Homer's "Odyssey"

Cashman Kerr Prince

Tuesdays, October 3 - November 28 (not November 21) 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. 8 sessions
Prescott House, 55 Beacon Street

That man, Muse, tell me, he of many ways…”

In a literal rendering, so begins one of the foundational ancient Greek epics. We follow Odysseus as he twists and turns, weaves and dodges, through the Trojan War and its aftermath. A road trip story about a journey home, this epic is also the tale of his son, Telemachus, growing up without his father, and the tale of his wife, Penelope, outwitting the men of her generation. Travel and home, war and peace, birth and death: in one poem we find it all.

Originally composed orally and performed for centuries, always adapted to fit the audience, this Homeric epic is itself a work of many ways. We will navigate these rocky shoals, reading the story of how one man returned homeward to Ithaca from Troy.

Required reading is Homer’s Odyssey in a translation of your choice. I remain partial to Fitzgerald’s translation, with Lattimore’s being a close second. Fagles’  is good. Alexander Pope’s is a treat (although full of as much Pope as Homer).  Most translations have virtues; few are outweighed by their defects. We will discuss translation, so feel free to use one already on your bookshelves.

Teaching Style: Seminar     Weekly Preparation: 2 hours
 


    Cashman Kerr Prince

    Cashman Kerr Prince is a visiting scholar in classical studies at Wellesley College. He holds degrees in classics and comparative literature from Wesleyan and Stanford University and the Université de Paris 8. His areas of specialization include ancient Greek didactic poetry and classical reception in later art and literature. He writes for the Boston Musical Intelligencer, is a cellist with the Brookline Symphony Orchestra, and works as general manager for the local nonprofit, Music for Food.