The Return of Ulysses
by Edith Hall
Whether they focus on the bewitching song of the Sirens, his cunning escape from the cave of the terrifying one-eyed Cyclops, or the vengeful slaying of the suitors of his beautiful wife Penelope, the stirring adventures of Ulysses/Odysseus are amongst the most durable in human culture. The picaresque return of the wandering pirate-king is one of the most popular texts of...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 15th 2012 by I. B. Tauris
(first published June 11th 2008)
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Parts of this book turn into little more than lists, but what lists--Hall shows how the Odyssey has influenced not only high-culture poems, plays, novels, and opera, but also more popular films, television, comic books, even video games. The thematic organization roughly follows the organization of the epic, beginning with considerations of myth, translation, metamorphoses, and narrative, through matters of colonization, gender, and class, to violence, sex, and death. Versions for children are m...more
We all know that the _Odyssey_ pervades Western culture, and Edith Hall explains why. From the heights of Joyce to the lowest porn, Homer is everywhere. What I found most fundamental about this book is Hall's grasp of her material (she seems to have read ever book, seen every movie, and researched every aspect of every culture for signs of Odysseus). What is most startling, though, is her restraint: she uses her sources poignantly, and doesn't attempt to bash us to death with references, that, c...more
This is a fairly amazing treatment of the life of The Odyssey in western culture. It covers the territory from the original to the recent movie "Troy," and makes stops at the Cream's "Tales of Brave Ulysses," and a brief mention of an opera wherein the actors all play dogs barking about Ulysses return to Ithaca. Quite a survey, and quite entertaining.