Homer, Walcott, Atwood, and the Homeric Spring 2019
(Homer, Walcott, Atwood, and the Homeric Spring 2019)

In Homer’s epic, The Odyssey, a man ventures forth to fight in a ten-year war, and travels for another ten years before he finally arrives back home (to the delight of his family and his dog). While that plot line may sound like screenplay (George Clooney’s “O Brother Where Art Thou,” is, in fact, a retelling of the tale), the Odyssey continues the story of The Iliad, which is the oldest piece of Western Literature. Wily and cunning, Odysseus is aided by the “flashing-eyed” Athena as he tries to return from the Trojan Wars to Penelope, his wife, and Telemachus, his son. The voyage out and the voyage back have become central metaphors for literature in English. In this course we will read Homer’s text in the newest translation, and we will read two great “retellings” from Caribbean writer Derek Walcott and Canadian Margaret Atwood. We’ll travel on this “epic” journey and bring back tales from our discoveries regarding the rhetorical strategies of narrative voice, as well as concepts of temporality, loyalty, and home.