Travel and Home in Homer's Odyssey and Contemporary Literature: Critical Encounters and Nostalgic Returns

ISBN : 9780198814016

Carol Dougherty
176 ページ
135 x 216 mm
Classical Presences

Travel and Home in Homer's Odyssey and Contemporary Literature brings Homer's Odyssey together with contemporary literary texts ranging from Rebecca West's The Return of the Soldier to Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping and Cormac McCarthy's The Road to produce new readings that reframe, reorient, and ultimately revise aspects of Homer's iconic story of travel and home. While some novels share with the Odyssey a celebration of the creative process of improvisation to rethink the relationship between home and travel, others draw upon nostalgia - our complicated longing for home - to unsettle the inevitability of return. Rather than offering an explicit retelling of Homer's poem, each of these novels prompts us to revisit the relationship between travel and home that Odysseus and Penelope embody to ask new questions of that well-read text. Does travel reinforce or destabilize our notion of home? Are mobility and domesticity irrevocably gendered, or can we imagine a world in which Penelope travels and Odysseus stays home? Just as Odysseus continually reinvents his own identity with each new encounter, both abroad and at home, so too we, as readers, participate in an improvisatory interpretive experiment of our own.

This volume sets out a new model for reading ancient and contemporary texts together - one that challenges the conventional chronological assumptions inherent in many works of classical reception. No longer a stable text to which we as readers return time and again to find it the same, the Odyssey, together with the novels with which it engages, changes and adapts with each new literary encounter.


0 Introduction: Critical Encounters
1 More Like Odysseus: Playing House in Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient
2 An End to Housekeeping: Mobility and Domesticity in Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping
3 It's Okay: Improvisational Housekeeping in Cormac McCarthy's The Road
4 This House is Different: Forgetting the Way Home in Rebecca West's The Return of the Soldier
5 Come Brother. Let s Go Home: Restorative Nostalgia in Toni Morrison's Home
6 Conclusion: Nostalgic Returns


Carol Dougherty is the Margaret E. Deffenbaugh and LeRoy T. Carlson Professor in Comparative Literature and Professor of Classical Studies at Wellesley College, where she has taught for thirty years. She did her undergraduate work in Classics at Stanford University and graduate work at UC Santa Barbara and Princeton University, and has written numerous books and articles on travel and cross-cultural contact in Greek myth and literature.