Critical Insights: The Odyssey, discusses many elements about The Odyssey, the sequel to Homer’s equally influential poem The Iliad. This volume explores the themes, structure, artistry, influence, and critical reception of one of the most important works ever composed.
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Few works are as important to the history of literature as Homer’s Odyssey, the sequel to his equally influential epic poem The Iliad. These works are the crown jewels of ancient Greek literature; they influenced both the writings and the values of the “classical” cultures of the Greeks and Romans. But The Odyssey, in particular, had a wide appeal not only for classical readers and writers but also for people in later cultures as well, right down to the present day. With its emphasis on strange adventures, personal challenges, and the celebration of enduring marital love, The Odyssey remains perhaps the more appealing of Homer’s two poems – the one to which more people can readily relate. This volume explores the themes, structure, artistry, influence, and critical reception of one of the most important works ever composed.
This volume, like all the others in the Critical Insights series, is divided into several parts: two preliminary essays, four Critical Contexts essays, at least ten Critical Readings, and a selection of Resources.
The opening piece in the present book is an interview with Barry Powell, a major translator of Homer’s Odyssey. While this poem has been translated a multitude of times and ways, this volume heavily emphasizes the issue of such. This interview is followed by a biography of Homer, written by Editor Robert C. Evans.
The Critical Contexts section includes four comprehensive essays to enrich the reader with a deeper view. The first, “The Renaissance Reception of Homer’s Odyssey: A Review Essay,” by Joyce Ahn, examines how The Odyssey was interpreted during the “Renaissance” or “Early Modern” period. The second essay, “Modern Translations of Homer’s Odyssey: A Survey of Introductions, Forewords, and Afterwords,” by Robert C. Evans, provides an overview of criticism. “Son of Pain: Trauma in the Odyssey,” by Nicolas Tredell is the third, which examines Homer’s poem in light of modern “trauma theory.” Finally, the fourth essay, “The Odyssey and Paradise Lost,” by Bruce Louden, involves comparison and contrast of the two titles.
A large part of this source is the many critical readings that give a variety of perspectives and interpretations of the beloved poem:
- Homer’s Odyssey and The Great Mystery of Being, Norman Austin
- Buber in the Aegean: I and Thou and the Odyssey, Christopher Baker
- Gained in Translation: Multiplying the Odyssey, Nicolas Tredell
- Robert Fagles’s 1996 Translation of the Odyssey: Reviews and Assessments, Kimberlee Fernandez
- Stanley Lombardo’s 2000 Translation of the Odyssey: An Interview, Stanley Lombardo
- Rodney Merrill’s 2002 Translation of the Odyssey: An Interview, Rodney Merrill
- Stephen Mitchell’s 2014 Translation of the Odyssey: An Interview, Stephen Mitchell
- Anthony Verity’s 2016 Translation of the Odyssey: An Interview, Anthony Verity
- Emily Wilson’s 2017 Translation of the Odyssey: An Interview, Emily Wilson
- Peter Green’s 2019 Translation of the Odyssey: An Interview, Peter Green
- Varied Depictions of Odysseus Slaying the Suitors, Jordan T. Bailey
Lastly, this title’s Resources section provides a timeline, a list of primary works, a list of secondary works, information about the editor, information about the contributors, and a comprehensive index.
The Critical Insights Series distills the best of both classic and current literary criticism of the world's most-studied literature. Edited and written by some of academia's most distinguished literary scholars, Critical Insights: The Odyssey provides authoritative, in-depth scholarship that students and researchers have relied on for years.