The Composition of Homer's Odyssey

The Composition of Homer's Odyssey

The Composition of Homer's Odyssey

The Composition of Homer's Odyssey

Excerpt

A sudden call made upon me, to assist an overworked colleague by delivering a course of Lectures upon the Homeric poems, gave excuse for setting down in black and white the results, reached in the main years ago, of a lifetime's reading and study of the Odyssey.

For over thirty years two Greek books, the Odyssey of Homer and the Description of Greece by Pausanias, the one from the golden springtime, the other from the mellow autumn of that ancient world, have been my loved companions, at home and on my journeyings. To read and read again the Odyssey itself has ever to me seemed more profitable, as it is indubitably more entertaining, and never more so than now, to one that is ἐπὶ γήραος οὐδῳ + 0311, than to read books written about the Odyssey. And still at each reading once more is recaptured the fascination, the exhilarating sense of discovery and adventure with which, nearly half a century ago, as a self-imposed labour of love, I first spelt out the magic lines.

Doubtless, one's knowledge must have been enriched by countless rills from forgotten sources; but the main stream flows deep and strong and untroubled from a single spring, which is the poem itself. It is upon this fact that any significance the book may possess must rest.

There will not be found, then, in these pages any discussion of what are supposed to be sure and accepted results of criticism--certain positions supposed to have been definitely carried by the enemy long ago, and in the interval since then to have been consolidated impregnably, against at any rate direct attack. And just as little account is taken here of certain newer doctrines now fashionable--Siren strains that hold strong enchantment for those who explore these seas. "From this smoke and surf keep the ship well away"; and so the book may perhaps from the outset appear to deserve . . .

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