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ENRICH-0413 – Lit: Odyssey (ENRICH-0413_HOMR)

Dusting Off the Classics: Homer's Odyssey

For nearly 3,000 years, Homer's Odyssey has challenged generation after generation to wrestle with fundamental questions about what it takes—and whether it is even possible—to go out into the wide world and then return home to live in happiness and peace. But what is it about this most enduring of ancient classics that continues to speak to us today? Join former Columbia University English and Classics Professor Richard Sacks in an exploration of this remarkable poem about the famed but troubled and troubling Greek hero Odysseus as he tries to move from his war-torn experiences at Troy through a startling array of often unimaginable landscapes—in this world and beyond, filled with everything from gods to monsters—until he finally returns to the very human world of his home and family on his modest and beloved island of Ithaka. Can we ever truly process the horrors of war? Can we ever understand things that are deeply foreign to our own experience and knowledge? And is there a fundamental tension between what we must become to get back home and what we must be to genuinely and successfully inhabit home? These are the kinds of profound and haunting questions the Odyssey asks us to consider as we take our own journey through this astonishing poem.

Five Zoom sessions
Mon., Nov. 9, 16, 23, 30, Dec. 7, 2020, 6:30-8:30 pm MT


Richard Sacks taught ancient and medieval literature, mythology and linguistics at Columbia University for nearly 40 years. He also participated in Columbia's well-known Core Curriculum, teaching its great books course and giving lectures to faculty on the challenges of teaching texts ranging from the Iliad and Odyssey to biblical narratives such as Genesis and the Gospels.
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