Biblio (41) The Odyssey

Ithaca nowadays, in a Landsat Image. You can see it in http://landsatlook.usgs.gov/ , northeast from Kefalonia, south of Corfu (a direct link would be against the spirit of the book). And I'm not sure google maps would be better...

Ithaca nowadays, in a Landsat Image. You can see it in http://landsatlook.usgs.gov/ , northeast from Kefalonia, south of Corfu (a direct link would be against the spirit of the book). And I’m not sure google maps would be better… and I am not sure that google maps would be better for what is at stake here.

I have already seen more than forty times how the year changes, I have studied in four universities in three countries, I speak and have read books in several languages; but until now I had never read the Odyssey.

The story of Odysseus, the rich in cunning, the destroyer of cities, surprises me in many ways. By what I had heard or read in an indirect way, I had understood this was the story of a fallen hero subject to the wrath of the gods. But Odysseus (or Ulysses, under his Latin name) is really a cunning and quarrelsome character, not at all exemplary (his behavior would lead him before the justice several times nowadays) and surrounded by a band of drunk profiteers going from island to island, abusing as much as they can those that provide hospitality and suffering sometimes the consequences of such behavior. It is as if a character from the picaresque novels from the golden age of the Spanish literature had become king and writer of his own saga. Or, in more contemporary terms, the picture “The hangover” (2009) as if the main character was a member of a royal family.

This is by no means a deception, but quite the opposite; despite the archaic narrative format, the story finally gets you, even if you know right from the onset how it ends, as the interesting is in things that are not what they seem. Sometimes a whole year is described by just a sentence as “we enjoyed her hospitality, her food and her wine for a year”; the important is not motion, but the experiences, as therein lies the rub.

I assume some of my frequent readers must think I have decided to change the direction of the blog; but no. I just feel there is time to talk tourism again, but from the idea of experience and how it can permeate a landscape, a city, a building or an object.

The Odyssey can be downloaded from gutenberg.org

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