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A Student Guide for Homer: The Odyssey by Jasper Griffin

By Jasper Griffin

This useful consultant to The Odyssey introduces scholars to a textual content which has been primary to literature for almost 3,000 years. offering a precis of the poem and interpreting its constitution, Jasper Griffin sincerely outlines the solidarity, values and methods of the poem, in addition to the explanations for its longstanding allure. scholars will become aware of the fundamental subject matters of loyalty and betrayal, and should be guided throughout the narrative of Odysseus' adventures, as well as a necessary consultant to additional analyzing. First version Hb (1987): 0-521-32804-7 First version Pb (1987): 0-521-31043-1

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36). 11 The epic style: grandeur and realism The most frequently mentioned feature of Homeric style in antiquity is its elevation. Epic and tragedy were regarded as the highest forms of poetry, which presented suffering and death in noble language and illuminated in a worthy manner the nature of the world and the dealings of the gods with mankind. The stories are set in a past which is felt to be both different and special. Heroes then were greater and stronger; heroines were beloved by gods and bore them god-like children; above all, the gods intervened visibly in events, mixing with men and speaking to them.

285) The variants are hard to account for as mere inventions, as they obviously contradict the plot, and it is tempting to think that there was at some time a version of the Odyssey in which both father and son did go to Crete. 172ff). All this, and the raids on Egypt from Crete of which he boasts in Book Fourteen, might be episodes from another version of the poem, broken up and re-used in our Odyssey. More interesting than a trip to Crete which does not, at least in our text, take place, is the visit of Odysseus to the land of the dead.

It is not only what is likely which happens. In the case of the Odyssey there is, moreover, the further point of the influence on it of the Iliad (see section 13). A powerful influence of one song on another may itself have implications for the question of the form in which it was known to the second composer. What we can say is that the epics have a fundamentally oral character, but that in scale and also in structure they are very different from what we expect an oral song to be. They are also, of course, outstanding in quality.

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