Published in 1970, this important work interprets the poem with a focus on the idiosyncrasies of its originally oral composition.
In part I, the main themes of the Odyssey such as ‘guest-friendship’ and ‘testing’ are investigated. The incorporation of these and other themes, such as ‘omens’ and the ‘homecomings of the Achaeans’, into the dramatic construction of the whole epic is also examined. In Part II, the main characters of the Odyssey are described: the Suitors, Telemachus, Odysseus and Penelope. So too are Theoclymenus and Laertes, whom traditional criticism has maligned or disregarded. The analysis of the characters tries to illumine features which are challenging for the contemporary reader. In the conclusion, the ‘plan’ of the Odyssey is reconstructed. The author argues that it would probably have been performed over the course of three days: two sessions each day, with each recitation maintaining its own artistic unity.
Introduction Part I: Themes and Composition in the Odyssey 1. The Homecomings of the Achaeans 2. The Wanderings of Odysseus 3. Guest-Friendship 4. Testing 5. Omens Part II: The People in the Odyssey 6. Theoclymenus 7. The Suitors 8. Telemachus 9. Odysseus 10. Penelope 11. Laertes Conclusion: The Structure of the Odyssey
Reissuing works originally published between 1958 and 1993, this five-volume set offers a selection of scholarship on the greatest classical poet, whose two monumental epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, remain foundational to the Western cultural tradition.
Routledge Library Editions: Homer helps to situate this immense artistic achievement in its historical and cultural context, considering issues such as the relationship between the Homeric epics and the Mycenaean civilisation which preceded them, the importance of Homer for the flowering of Greek tragedy, and the reception of Homer during and after the Enlightenment.