberation, we have sixty-four structured life histories told by the children themselves.

In the historiography of slavery and the slave trade, first passage narratives are rare, groups of such narratives even more so. In this analytical group biography (or prosopography), Shell renders the experiences of the captives in detail and context that are all the more affecting for their dispassionate presentation. Comparing the children by gender, age, place of origin, method of capture, identity, and other characteristics, Shell enables new insights unlike anything in the existing literature for this region and period.

Children of Hope is supplemented by graphs, maps, and illustrations that carefully detail the demographic and geographic layers of the children’s origins and lives after capture. In this way, Shell honors the individual stories of each child while also placing them into invaluable and multifaceted contexts.

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Coolie Woman
The Odyssey of Indenture
Gaiutra Bahadur
University of Chicago Press, 2013
In 1903, a young woman sailed from India to Guiana as a “coolie”—the British name for indentured laborers who replaced the newly emancipated slaves on sugar plantations all around the world. Pregnant and traveling alone, this woman, like so many coolies, disappeared into history. In Coolie Woman—shortlisted for the 2014 Orwell Prize—her great-granddaughter Gaiutra Bahadur embarks on a journey into the past to find her. Traversing three continents and trawling through countless colonial archives, Bahadur excavates not only her great-grandmother’s story but also the repressed history of some quarter of a million other coolie women, shining a light on their complex lives.

Shunned by society, and sometimes in mortal danger, many coolie women were either runaways, widows, or outcasts. Many of them left husbands and families behind to migrate alone in epic sea voyages—traumatic “middle passages”—only to face a life of hard labor, dismal living conditions, and, especially, sexual exploitation. As Bahadur explains, however, it is precisely their sexuality that makes coolie women stand out as figures in history. Greatly outnumbered by men, they were able to use sex with their overseers to gain various advantages, an act that often incited fatal retaliations from coolie men and sometimes larger uprisings of laborers against their overlords. Complex and unpredictable, sex was nevertheless a powerful tool.

Examining this and many other facets of these remarkable women’s lives, Coolie Woman is a meditation on survival, a gripping story of a double diaspora—from India to the West Indies in one century, Guyana to the United States in the next—that is at once a search for one’s roots and an exploration of gender and power, peril and opportunity. 
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Daniel DeLeon
The Odyssey of an American Marxist
L. Glen Seretan
Harvard University Press, 1979

This is the first authoritative biography of Daniel DeLeon, an enigmatic and compelling figure in the history of American Marxism. He was the leader of the Socialist Labor Party (for years the only active socialist party in America) and he was active in the Knights of Labor and the Industrial Workers of the World. He fought the “pure and simple” trade unionism of Samuel Gompers and founded the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance as an alternative. He was, L. Glenn Seretan writes, “probably the most gifted and original Marxist intellectual to focus his attention on the problems attending revolution in the advanced capitalist civilization of the United States.”

Seretan sees Deleon's career centered in several contradictions. He was an avid foe of the Catholic Church, but he pretended to be a Venezuelan Catholic aristocrat descended from Ponce de Leon. He found a theme for his life, Seretan argues, in the legend of the Wandering Jew, and resolved the problem of his social identity by throwing himself into the work of socialism.

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Folktales in Homer’s Odyssey
Denys L. Page
Harvard University Press, 1973

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For the Love of Enzymes
The Odyssey of a Biochemist
Arthur Kornberg
Harvard University Press, 1989

In 1645 the Japanese samurai Musashi Miamoto wrote A Book of Five Rings, which described the attitudes necessary for individual success. Though he was a swordsman, his book was not limited to combat but addressed the much broader question of how to achieve excellence in life through study, discipline, and planning. It is still avidly read in Japan today. Arthur Kornberg’s book is a modern-day Book of Five Rings that replaces the medium of swordsmanship with that of biochemistry, particularly enzymology. As Kornberg describes his successive research problems, the challenges they presented, and the ultimate accomplishments that resulted, he provides us with a primer in the strategies needed to do scientific work of great significance. Moreover, these strategies are played out in the context of solving some of the great biochemical problems of the twentieth century.

The ability to manipulate and alter DNA fired a revolution that forever changed the nature of biology. Arthur Kornberg is a primary architect of that revolution, arguably one of the two or three most important biologists of this time. Prior to Kornberg, genetic information and later DNA were imbued by biologists with an almost vitalistic aura. Kornberg demonstrated that DNA is a molecule synthesized by enzymes, like all other chemical constituents of the cell. More important, he trained a school of scientists who focused on and discovered many of the enzymatic activities that act on DNA. It is these enzymes in particular that allow modern “genetic engineering.”

For the Love of Enzymes does not describe a single lucky or hard-won accomplishment. Rather, it is the story of thirty years of decisive campaigns, nearly all of which led to insights of major significance. In relating his story, Kornberg never avoids the difficult question of “why”: why he felt classical nutritional studies had reached a plateau, why he turned to enzymology as a discipline in which the important answers would be found, and why he believes the study of enzymes will grow ever more important as we face the new scientific frontier of brain function.

