This wide-ranging collection makes available to specialists and nonspecialists alike important critical work on the Odyssey produced during the last half century. The ten essays address five major concerns: the poem's programmatic representation of social and religious institutions and values; its transformation of folktales and traditional stories into epic adventures; its representation of gender roles and, in particular, of Penelope; its narrative strategies and form; and its relation to the Iliad, especially to that epic's distinctive conception of heroism.
In the introduction, Seth L. Schein describes the poetic background to the work and suggests a variety of interpretive approaches, some of which are developed in the essays that follow. These essays include previously published work by Jean-Pierre Vernant, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Pietro Pucci, and Charles P. Segal. There also are a new essay by Laura M. Slatkin, two revised and expanded ones by Nancy Felson-Rubin and Michael N. Nagler, and three appearing in English for the first time by Uvo Hlscher, Karl Reinhardt, and Vernant. The result is a collection that juxtaposes older, often hard-to-find articles with significant newer pieces in a way that allows for a fruitful dialogue among them.
Table of Contents:
Land and Sacrifice in the Odyssey: A Study of Religious and Mythical Meanings 33
Death with Two Faces 55
The Adventures in the Odyssey 63
Penelope and the Suitors 133
Dread Goddess Revisited 141
Penelope's Perspective: Character from Plot 163
The Refusal of Odysseus 185
The Song of the Sirens 191
Kleos and Its Ironies in the Odyssey 201
Composition by Theme and the Metis of the Odyssey 223
Index of Passages Discussed and Cited 257
General Index 271