Telemachus, Heredity, and the Persistent Weirdness of Parent-Child Relationships

Poets such as Sappho and Pindar garnered plenty of attention during their lifetimes, but many of them also led rich afterlives in which they continue to influence the world of poetry. In the current pop culture scene, works inspired by or retelling Greek and Roman myths are very popular, including loosely inspired children’s books such as the Percy Jackson series and edgy, politically relevant retellings such as the musical Hadestown…

“When You Set Out for Ithaka…”

“When You Set Out for Ithaka…”
By Margaret Dunn

When I was ten years old, my grandfather gave me a copy of Mary Pope Osborne’s Tales from the Odyssey as a birthday present. He was an English professor, so gifts such as this one were not uncommon. Every year I’d receive a new paperback or two, plowing through each title so that I could answer his questions at Christmas…

Eclipse

Eclipse
By Millie Huang

This video essay by Millie Huang was created for CLST 143, “Great Books of Ancient Greece and Rome.” It is a response to a class project asking for a presentation-style analysis of any work of classical scholarship. The central topic of the essay is a passage titled “Theoclymenus’s Prophecy” in book 20 of the Odyssey, which has been purported to describe a total solar eclipse since antiquity…

Circe: A Human Witch? Reviewing Madeline Miller’s “Epic”

Circe: A Human Witch? Reviewing Madeline Miller’s “Epic”
By Olivia Wells

If you’ve read the Odyssey, you remember the enchantress Circe. While the legendary epic doesn’t tell us much about her background, we know she’s wily like Odysseus; she has magical powers and turns men to pigs, seemingly for fun. In a new retelling of this familiar story from antiquity, Madeline Miller expands the witch’s short role in the Odyssey into a full novel, Circe, which illuminates her story in a feminist light while harkening back to Homer’s epic…