This book will challenge students of biology and chemistry at all levels who want to do important work rather than simply follow popular trends. It will also delight and inform readers who wish to understand how “real” science is done, and to learn of the values that guide one of our greatest researchers.

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Hippota Nestor
Douglas Frame
Harvard University Press, 2009

This book is about the Homeric figure Nestor. This study is important because it reveals a level of deliberate irony in the Homeric poems that has hitherto not been suspected, and because Nestor’s role in the poems, which is built on this irony, is a key to the circumstances of the poems’ composition.

Nestor’s stories about the past, especially his own youth, often lack purpose on the surface of the poems, but with a slight shift of focus they provide a deep commentary on the present action of both poems. Nestor’s Homeric epithet, hippota, “the horseman,” permits the necessary refocus. The combination of epithet and name, hippota Nestor, has Indo-European roots, as a comparison with Vedic Sanskrit shows. Interpreted in the context of the Indo-European twin myth, Nestor’s role clearly points beyond itself to the key question in Homeric studies: the circumstances of the poems’ composition.

Nestor has a special relation to Ionia, where the Homeric poems were composed, and through Ionia to early Athens. The relationship between the Ionian city of Miletus and early Athens is particularly important. In addition to the role of these cities, the location of Nestor’s city Pylos, an ancient conundrum, is sharply illuminated by this new interpretation of Nestor’s Homeric role.

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Homer's Odyssey
John H. Finley, Jr.
Harvard University Press, 1978

This is the long-awaited work on Homer's Odyssey by one of our foremost teachers and scholars of the classics--John H. Finley, Jr. Already, generations of students at Harvard have benefited from his knowledge and understanding of Homer's words and world. Now his thoughts on the Odyssey are woven together in this remarkable volume.

Finley begins by arguing the unity of design in the Odyssey, and shows the connection between the actions of three main characters: Telemachus' maturity brings Penelope to her long-delayed decision for remarriage, which, by producing the bow as marriage-test, gives the unknown Odysseus his means of success against the suitors.

Finley also suggests that the poem is a kind of half-divine comedy. About an older man's glad return, it contrasts to the Iliad's story of young man's death far from home. It is a comedy to the Iliad's tragedy and, like Shakespeare's Tempest, it brings the absent king to knowledge which, though initially unwelcome, proves his and others' happiness.

Throughout his book, Finley applies a lifetime's learning to a work that is universally recognized as one of the highest achievements of our civilization. At a time when Homer is in danger of being swallowed by specialists, it is important to recognize and uphold the poet's basic concern for life and myth and legend. Such sympathy combined with knowledge is Finley's fine achievement.

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Kleos in a Minor Key
The Homeric Education of a Little Prince
J. C. B. Petropoulos
Harvard University Press, 2011

As scholars have remarked, the word kleos in the Iliad and the Odyssey alike refers to something more substantive and complex than “fame” or “glory.” Kleos distinctly supposes an oral narrative—principally an “oral history,” a “life story” or ultimately an “oral tradition.” When broken down into its twin constituents, “words” and “actions” or “deeds,” a hero’s kleos serves to define him as a fully gendered social being.

This book is a meditation on this concept as expressed and experienced in the adult society Telemachos find himself in. Kleos is the yardstick by which his psychological change was appreciated by Homer’s audiences. As this book shows through philological and interdisciplinary analysis, Prince Telemachos grows up in the course of the Telemachy and arguably even beyond (in book 24): his education, which is conceived largely as an apprenticeship on land and sea, admits him gradually if unevenly to a full-fledged adult kleos—a kleos that nonetheless necessarily remains minor in comparison to that of his father and other elders.

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The Limits of Heroism
Homer and the Ethics of Reading
Mark Buchan
University of Michigan Press, 2005
The plots of Homeric poems depend upon the uncertainty of Odysseus and Achilles getting what they want, while the endings imply that getting what one wants may itself be a disaster. By examining specific episodes of the Odyssey, Mark Buchan illustrates the centrality of hazard and doubt to decision-making, and argues that such uncertainty affects not only the heroes themselves, but also the world around them. Buchan goes on to introduce the paradoxes of female desire in the poems, uncovering the ways that female desire at once upholds and threatens the poems' heroic male ideology. Finally, The Limits of Heroism questions the interplay between desire and ideals of heroism, and finds that the poems critique the very ideology that motivates their heroes.
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Modern Odysseys
Cavafy, Woolf, Césaire, and a Poetics of Indirection
Michelle Zerba
The Ohio State University Press, 2021
Michelle Zerba’s Modern Odysseys explores three major writers in global modernism from the Mediterranean, Anglo-European Britain, and the Caribbean whose groundbreaking literary works have never been studied together before. Using language as an instrument of revolution and social change, C. P. Cavafy, Virginia Woolf, and Aimé Césaire gave expression to the forms of human experience we now associate with modernity: homoeroticism, transsexuality, and racial consciousness. More specifically, Zerba argues that Odyssean tropes of diffusion, isolation, passage, and return give form to works by these writers but in ways that invite us to reconsider and revise the basic premises of reception studies and intellectual history.
 
