15. The Odyssey.

“To outwit you 
in all your tricks, a person or a god 
would need to be an expert at deceit. 
You clever rascal! So duplicitous, 
so talented at lying! You love fiction 
and tricks so deeply, you refuse to stop 
even in your own land. Yes, both of us 
are smart. No man can plan and talk like you, 
and I am known among the gods for insight 
and craftiness. You failed to recognize me:             
I am Athena, child of Zeus. I always 
stand near you and take care of you, in all 
your hardships.”
(13.291–303)

Homer’s Odyssey tells us of a complicated man, Odysseus, who spent ten years away from his family during the Trojan War (for more details, read The Iliad) and spends another ten years trying to get home to his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus. But the Gods intervene, and Odysseus and his men get bounced from one marvellous island to another. Meanwhile, a gaggle of suitors are insisting that Odysseus has been gone so long he must be dead, and they’re going to keep bothering Penelope until she picks one of them to marry. When Odysseus finally gets home, he and Telemachus devise a brutal plan to solve the situation.

Suzanne and Chris have a conversation about how the poem depicts cleverness, home, manliness, and water—and what about it has inspired so many adaptations.

Show Notes.

The Odyssey, in a recent translation by Emily Wilson.

Wilson offers a pronunciation guide to several of the characters on her website.

Wilson has been interviewed by the Los Angeles Review of Books and the New York Times Magazine about her translation.

Suzanne was a guest on This Is Your Mixtape.

We made some ridiculous t-shirts based on The Tempest.

We talked a little about Tiresias in our episode on The Metamorphoses.

James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Dear Reader on Madeline Miller’s Circe and Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad.

Derek Walcott’s Omeros.

Vergil’s Aeneid.

Percy Jackson’s The Lightning Thief.

Our episode on Dante’s Inferno.

Lucian of Samosata’s A True Story.

Next episode: Middlemarch by George Eliot. [Free ebook and audiobook.]

Subscribe to The Spouter-Inn via Apple Podcasts | Overcast | Google Podcasts | Spotify | RSS.