Homer part 2

Forgot to say that I’m also reading the Odyssey (that’s the Fagles I mentioned before), which I’m finding a more satisfying story. (Although I think Odysseus is an asshole. There was absolutely no reason to blind that Cyclops. I mean, the guy’s got ONLY ONE EYE.) I think the Odyssey is Homer’s tribute to himself. Did you notice all the mentions the text makes of honored storytellers, and special plates are prepared for them at all the best parties, etc.? And Odysseus’s great talent is as a storyteller. The whole Odyssey is stories within stories about the story. Odysseus is Homer’s heroized version of himself. And what a story. And we love stories. I was amused a few years back at the furor over those various “memoirs” that were found to be fictions. We love stories, but we dammit want to know “real” from “made-up.” But we’re all stylized heroes of our own embellished stories. Viva la truth told slant.

In case you’re interested:
Homer, The Odyssey, tr. Robert Fagles, Penguin, 1996.
The Odyssey of Homer, tr. Richmond Lattimore, Harper Colophon, 1967.
The Iliad of Homer, tr. Richmond Lattimore, U Chicago Press, 1961.

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