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Carol Ann Duffy: The World's Wife

28. Penelope

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the twenty-eighth poem in the collection, 'Penelope', focusing in particular on: (i) the figure of Penelope in Homer's Odyssey, including the story of how she manages to delay her decision to remarry; (ii) the character of Argus, Odysseus' faithful dog, who waits twenty years for his master to return; (iii) the fabulous colours and textures of the poem ("three greens for the grass; / a smoky pink, a shadow's grey"); (iv) Penelope's attitude to Odysseus – how much does she actually need him?


In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Carol Ann Duffy’s 1999 collection, 'The World's Wife'. After a brief introduction to the collection as a whole, the course continue with a read-through and analysis of each of the thirty poems in the collection, one by one.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2020, April 28). Carol Ann Duffy: The World's Wife - Penelope [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Carol Ann Duffy: The World's Wife – Penelope." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 28 Apr 2020,