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MLA Proseminar: The Odyssey and its Afterlife

Course Number
CLST 517 640
Course Code
Course Key
Primary Program
Course Description
As an epic account of wandering, survival, and homecoming, Homer’s Odyssey has been a constant source of themes and images with which to define and redefine the nature of heroism, the sources of identity, and the challenge of finding a place in the world. This course will begin with a close reading of the Odyssey in English translation, with particular attention to Odysseus as a post-Trojan War hero; to the roles of women, especially Odysseus' faithful and brilliant wife Penelope; and to the uses of poetry and story-telling in creating individual and cultural identities. We will then consider how later authors have drawn on the Odyssey to construct their own visions, reading works, or parts of works, by such authors as Virgil, Dante, Tennyson, James Joyce, Constantine Cavafy, Derek Walcott, and Margaret Atwood.  Each student will choose a work inspired by the Odyssey (from possibilities spanning many periods, cultural traditions, and media) on which to give a presentation and write a paper.
Subject Area Vocab