Combining close readings of literary texts with the study of interviews, essays, diaries, and letters, Zerba advances a revisionary account of how to approach relationships between antiquity and modernity. Instead of frontal encounters with the Odyssey, Cavafy, Woolf, and Césaire indirectly—but no less significantly—engage with Homer’s epic poem. In demonstrating how such encounters operate, Modern Odysseys explores issues of race and sexuality that connect antiquity with the modern period.
 
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The Odyssey
Homer
University of Michigan Press, 2002
The Odyssey is considered to be one of the greatest pieces of world literature. Its basic story--the homecoming of Odysseus--is widely known. Although it has often been translated, earlier versions do not give the reader the full sense of its oral epic nature as a song that came into being through a long tradition of sung performances before writing was widely practiced. When finally written down, it retained its oral-formulaic nature in ways that are clearly discernible, and which this translation successfully captures. Rodney Merrill strictly adheres to the use of dactylic hexameter, the meter by which the formulaic language of Homeric poetry is rendered as musical phrasing rather than as a simple repetition of ideas. Reading this version--especially aloud--will grant both students and teachers fresh insight into the nature of Greek epic and Homer's song about one of the most famous characters of all time.
This epic began life as the music composed by a "singer of tales," not as words on a page. As such, its meter allows for pleasing variations with a strong basic "beat," thus providing a rhythmic impetus that carries the story swiftly forward. The resulting "music" has important repercussions for the reader's perception of the many repeated elements that provide structure for the poem and bring out significant themes, just as the repetitions in a piece of music do.
This edition of the Odyssey includes selections for further reading, a list of proper names (with a guide to pronunciation), and three maps. It also provides introductory discussions of how the work came into being and was transmitted until it became the work we read, how it is divided into six "performance sessions" of four books each, and how the poem's various themes are developed. Rodney Merrill's Odyssey is thus an ideal edition for students, teachers, and general readers.
The audiobook is available on twelve cassettes, and is read by Rodney Merrill. This version will bring Homer's epic masterpiece to life like never before. Perfect for the car or classroom!
Rodney Merrill is retired and an independent scholar. He has taught at Stanford University, the University of San Francisco, and the University of California, Berkeley.
Thomas R. Walsh, Senior Professor at Occidental College, has written articles on Homeric poetics, with a forthcoming book on anger in Homer.
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The Odyssey
Homer
University of Chicago Press
A landmark new translation of Homer’s most popular epic by distinguished author and classicist Daniel Mendelsohn.
 
In 1961, the University of Chicago Press published Richmond Lattimore's translation of Homer’s The Iliad. For more than sixty years, it has served to introduce readers to the ancient Greek world of gods and heroes and has been one of the most popular and respected versions of the work. Yet through all those decades, Chicago never published a companion translation of the best-known epic in the Western canon, The Odyssey—until now.
 
With his new Odyssey, celebrated author, critic, classicist, and translator Daniel Mendelsohn has created a rendering worthy of Chicago’s unparalleled reputation in classical literature. Widely known for his essays bringing classical literature and culture to mainstream audiences in the New Yorker and many other publications, Mendelsohn eschews the streamlining and modernizing approach of many recent translations, focusing instead on the epic’s formal qualities—meter, enjambment, alliteration, assonance—in order to bring it to life in all its archaic grandeur. In this line-for-line rendering, the long, six-beat line he uses, closer to the original than that of other recent translations, allows him to capture each Greek line without sacrificing the amplitude and shadings of the original.
 
The result is a magnificent feat of translation, one that conveys the poetics of the original while bringing to vivid life the gripping adventure, profound human insight, and powerful themes that make Homer’s work continue to resonate today. Supported by an extensive introduction, notes, and commentary, Mendelsohn’s Odyssey is poised to become the authoritative English-language version of this magnificent and enduringly influential masterpiece.  
 
