The Raft of Odysseus: The Ethnographic Imagination of Homer's Odyssey

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The Raft of Odysseus looks at the fascinating intersection of traditional myth with an enthnographically-viewed Homeric world. Carol Dougherty argues that the resourcefulness of Odysseus as an adventurer on perilous seas served as an example to Homer's society which also had to adjust in inventive ways to turbulent conditions. The fantastic adventures of Odysseus act as a prism for the experiences of Homer's own listeners—traders, seafarers, storytellers, soldiers—and give us a glimpse into their own world of hopes and fears, 500 years after the Iliadic events were supposed to have happened.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a sparkling study of the Odyssey. It offers insightful interpretations of a series of passages from the poem (embracing at times Hesiod, Ibycus and more), while presenting also a much larger argument about the interplay of poetic discourse and archaic notions of the world around."—Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"This is an excellent book, giving us a better sense than ever before of the Greek sense of wonderment and adventure as they came to know the entire Mediterranean Sea in the eighth century BC. It will be required reading for literary critics, comparativists, historians, and archaeologists alike."—Ian Morris, Stanford University

"Carol Dougherty's The Raft of Odysseus: The Ethnographic Imagination of Homer's Odyssey moves beyond the work of the French classicists Pierre Vidal-Naquet and François Hartog to locate the synchronic structural oppositions that organize the Homeric imagination in an evolving historical reality. Odysseus' linked roles as traveler, craftsman, and poet permit him to negotiate issues central to the world of Archaic Greece concerning exchange (both gift-exchange and commerce), the foundation of new colonies, and the revitalization of a traditional society through foreign contacts."—Helene P. Foley, Barnard College, Columbia University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195130362
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Wellesley College
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Ethnographic Imagination of Homer's Odyssey 3
I Setting Sail
1 Ships and Song 19
2 Poetic Profit 38
3 Travel and Song 61
II Phaeacia, Gateway to the Ethnographic imagination
4 A Brave New World 81
5 Phaeacians and Phoenicians: Overseas Trade 102
6 Phaeacians and Cyclopes: Overseas Settlement 122
7 Phaeacians and Euboeans: Greeks Overseas 143
III Home at Last
8 Odysseus Returned and Ithaca Re-founded 161
Conclusion: From Raft to Bed 177
Notes 185
Bibliography 223
Index 237
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