This book begins the thirty-third day (and night), the longest of the Odyssey: it lasts until 13.17; cf. Appendix A.
In 7.189–96 Alcinous had announced that the next day he would first entertain the stranger and then attend to his escort home. This book brings, in reverse order †, the fulfilment of this announcement: the stranger's escort is publicly announced in an assembly (1–47) and the initial preparations for the journey are made (48–55), followed by the entertainment, consisting of a meal and song (62–103), games and song (104–468), and another meal and song (469–586). The reverse order allows the entertainment to take on enormous dimensions, with Odysseus himself becoming the entertainer for the duration of four books (9–12). In fact, we are dealing here with a powerful instance of misdirection †. Throughout the narratees are given to understand that 'the stranger' is to depart that evening (in 26–45 Alcinous orders ships to be prepared; in 51–5 we find the first elements of a 'departure by ship' type-scene; in 150–1 Laodamas reassures Odysseus that 'your return is not far away, for a ship is already lying ready'; in 367–417 we have 'farewell' speeches and the exchange of guest-gifts; and in 536–86 Alcinous repeatedly mentions his pompe),1 but, in the end, Odysseus does not depart that evening, postponing his passionately desired voyage home himself; cf. 11.330–84n.
This day of entertainment is a retardation † in the prolonged process of Odysseu's 'delayed recognition', but at the same time it is conducive to his self-revelation, in that he gains in self-confidence, drops hints of his identity and, spurred on by Demodocu's songs, requests another song, which will____________________