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The Odyssey

Overview

Bruce Louden's bold re-reading of the Odyssey—the first attempt in years to map in detail the poem's overall structure—offers new insights into the artistry of Odysseus' mythic voyage and enriches our understanding of Homer's masterful craftsmanship. Louden's groundbreaking work uncovers an extended narrative pattern, repeated in full three times, which reveals the poem's underlying skeletal structure. This organizational analysis helps to explain the existence of several characters or episodes sometimes ...

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Overview

Bruce Louden's bold re-reading of the Odyssey—the first attempt in years to map in detail the poem's overall structure—offers new insights into the artistry of Odysseus' mythic voyage and enriches our understanding of Homer's masterful craftsmanship. Louden's groundbreaking work uncovers an extended narrative pattern, repeated in full three times, which reveals the poem's underlying skeletal structure. This organizational analysis helps to explain the existence of several characters or episodes sometimes dismissed as extraneous, as late additions, or even as corruptions to Homer's original intent. In addition, Louden's discovery strengthens the suggestion that the Odyssey was the product of oral tradition. By repeating this sequence of successive motifs, a single, improvising bard could explore a variety of complex ideas within a poem as long as the Odyssey.

Though centrally concerned with the form of Homer's rich and complex plot, Louden's study is not exclusively, or even primarily, formalistic. His investigation involves the study of characters' names, challenges faced by Odysseus, the structure of the poem, and roles assigned to the poem's female characters. Louden's comprehensive achievement gives the reader a fresh perspective on the role of divine hostility and the artistry of an epic survivor on his timeless journey home.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Phoenix
Often illuminating... The reader will find much to welcome.

— Matthew Clark

Phoenix - Matthew Clark
Often illuminating... The reader will find much to welcome.
Booknews
In contrast to most previous studies of narrative structure in the , which have focused on limited patterns in individual books or sequences, Louden (classics, U. of Texas, El Paso) uncovers an extended narrative pattern that runs through the entire poem. His work suggests that the epic survives as an uncorrupted, whole poem, not a work cobbled together from several smaller poems, as has been believed by some. Louden also holds that the circularity of the structure he finds further establishes the poem's origins in the oral tradition; the presence of patterns in the narrative helped a bard adhere to structure while improvising such an extended work. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801869211
  • Publisher: Hopkins Fulfillment Service
  • Publication date: 12/1/1999
  • Edition description: Bilingual
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 212
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Louden is an associate professor of classics at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Ch. 1 The Extended Narrative Pattern in the Odyssey 1
Ch. 2 Elpenor and Leodes: Desire and Limitless Wine 31
Ch. 3 Eumaios and Alkinoos: The Audience and the Odyssey 50
Ch. 4 The Economy of Divine Antagonism [plazo] and the Proem 69
Ch. 5 Kalypso and the Function of Book Five 104
Conclusion 130
Notes 135
Bibliography 163
Index 171
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