Odyssey


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Odyssey

(ŏd`ĭsē): see HomerHomer,
principal figure of ancient Greek literature; the first European poet. Works, Life, and Legends

Two epic poems are attributed to Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey.
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Odyssey

 

a poem about the travels of Odysseus), an ancient Greek epic poem which, together with the Iliad, has been attributed to Homer.

The poem was completed somewhat later than the Iliad, which it complements but of which it is not a direct continuation. Like the Iliad, the Odyssey was written in hexameter. Later, it was divided by classical bookmakers into 24 books. In contrast to the Iliad, with its heroic themes, the Odyssey contains material drawn primarily from everyday life and fables. The hero is a composite of intellectual and moral qualities. In world folklore a widely encountered hero is the husband who returns to his homeland unrecognized after long years of wandering and arrives on the day of his wife’s remarriage. In the Odyssey, this popular heroic theme is embodied in Odysseus, a participant in the Trojan campaign. Interwoven with this theme is part of another: a son’s search for his father. The sociopolitical and ideological processes of the establishment of a slaveholding society and state in Greece were reflected even in early versions of the Odyssey.

In antiquity, the Odyssey was less highly valued than the Iliad, although both were used as basic educational texts. Both the Odyssey and the Iliad provided Goethe, F. Schiller, and W. Humboldt with material for their theories of the epic. The first Russian prose translations of the Odyssey were completed at the end of the 18th century. V. A. Zhukovskii finished the first Russian verse translation of the work in 1849. The standard modern translation in verse was done by V. V. Veresaev (published posthumously, 1953).

EDITIONS

Homeri carmina, part 2: Homeri Odyssea, vols. 1–2. Translated by A. Ludwich. Leipzig, 1889–91.
The Odyssey of Homer, 2nd ed., vols. 1–2. Edited by W. B. Stanford. London-New York, 1959. (With commentary.)
In Russian translation:
Gomer, Odisseia. Moscow, 1953.

REFERENCES

Egunov, A. N. Gomer v russkikh perevodakh XVIII-XIX vv. Moscow-Leningrad, 1964.
Merkelbach, R. Untersuchungen zur Odyssee. Munich, 1951.
Page, D. L. The Homeric Odyssey. Oxford, 1955.
Stanford, W. B. The Ulysses Theme. 2nd ed. Oxford, 1963.
Finley, M. I. The World of Odysseus. New York, 1965.

Odyssey

Homer’s long, narrative poem centered on Odysseus. [Gk. Lit.: Odyssey]
See: Epic

Odyssey

concerning Odysseus’s difficulties in getting home after war. [Gk. Myth.: Odyssey]
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