ebookclassics

The Odyssey Read-A-Long – A Letter to Homer

Odyssey Readalong 1Ah Homer, we meet at last. I joined this read-a-long with A Literary Odyssey just so I could finally make your acquaintance and tackle one of the most intimidating books on my list: The Odyssey.

Here’s what I know about you:

  • You are not Homer Jay Simpson (as Google would have me believe).
  • You lived in ancient times possibly around 850 BC.
  • You are considered the greatest epic poet; however, since no one knows who you really are, there is some doubt as to whether you really authored The Odyssey and The Iliad at all.
  • You may have been blind.

Here’s what I know about your book:

  • The Odyssey is a giant in literary canon having an impact and far-reaching influence that continues to this day.
  • The poem was shared in the oral tradition until somebody thought to write it down after the alphabet was invented.
  • The Odyssey is an epic poem which is typically a book-length narrative verse that tells the tale of a hero and the quest he has embarked upon.
  • In this story, our hero is Odysseus who has been away fighting in the Trojan War for 10-long years. It takes him another 10 years to reach his home in Ithaca. Since he has been away forever, his wife and son believe he is dead. The poem chronicles Odysseus’ journey home and back to his family.

Here’s what you should know about me:

  • I’m reading your poem on my phone. You might find that weird.
  • The foundation of Odysseus’ story is ingrained in my subconscious after years of cultural osmosis.
  • There are a large number of translations of The Odyssey out there and I’m thinking of ditching the one I currently have because other versions seem more, um, poetic. As well as popular.
  • I tried to read your poem many years ago because an ex-boyfriend said everyone should read Homer. I picked up The Odyssey but gave up very quickly. I don’t think I gave you a fair chance, so here I am to try again.
  • Sorry, I’m writing point form because it’s 3 a.m.

Homer, don’t take this the wrong way, but I was scared of you. I was intimidated by The Odyssey because I’m afraid I won’t understand it. But I realized today there’s a big difference between reading a poem and studying a poem. This is a read-a-long and reading is discovery, exploration, having fun. I’m ready and we have 4 weeks together. Let’s make this summer fling truly epic!

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11 comments on “The Odyssey Read-A-Long – A Letter to Homer

  1. Sam @ Tiny Library
    July 6, 2013

    I’m debating about joining this read a long – I want to but this book petrifies me!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 6, 2013

      Do it! I felt exactly the same way, both excited and full of dread. I decided to jump right in. Just think you’ll have lots of company with the read-a-long. We can hold hands across the internet and freak out together … LOL!

      Like

    • Brona
      July 7, 2013

      Do it! The more the merrier 🙂

      Like

  2. Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader
    July 6, 2013

    Thinking about reading this makes me quake in my shoes! Best of luck! I can’t wait to hear what you think 🙂

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 6, 2013

      Thank you! I finished the first book and survived. I think it will get better the more I read. But right now I’m like who’s telling the story? who are they talking to? what the heck did that mean? I’m also thinking of switching translations. I think I downloaded the extra-hard-to-understand version.

      Like

  3. Risa
    July 7, 2013

    Yay, Homer!….I’m finally reading him too. 😀

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 7, 2013

      What do you think so far? Are you enjoying the story?

      Like

      • Risa
        July 7, 2013

        Yep. I’ve finished two books. I find I’m extremely familiar with the story. I’m reading the Allen Mandelbaum translation…while I can’t say the poetry is particularly beautiful, I find it very easy to follow. :)…

        btw, a friend of mine recently read the public domain version and thought it was beautiful. However, she kept asking for my copy to check with certain lines that she felt were going over her head…

        Like

        • ebookclassics
          July 8, 2013

          The more I read, the more I seem to understand and then I start seeing the beauty. I’m a little obsessed with the difference in translations too. The version on online-literature.com isn’t verse, but written like a story and totally threw me for a loop.

          Like

  4. lauratfrey
    July 8, 2013

    I think the fact that that so much of this stuff is ingrained in our culture will make it easier on you. There are so many “hero’s journeys,” this is just the first one that got written down. You’ll start to see references and allusions everywhere.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 9, 2013

      It’s already happening! Even in kids shows. Arthur cartoon the other day did their take on The Odyssey and talked about how stories don’t have to be written down.

      Like

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