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The Odyssey
A Play
Mary Zimmerman
Northwestern University Press, 2003
This dramatic adaptation of Homer's myth begins with a modern young woman who is struggling to understand Robert Fitzgerald's translation of The Odyssey. A classical muse appears, and the young woman becomes the goddess Athena--a tireless advocate for Odysseus in his struggle to get home. With her trademark irreverent and witty twist on classic works, Zimmerman brings to life the story of Odysseus's ten-year journey, depicting his encounters with characters such as Circe, the Cyclops, Poseidon, Calypso, the Sirens, and others.
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Odyssey of a Wandering Mind
The Strange Tale of Sara Mayfield, Author
Jennifer Horne
University of Alabama Press, 2024
A carefully rendered portrait of a brilliant but troubled daughter of the Old South who struggled against the conventions of gender, class, family, and ultimately of sanity, yet survived to define a creative life of her own
 
Sara Mayfield was born into Alabama’s governing elite in 1905 and grew up in a social circle that included Zelda Sayre, Sara Haardt, and Tallulah and Eugenia Bankhead. After winning a Goucher College short story contest judged by H. L. Mencken, Mayfield became friends with Mencken and his circle, then visited with Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and hobnobbed with the literati while traveling in Europe after a failed marriage. Returning to Alabama during the Depression, she briefly managed the family landholdings before departing for New York City where she became involved in the theater. Inventing a plastic compound while working on theatrical sets, she applied for a patent and set her sights on a livelihood as an inventor and businesswoman. With the advent of World War II, Mayfield returned to her family home in Tuscaloosa where she expanded her experiments, freelanced as a journalist, and doggedly pursued a bizarre series of military and intelligence schemes, prompting temporary hospitalization. In 1945, she mingled with a host of cultural figures, including Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, and even a young John F. Kennedy, while reporting on the creation of the United Nations from Mexico and California. Back in Tuscaloosa after the war, however, she struggled to find her way with both work and family, becoming increasingly paranoid about perceived conspiracies arrayed against her. Finally, her mother and brother committed her to Bryce Hospital for the Insane, where she remained for the next seventeen years.

Throughout her life, Mayfield kept journals, wrote fiction, and produced thousands of letters while nursing the ambition that had driven her since childhood: to write and publish books. During her confinement, Mayfield assiduously recorded her experiences and her determined efforts—sometimes delusional, always savvy—to overturn her diagnosis and return to the world as a sane, independent adult. At 59, she was released from Bryce and later obtained a decree of “having been restored to sanity,” enabling her to manage her own financial affairs and to live how and where she pleased. She went on to publish noteworthy literary biographies of the Menckens and the Fitzgeralds plus a novel based on the life of Mona Lisa, finally achieving her quest to become the author of books and her own life. In Odyssey of a Wandering Mind, noted writer Jennifer Horne draws on years of research and an intimate understanding of the vast archive Sara Mayfield left behind to sensitively render Mayfield’s struggle to move through the world as the person she was—and her ultimate success in surviving to define the terms of her story.
 
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The Odyssey of Ibn Battuta
Uncommon Tales of a Medieval Adventurer
David Waines
University of Chicago Press, 2010

Ibn Battuta was, without doubt, one of the world’s truly great travelers. Born in fourteenth-century Morocco, and a contemporary of Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta left an account in his own words of his remarkable journeys, punctuated by adventure and peril, throughout the Islamic world and beyond. Whether sojourning in Delhi and the Maldives, wandering through the mazy streets of Cairo and Damascus, or contesting with pirates and shipwreck, the indefatigable Ibn Battuta brought to vivid life a medieval world brimming with marvel and mystery. Carefully observing the great diversity of civilizations that he encountered, Ibn Battuta exhibited an omnivorous interest in such matters as food and drink; religious differences among Christians, Hindus, and Shia Muslims; and ideas about purity and impurity, disease, women, and sex.

David Waines offers here a graceful analysis of Ibn Battuta’s travelogue. This is a gripping treatment of the life and times of one of history’s most daring, and at the same time most human, adventurers.

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Odyssey of the Psyche
Jungian Patterns in Joyce's Ulysses
Jean Kimball
Southern Illinois University Press, 1997

The result of the interaction between Bloom and Dedalus, Kimball argues as a central tenet in her unique reading of Ulysses, is the gradual development of a relationship between the two protagonists that parallels C. G. Jung’s descriptions of the encounter between the Ego and the Shadow in that stage of his theoretical individuation process called "the realization of the shadow." These parallels form a unifying strand of meaning that runs throughout this multidimensional novel and is supported by the text and contexts of Ulysses.

Kimball has provided the first comprehensive study of the relationship between Jungian psychology and Joyce’s Ulysses. Bucking critical trends, she focuses on Stephen rather than Bloom. She also notes certain parallels—synchronicities—in the lives of both Jung and Joyce, not because the men influenced one another but because they speculated about personality at the same historical time. Finally, noting that both Jung and Joyce came from strong Christian backgrounds, she asserts that the doubleness of the human personality fundamental to Christian theology is carried over into Jung’s psychology and Joyce’s fiction.

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Odyssey, Volume I
Books 1–12
Homer
Harvard University Press, 1995

The hero’s journey home from war.

