Homer: Odyssey, Books 17-18

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 10, 2010 - History - 242 pages
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Books XVII and XVIII of the Odyssey feature, among other episodes, the disguised Odysseus' penetration of his home after an absence of twenty years and his first encounter with his wife. The commentary provides linguistic and syntactical guidance suitable for upper-level students along with detailed consideration of Homer's compositional and narrative techniques, his literary artistry and the poem's central themes. An extensive introduction considers questions of formulaic composition, the nature of the poem's audience and the context of its performance, and isolates the concerns most prominent in the poem's second half and in Books XVII and XVIII in particular. Here too are considered the roles of Penelope and Telemachus, questions of disguise and recognition, and the institution of hospitality flaunted by the suitors in Odysseus' halls. Brief sections also discuss Homeric metre and the transmission of the text.
 

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Contents

Abbreviations in the apparatus criticus
44
Commentary
74
Bibliography
220

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About the author (2010)

Homer is the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, the two greatest Greek epic poems. Nothing is known about Homer personally; it is not even known for certain whether there is only one true author of these two works. Homer is thought to have been an Ionian from the 9th or 8th century B.C. While historians argue over the man, his impact on literature, history, and philosophy is so significant as to be almost immeasurable. The Iliad relates the tale of the Trojan War, about the war between Greece and Troy, brought about by the kidnapping of the beautiful Greek princess, Helen, by Paris. It tells of the exploits of such legendary figures as Achilles, Ajax, and Odysseus. The Odyssey recounts the subsequent return of the Greek hero Odysseus after the defeat of the Trojans. On his return trip, Odysseus braves such terrors as the Cyclops, a one-eyed monster; the Sirens, beautiful temptresses; and Scylla and Charybdis, a deadly rock and whirlpool. Waiting for him at home is his wife who has remained faithful during his years in the war. Both the Iliad and the Odyssey have had numerous adaptations, including several film versions of each.

Deborah Steiner is Professor of Greek at Columbia University.

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