By Jasper Griffin
This convenient consultant to The Odyssey introduces scholars to a textual content which has been basic to literature for almost 3,000 years. delivering a precis of the poem and reading its constitution, Jasper Griffin essentially outlines the cohesion, values and methods of the poem, in addition to the explanations for its longstanding allure. scholars will observe the fundamental topics of loyalty and betrayal, and should be guided in the course of the narrative of Odysseus' adventures, as well as a valuable advisor to extra interpreting. First variation Hb (1987): 0-521-32804-7 First version Pb (1987): 0-521-31043-1
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Additional info for A Student Guide for Homer: The Odyssey
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.
We do not even know whether, or in The making of the Odyssey 31 what form, they were written down by their creator or under his direction. Even if they were, they continued to be performed orally, and that meant that they were open to unpredictable forms of distortion. Singers naturally feel it their right to abbreviate, ornament, and develop a song in accordance with their own style, habits, and formulaic vocabulary. Against this, and the gloomy thoughts to which it might give rise for the authenticity of our text, stands the fact that in Greece there was present, as in most oral cultures there is not, the idea that one could ask not just for a song, but for Homer’s song.
It is interesting to compare these good modern versions with the classic essay by Matthew Arnold On Translating Homer, which starts out as an attack on an eccentric version by a Victorian academic, and which goes on to criticise other versions and to offer samples of his own. The book is perceptive and very amusing to read; but it must be said that, while Arnold’s strictures on other people’s versions are The poem 43 penetrating, his attempts to improve on them are less satisfactory. In addition to one of these reliable prose versions, a reader may be helped to recapture some of the poetic glitter of the Odyssey by reading some sections in Pope’s verse translation.