Here is a new Loeb Classical Library edition of the resplendent epic tale of Odysseus’ long journey home from the Trojan War and the legendary temptations, delays, and perils he faced at every turn. Homer’s classic poem features Odysseus’ encounters with the beautiful nymph Calypso; the queenly but wily Circe; the Lotus-eaters, who fed his men their memory-stealing drug; the man-eating, one-eyed Cyclops; the Laestrygonian giants; the souls of the dead in Hades; the beguiling Sirens; the treacherous Scylla and Charybdis. Here, too, is the hero’s faithful wife, Penelope, weaving a shroud by day and unraveling it by night, in order to thwart the numerous suitors attempting to take Odysseus’ place.

The works attributed to Homer include the two oldest and greatest European epic poems, the Odyssey and Iliad. These texts have long stood in the Loeb Classical Library with a faithful and literate prose translation by A. T. Murray. George Dimock has brought the Loeb’s Odyssey up to date, with a rendering that retains Murray’s admirable style but is worded for today’s readers. The two-volume edition includes a new introduction, notes, and index.

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Odyssey, Volume II
Books 13–24
Homer
Harvard University Press, 1995

The hero’s journey home from war.

Here is a new Loeb Classical Library edition of the resplendent epic tale of Odysseus’ long journey home from the Trojan War and the legendary temptations, delays, and perils he faced at every turn. Homer’s classic poem features Odysseus’ encounters with the beautiful nymph Calypso; the queenly but wily Circe; the Lotus-eaters, who fed his men their memory-stealing drug; the man-eating, one-eyed Cyclops; the Laestrygonian giants; the souls of the dead in Hades; the beguiling Sirens; the treacherous Scylla and Charybdis. Here, too, is the hero’s faithful wife, Penelope, weaving a shroud by day and unraveling it by night, in order to thwart the numerous suitors attempting to take Odysseus’ place.

The works attributed to Homer include the two oldest and greatest European epic poems, the Odyssey and Iliad. These texts have long stood in the Loeb Classical Library with a faithful and literate prose translation by A. T. Murray. George Dimock has brought the Loeb’s Odyssey up to date, with a rendering that retains Murray’s admirable style but is worded for today’s readers. The two-volume edition includes a new introduction, notes, and index.

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One Man Show
Poetics and Presence in the Iliad and Odyssey
Katherine Kretler
Harvard University Press, 2019

This book plumbs the virtues of the Homeric poems as scripts for solo performance. Despite academic focus on orality and on composition in performance, we have yet to fully appreciate the Iliad and Odyssey as the sophisticated scripts that they are. What is lost in the journey from the stage to the page?

Readers may be readily impressed by the vividness of the poems, but they may miss out on the strange presence or uncanniness that the performer evoked in ancient audience members such as Plato and Aristotle. This book focuses on the performer not simply as transparent mediator, but as one haunted by multiple stories and presences, who brings suppressed voices to the surface.

Performance is inextricable from all aspects of the poems, from image to structure to background story. Background stories previously neglected, even in some of the most familiar passages (such as Phoenix’s speech in Iliad 9) are brought to the surface, and passages readers tend to rush through (such as Odysseus’s encounter with Eumaeus) are shown to have some of the richest dramatic potential. Attending to performance enlivens isolated features in a given passage by showing how they work together.

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The Oral Palimpsest
Exploring Intertextuality in the Homeric Epics
Christos Tsagalis
Harvard University Press, 2008

Oral intertextuality is an innate feature of the web of myth, whose interrelated fabrics allow the audience of epic song to have access to an entire horizon of diverse variants of a story. The Oral Palimpsest argues that just as the erased text of a palimpsest still carries traces of its previous writing, so the Homeric tradition unfolds its awareness of alternative versions in the act of producing the signs of their erasure.

In this light, "Homer" reflects the concerted effort to create a Panhellenic canon of epic song, through which we can still retrieve the poikilia (roughly, "dappled, embroidered variation") of various interwoven fabrics belonging to recognizable song-traditions or even older Indo-European strata.

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Plato through Homer
Poetry and Philosophy in the Cosmological Dialogues
Zdravko Planinc
University of Missouri Press, 2003
This new study challenges traditional ways of reading Plato by showing that his philosophy and political theory cannot be understood apart from a consideration of the literary or aesthetic features of his writing. More specifically, it shows how Plato’s well-known cosmological dialogues—the Phaedrus, Timaeus, and Critias—are structured using several books of the Odyssey as their shared source text.
While there has recently been much scholarly discussion of the relation between poetry and philosophy in Plato’s dialogues, little of it addresses questions central to thoroughgoing literary criticism. Planinc’s work is unique in that it shows the significance of Plato’s extensive refiguring of key episodes in the Odyssey for an interpretation of his political philosophy.
Plato’s cosmological dialogues are almost always discussed topically. The Timaeus is picked through for its theological or scientific doctrines; the Critias is reduced to its Atlantis story, or puzzled over because of its ostensible incompleteness; and the Phaedrus is read for its parallels to modern understandings of erotics or rhetoric. The dialogues are not usually considered in relation to one another, and then only in the context of developmental schemes primarily concerned with distinguishing periods in Plato’s metaphysical doctrines.
Planinc argues that the main literary features of the Phaedrus,Timaeus, and Critias are taken from books 6 to 9 of the Odyssey, the largest part of the story of Odysseus’s stay with the Phaeacians, from the time he swims to shore and encounters Nausicaa to the time he reveals his identity and begins recounting his earlier travels after hearing Demodocus’s songs. By exploring the full range of the many charming and intriguing things the dialogues present in this literary context, he shows that they are a coherent, unified part of Plato’s corpus.
Plato through Homer takes a radically new approach to Plato’s texts that illuminates their literary and philosophic significance and highlights their enduring appeal.
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Reading Homer’s Odyssey
Kostas Myrsiades
Bucknell University Press, 2019
Finalist for the 2020 PROSE Awards, Classics section

