The Composition of Homer's Odyssey

By W. J. Woodhouse | Go to book overview

PREFACE

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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The Composition of Homer's Odyssey
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 7
  • Contents 9
  • I - The Structure and Method of The Odyssey 11
  • II - The Subject-Matter of the Odyssey 17
  • III - The Exordium 22
  • IV - The Wrath of the Gods 29
  • V - The Deep-Sea Yarns 41
  • VI - Kirke and Kalypso 46
  • VII - Nausikaa's Romance 54
  • VIII - Penelopeia and Her Web 66
  • IX - The Sign of the Scar 72
  • X - Penelopeia's Collapse 80
  • XI - The Twofold Contest 92
  • XII - The Sign of the Bow 98
  • XIII - The Exhibition Shot 102
  • XIV - Telemachos in the Dark 108
  • XV - What the Ghost Said 116
  • XVI - The Sign of the Bed 120
  • XVII - The Man Far-Travelled 126
  • XVIII - The Return of Odysseus 137
  • XIX - The Removal of the Arms 158
  • XX - The Saga of Odysseus 169
  • XXI - The Faithful Retainer 194
  • XXII - The Loyal Wife 199
  • XXIII - The Quest of Telemachos 208
  • XXIV - Kalypso the Concealer 215
  • XXV - The Components of the Odyssey 218
  • XXVI - The Strong-Wing'D Music of Homer 236
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