Pietro Pucci here reads Homer's epics, the Odyssey and
the Iliad, intertextually, using each to cast light on the
other. Drawing on traditional philology and contemporary critical
theory, he demonstrates that although the same diction and some of
the same narrative principles are to be found in both poems, the
two works belong to very different poetic traditions. In addition,
he addresses the concepts of orality and writing, which in his view
are not antithetical.
Pucci begins by analyzing the literary references and allusions
that the Odyssey makes to the Iliad and to other
Greek heroic poems. He asserts that, in its relationship to the
heroic genre, the Odyssey is an antagonistic poem, one
that celebrates the pleasures of life rather than heroic ideals.
Regarded from this perspective, the Odyssey unfolds as a
"reading" of famous heroic texts-a recreation of their diction,
formulas, scenes, themes, and characters. Although this exercise is
enjoyable and exciting for the poet, it is also dangerous, for in
the act of recreating other texts, he both finds and loses the
specific inflections of his own voice. In addition, the text, ever
expanding through its sophisticated readings of other epics, must
simultaneously struggle with limits imposed by the passive and
arbitrary nature of traditional fables and language. Odysseus
Polutropos is a major contribution to our understanding of the
poetics and hermeneutics of archaic Greek poetry.
Subjects: Language & Literature
Table of Contents
You are viewing the table of contents
You do not have access to this
on JSTOR. Try logging in through your institution for access.