Homer’s Odyssey is the first great travel narrative in Western culture. A compelling tale about the consequences of war, and about redemption, transformation, and the search for home, the Odyssey continues to be studied in universities and schools, and to be read and referred to by ordinary readers. Reading Homer’s Odyssey offers a book-by-book commentary on the epic’s themes that informs the non-specialist and engages the seasoned reader in new perspectives. Among the themes discussed are hospitality, survival, wealth, reputation and immortality, the Olympian gods, self-reliance and community, civility, behavior, etiquette and technology, ease, inactivity and stagnation, Penelope’s relationship with Odysseus, Telemachus’ journey, Odysseus’ rejection of Calypso’s offer of immortality, Odysseus’ lies, Homer’s use of the House of Atreus and other myths, the cinematic qualities of the epic’s structure, women’s role in the epic, and the Odyssey’s true ending. Footnotes clarify and elaborate upon myths that Homer leaves unfinished, explain terms and phrases, and provide background information. The volume concludes with a general bibliography of work on the Odyssey, in addition to the bibliographies that accompany each book’s commentary.

Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
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The Revelation of Imagination
From Homer and the Bible through Virgil and Augustine to Dante
William Franke
Northwestern University Press, 2015

In The Revelation of Imagination, William Franke attempts to focus on what is enduring and perennial rather than on what is accommodated to the agenda of the moment. Franke’s book offers re-actualized readings of representative texts from the Bible, Homer, and Virgil to Augustine and Dante. The selections are linked together in such a way as to propose a general interpretation of knowledge. They emphasize, moreover, a way of articulating the connection of humanities knowledge with what may, in various senses, be called divine revelation. This includes the sort of inspiration to which poets since Homer have typically laid claim, as well as that proper to the biblical tradition of revealed religion. The Revelation of Imagination invigorates the ongoing discussion about the value of humanities as a source of enduring knowledge.

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Rights on Trial
The Odyssey of a People's Lawyer
Arthur Kinoy
Harvard University Press, 1983

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Siren Songs
Gender, Audiences, and Narrators in the Odyssey
Lillian Eileen Doherty
University of Michigan Press, 1995
In Siren Songs: Gender, Audiences, and Narrators in the Odyssey, Lillian Eileen Doherty shows us that the attitude of Odysseus, as well as of the Odyssey, is highly ambivalent toward women. Odysseus rewards supportive female characters by treating them as privileged members of the audience for his own tales. At the same time, dangerous female narrators--who threaten to disrupt or revise the hero's story--are discredited by the narrative framework in which their stories appear.
Siren Songs synthesizes audience-oriented and narratological approaches, and examines the relationships among three kinds of audiences: internal, implied, and actual. The author prefaces her own reading of the Odyssey with an analysis of the issues posed by the earlier feminist readings on which she builds. Should the Odyssey be read as a "closed" text, that is, as one whose meaning is highly determined, or as an "open" text whose contradictions and ambiguities undercut its overt meanings?
Siren Songs presents a feminist critique of the Odyssey in an accessible manner aimed at a more general audience. All Greek is translated, and critical terminology is clearly defined.
Lillian Eileen Doherty is Associate Professor of Classics, University of Maryland, College Park.
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Slavish Shore
The Odyssey of Richard Henry Dana Jr.
Jeffrey L. Amestoy
Harvard University Press, 2015

In 1834 Harvard dropout Richard Henry Dana Jr. sailed to California as a common seaman. His account of the voyage, Two Years Before the Mast, quickly became an American classic. But literary acclaim could not erase the young lawyer’s memory of the brutal floggings he had witnessed aboard ship or undermine the vow he had made to combat injustice. In Slavish Shore, Jeffrey Amestoy tells the story of Dana’s unflagging determination to keep that vow in the face of nineteenth-century America’s most exclusive establishment: the Boston society in which he had been born and bred.

