Homer  The Odyssey
The Odyssey represents a powerful moment in the history of
Western story-telling.   For the first time in secular literature, a
great hero emerges who conquers not with physical strength or
bravery, but through intelligence and perspicuity.   As such, the
emergence of Odysseus as a heroic figure rightly coincided with
the first stirrings of a culture that prized the rational capacity as
the defining attribute of their worldview.  If the Iliad celebrates
the world that gave birth to Greek culture, the Odyssey looks
forward to the new basis of society that the Greeks gave to us.   

But the story itself is full of passion, a celebration of wisdom that
is paced like a swashbuckling adventure story.   The final pages,
when Odysseus returns to Ithaka to confront the avaricious and
crass suitors, stands out as perhaps my favorite episode in the
history of Western literature.  

                                                     


WEB RESOURCES

A great guide to resources relating to the Odyssey can be found
here

Suffer from a short attention span that limits your appreciation of
the Great Books?  Enjoy an animated Odyssey on
YouTube that
compresses the epic into fifteen seconds

A useful
study guide to the Odyssey, including summaries and
analysis.   Another one
here.

Re-enact the Odyssey with a
puppet show.  
TIPS FOR READERS

As a teenager I
enjoyed
Rouse's
fast-paced prose
translation, now
available in an
inexpensive edition.  
But after discovering
the brilliant
Fitzgerald translation, I
would recommend it
above all others.

The Children's Homer,
which I read
aloud to my oldest son
when he ten years old, is
highly recommended
for young students.