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About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the reception of Homer from antiquity to the present day, focusing in particular on: (i) the reception of Homer in antiquity, including the idea that the Homeric epics were the inspiration not just for those writing epic poetry , but for writers in all genres; (ii) the idea of Homer as an educational text; (iii) a (small) selection of the literary major receptions of Homer in ancient Greece and Rome – Greek tragedy, Hellenistic lyric, Roman epic; (iv) feminist responses to Homer, particularly in the work of Margaret Atwood and Carol Ann Duffy; and (v) postcolonial responses to Homer, particularly in the work of Derek Walcott.
In this course, Dr Emily Hauser (University of Exeter) provides a comprehensive introduction to Homer. In the first module, we think about the Iliad and Odyssey as ‘oral poems’ and consider this should impact how we read them. The following four modules (2-5) focus in the Iliad, with discussions of: (i) the narrative structure of the poem; (ii) the role of the gods; (iii) the nature of heroism; and (iv) the presentation of war and warfare. The five modules after that (6-10) focus on the Odyssey, with discussions of: (i) the theme of ‘nostos’; (ii) the theme of ‘xenia’; (iii) the nature of heroism; (iv) the role of women; and (v) the related themes of disguise and recognition. Finally, in the eleventh model, we think about the reception of Homer from antiquity to the twenty-first century, and how – if at all – it is possible to escape ‘the shadow of Homer’.
Note: Translations from the Iliad are taken from Martin Hammond (Penguin Classics, 1987) and those from the Odyssey from E. V. Rieu (Penguin Classics, 1946), unless otherwise noted.
Dr Emily Hauser is a Lecturer in the Department of Classics at the University of Exeter. Her research centres on the intersection between gender and poetics in the ancient world, with a particular focus on authorship and gender in antiquity, women in Homeric epic and classical reception in contemporary women's writing. Her recent publications include (as co-editor) Reading Poetry, Writing Genre English Poetry and Literary Criticism in Dialogue with Classical Scholarship. (2018).