The drama of Dana’s life arises from the unresolved tension between the Brahmin he was expected to be on shore and the man he had become at sea. Dana’s sense of justice made him a lawyer who championed sailors and slaves, and his extraordinary advocacy put him at the center of some of the most consequential cases in American history: defending fugitive slave Anthony Burns, justifying President Lincoln’s war powers before the Supreme Court, and prosecuting Confederate president Jefferson Davis for treason. Yet Dana’s own promising political career remained unfulfilled as he struggled to reconcile his rigorous conscience with his restless spirit in public controversy and private life.

The first full-length biography of Dana in more than half a century, Slavish Shore reintroduces readers to one of America’s most zealous defenders of freedom and human dignity.

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Taking Her Seriously
Penelope and the Plot of Homer's Odyssey
Richard Heitman
University of Michigan Press, 2005
"[Heitman] provides a sensitive critical study of the Odyssey in which he strives to better appreciate the poem by focusing on the familial interactions in Ithaca . . . Heitman's interpretations . . . are unfailingly clear and thought-provoking. Highly recommended."
---Choice
"It is an example of a neat and valuable contribution which is both intelligible to non-specialists and inspiring for psychologists and classicists. It demonstrates that research into Homer still is . . . capable of extracting ever-new exciting ideas from Homer's texts."
---Bryn Mawr Classical Review
Taking Her Seriously is a reevaluation of Penelope, one of the most universally admired female characters in Western classical literature. Casting her in a new light, Richard Heitman emphasizes the courage, steadfastness, and integrity of this iconic figure while she faces potentially tragic decisions.
Homer's treatment of events in Ithaca and the motivations of Penelope throughout the denser books of the Odyssey reveals a complicated, serious, independent, and insightful thinker whose actions are crucial to guaranteeing the well-being of her home and a safe future for her son, and for Odysseus as well.
Through this thematic approach to the text, Penelope comes into focus as a loving wife whose role is far more important than passive fidelity to a wandering husband. Her integrity and wisdom in Odysseus' absence set the stage for his violent and triumphant return, and secure her place as a female role model in even the most modern of contexts.
Richard Heitman is Assistant Professor of Classics and Philosophy at Carthage College.
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The Unknown Odysseus
Alternate Worlds in Homer's Odyssey
Thomas Van Nortwick
University of Michigan Press, 2009

The Unknown Odysseus is a study of how Homer creates two versions of his hero, one who is the triumphant protagonist of the revenge plot and another, more subversive, anonymous figure whose various personae exemplify an entirely different set of assumptions about the world through which each hero moves and about the shape and meaning of human life. Separating the two perspectives allows us to see more clearly how the poem's dual focus can begin to explain some of the notorious difficulties readers have encountered in thinking about the Odyssey. In The Unknown Odysseus, Thomas Van Nortwick offers the most complete exploration to date of the implications of Odysseus' divided nature, showing how it allows Homer to explore the riddles of human identity in a profound way that is not usually recognized by studies focusing on only one "real" hero in the narrative. This new perspective on the epic enriches the world of the poem in a way that will interest both general readers and classical scholars.

". . .an elegant and lucid critical study that is also a good introduction to the poem."
---David Quint, London Review of Books

"Thomas Van Nortwick's eloquently written book will give the neophyte a clear interpretive path through the epic while reminding experienced readers why they should still care about the Odyssey's unresolved interpretive cruces. The Unknown Odysseus is not merely accessible, but a true pleasure to read."
---Lillian Doherty, University of Maryland

"Contributing to an important new perspective on understanding the epic, Thomas Van Nortwick wishes to resist the dominant, even imperial narrative that tries so hard to trick, beguile, and even bully its listeners into accepting the inevitability of Odysseus' heroism."
---Victoria Pedrick, Georgetown University

Thomas Van Nortwick is Nathan A. Greenberg Professor of Classics at Oberlin College and author of Somewhere I Have Never Travelled: The Second Self and the Hero's Journey in Ancient Epic (1992) and Oedipus: The Meaning of a Masculine Life (1998).

Jacket art: Head of Odysseus from a sculptural group representing Odysseus killing Polyphemus in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Sperlonga, Italy. Photograph by Marie-Lan Nguyen.

