We’re almost done with the first text we will read for this class, and I’d like to use our last class period (and these discussion boards) to return to our original theme: the way in which fiction creates an image of “the known world.”
How then, can we describe the world of the “Odyssey”? What gives it wholeness, structure or meaning? Given that Odysseus ventures as far as the Underworld, is there anything that lies beyond the boundaries of the knowable? If so, what? What conception of space did the ancient Greeks have? How are the various places Odysseus visits integrated into a larger whole? What about time? How are worlds created in and through time? And what meaning, finally, does the “Odyssey” hold in our own time? Given that our own perception of the world is so vastly different from the Greeks, why is this still such a famous story?
These aren’t easy questions. For one thing, they’re a lot more abstract than the issues we’ve previously discussed on these boards. But that’s what discussion boards are there for: a space to try out ideas and to collectively turn them into something meaningful. So go for it!