Understanding the Odyssey: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historic Documents

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 224 pages
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For thousands of years, "The Odyssey" has resonated throughout the Western world. Homer has been an original source of inspiration to writers, painters, sculptors, and filmmakers, as well as a vital source of information about the mythology, history, and culture of ancient Greece. This casebook uniquely blends commentary and primary documents, situating the epic within historical contexts that are important for students to understand.

The literary analysis chapter is ideal for readers coming to "The Odyssey" for the first time, introducing the work with a chronology of events and identification of major characters and themes. Topical chapters carefully consider matters of mythology, geography, archeology, and class issues pertinent to "The Odyssey." Excerpts from classical and scholarly sources, including Herodotus, Plato, Thucydides, and Bulfinch, help students understand the historical framework, and materials from government documents and newspaper accounts help students make connections between"The Odyssey's" thematic ideas and current events, such as the September 11th attacks and the ongoing conflict in Ireland.

 

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Contents

2 Greek Mythology and Homer
15
3 The Geography of The Odyssey
55
4 Archaeological Excavations Pertinent to Homers Epics
71
5 The Historical Context of The Odyssey
87
6 The Trojan War of Myth and Legend
107
The Underclasses
131
The Problem of Revenge
143
The Athlete and Athletics
165
The Evolution of the Heroic Ideal
183
Index
219
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

CLAUDIA DURST JOHNSON, former chairperson of English at the University of Alabama, is currently a freelance scholar and writer in Berkeley, California. She is the author of books on American history and literature, as well as theater history. She is also series editor for Greenwood Press's Exploring Social Issues through Literature Series and the Literature in Context Series, for which she has authored several volumes including Understanding To Kill a Mockingbird and Understanding The Grapes of Wrath.

VERNON JOHNSON has wide experience as an author, theater director, and professor of world literature. He is co-author of Understanding The Crucible. He now resides in Berkeley, California, where he continues to write and teach.

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