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Unweaving The Odyssey
Barbara Köhler’s Niemands Frau
Rebecca May Johnson
University of London Press, 2019
How has classical literature shaped culture, knowledge, the thinkable? What happens when a canonical text is translated from his gaze into her, and their, gaze(s)? These are some of the questions Barbara Köhler pursues in her modern epic poem, Niemands Frau (2007), her response to The Odyssey. Translated and re-imagined over the centuries, Homer’s tale found critical resonance in intellectual traditions from Christianity through to Post-Colonialism. Odysseus has been viewed as an ideal, reputedly using reason rather than force to dominate, but in Niemands Frau Köhler takes inspiration from Penelope to weave a text that challenges the rationalist and patriarchal epistemological traditions to which the Odyssey contributes. Readers are invited to cast a critical and deconstructive look back as Köhler unweaves histories of misused power and patriarchy and reweaves a critically alert present, gesturing to a future when life is what counts. This study presents the first detailed analysis of Köhler’s poem, tracing the ways in which she re-invents Homer’s text, from the claim that Niemands Frau is a form of ‘translation’ to its complex re-workings of the Homeric figures Penelope, Helen of Troy, Tiresias and Odysseus. Rebecca May Johnson completed her PhD at University College London before joining Newcastle University, where she teaches literature and creative writing and is writing a book of creative non-fiction about gender, cooking and researching food in post-war British women’s writing and cookery books.
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Weaving Truth
Essays on Language and the Female in Greek Thought
Ann Bergren
Harvard University Press, 2008

"What if truth were a woman?" asked Nietzsche. In ancient Greek thought, truth in language has a special relation to the female by virtue of her pre-eminent art-form—the one Freud believed was even invented by women—weaving. The essays in this book explore the implications of this nexus: language, the female, weaving, and the construction of truth.

The Homeric bard—male, to be sure—inherits from Indo-European culture the designation of his poetry as a weaving, the female's art. Like her tapestries, his "texts" can suspend, reverse, and re-order time. He can weave the content from one world into the interstices of another.

The male poet shares the ambiguous power of the female Muses whose speech he channels. "We can say false things like to real things, and whenever we wish, we can utter the truth."

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When God Looked the Other Way
An Odyssey of War, Exile, and Redemption
Wesley Adamczyk
University of Chicago Press, 2004
Often overlooked in accounts of World War II is the Soviet Union's quiet yet brutal campaign against Polish citizens, a campaign that included, we now know, war crimes for which the Soviet and Russian governments only recently admitted culpability. Standing in the shadow of the Holocaust, this episode of European history is often overlooked. Wesley Adamczyk's gripping memoir, When God Looked the Other Way, now gives voice to the hundreds of thousands of victims of Soviet barbarism.

Adamczyk was a young Polish boy when he was deported with his mother and siblings from their comfortable home in Luck to Soviet Siberia in May of 1940. His father, a Polish Army officer, was taken prisoner by the Red Army and eventually became one of the victims of the Katyn massacre, in which tens of thousands of Polish officers were slain at the hands of the Soviet secret police. The family's separation and deportation in 1940 marked the beginning of a ten-year odyssey in which the family endured fierce living conditions, meager food rations, chronic displacement, and rampant disease, first in the Soviet Union and then in Iran, where Adamczyk's mother succumbed to exhaustion after mounting a harrowing escape from the Soviets. Wandering from country to country and living in refugee camps and the homes of strangers, Adamczyk struggled to survive and maintain his dignity amid the horrors of war.

When God Looked the Other Way is a memoir of a boyhood lived in unspeakable circumstances, a book that not only illuminates one of the darkest periods of European history but also traces the loss of innocence and the fight against despair that took root in one young boy. It is also a book that offers a stark picture of the unforgiving nature of Communism and its champions. Unflinching and poignant, When God Looked the Other Way will stand as a testament to the trials of a family during wartime and an intimate chronicle of episodes yet to receive their historical due.

“Adamczyk recounts the story of his own wartime childhood with exemplary precision and immense emotional sensitivity, presenting the ordeal of one family with the clarity and insight of a skilled novelist. . . . I have read many descriptions of the Siberian odyssey and of other forgotten wartime episodes. But none of them is more informative, more moving, or more beautifully written than When God Looked the Other Way.”—From the Foreword by Norman Davies, author of Europe: A History and Rising ’44: The Battle for Warsaw
 
“A finely wrought memoir of loss and survival.”—Publishers Weekly

“Adamczyk’s unpretentious prose is well-suited to capture that truly awful reality.” —Andrew Wachtel, Chicago Tribune Books 

“Mr. Adamczyk writes heartfelt, straightforward prose. . . . This book sheds light on more than one forgotten episode of history.”—Gordon Haber, New York Sun 

“One of the most remarkable World War II sagas I have ever read. It is history with a human face.”—Andrew Beichman, Washington Times 

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Zeus in the Odyssey
J. Marks
Harvard University Press, 2008
This book makes the case that the plot of the Odyssey is represented within the narrative as a plan of Zeus, Dios boulē, that serves as a guide for the performing poet and as a hermeneutic for the audience. Through occasional participation in events and pervasive influence, the character of Zeus maintains thematic unity as the narrative moves through a mass of potential narrative paths for Odysseus that was already dense and conflicting at the time the Odyssey was taking shape. The “Zeus-centric” reading proposed here offers fresh perspectives on the tenor of interactions among the Odyssey’s characters, on the relationships among traditional accounts of Odysseus’s return, and on long-standing problems of interpretation.
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