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Composed sometime between the seventh and eighth centuries B.C., Homer's Odyssey is one of the oldest works of world literature and the ancestor of virtually every narrative that involves a difficult journey home.
The longing to return home is for Odysseus is the longing of a man to recover his identity as a king, husband, and father after having spent ten years in the Trojan war. The effort to return home involves him in a perilous journey thwarted by the hostility of gods, giants, seducers, and the waywardness of his own and his sailors' passions. Meanwhile his home in Ithaca is invaded by a host of men who in their zeal to take over his wealth and kingdom waste his substance and attempt to force Penelope, his wife, to marry one of them and thereby rob Odysseus and his son Telemachus of all that is theirs.
Not knowing if Odysseus is dead or alive, both Penelope and Telemachus are under constant threat. Telemachus sets out to find out if his father is still alive while Penelope, faithful to her husband, must use her considerable wit and guile to keep the suitors at bay. The unfolding drama at Ithaca is cross-woven by the fabulous events of Odysseus's arduous journey.
Will he get home? What will he find there in the way of welcome if he does? Will he be acknowledged after ten long years of absence? Questions such as these animate the narrative and make this epic of adventure and family the inspiration for works of literature concerned with recovering one's identity by founding or returning home as various as Virgil's Aeneid, Dante's Divine Comedy, and James Joyce's Ulysses.
The course will focus on the strange world of Homer's epic, the brilliance of its story-telling, and the extraordinarily vivid characters that this ancient work presents us in all their wondrous ambiguity.
Emily Wilson's translation of the Odyssey is the first complete translation by a woman. It is brilliantly readable, clear, accurate, and as swift in its progression as Homer's ancient Greek original, an absolute triumph of scholarship and poetic sensitivity.
Required text: The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson
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This class isn't on the schedule at the moment, but save it to your Wish List to find out when it comes back!
92nd Street Y is a world-class cultural and community center where people all over the world connect through culture, arts, entertainment and conversation. For over 140 years, we have harnessed the power of arts and ideas to enrich, enlighten and change lives, and the power of community to repair the...
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Ovid begins his Metamorphoses, “My soul would speak of bodies changed into new forms,” and it is the great theme of physical transformation that unites the poem’s many myths: humans becomes animals and plants, and vice versa; humans becomes stones and constellations; and humans change their sex. No poem from antiquity has so influenced Western...
Sunday Apr 12th, 3pm - 6pm(4 sessions)
Join us for our first online book club! Hosted by Adrien, book lover and trained art historian, the Coucou Book Club’s aim is to practice French through a literary, emotional and esthetic-driven approach, which will translate well to an online setting. * This class will take place online via the video conference platform ZOOM * About the Book:...
Sunday Apr 12th, 4pm - 6pm(4 sessions)
Join charismatic actor and teacher Leo Schaff as he breathes life into Shakespeare’s words, acting out portions of the play and offering illuminating insights into the Bard’s language, plot lines, historical context and eternal relevance, all with a generous sense of humor. The Tempest - January 8 The magic hand of Prospero guides us through...
Wednesday Apr 22nd, 12pm - 1:30pm(7 sessions)
What does it mean to be human in the world today? Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition (1958) is a provocative treatise on what it means to live on earth and share the world in common. Her study, originally intended to be titled Amor Mundi (Love of the World), investigates the central activities of human life—labor, work, action—and their corresponding...
Monday May 11th, 6:30pm - 9:30pm(4 sessions)
Elizabeth Bishop is a modern North American poet who is hard to identify in terms of a single school of poetry, place, or home. She writes poems linked to her native ground of Nova Scotia and Massachusetts, yet she is also a poet who famously writes of travel. Brazil, where she lived for twenty years, was home away from home for her, as was Key West,...
Tuesday Apr 21st, 6:30pm - 8:30pm(3 sessions)
Speculative fiction and Hugo awarding-winning writer N.K. Jemisin sits down with organizer and activist Whitney Hu to discuss her forthcoming novel, The City We Became (March 2020). The story follows six characters -- each avatars of the five boroughs, and one of the city as a whole (based on demographic research done by Jemisin) as they...
Wednesday May 13th, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Do capitalist societies have an inherent tendency toward economic, social, and political crises? Political economists have, over the course of the past 250 years, offered different frameworks to understand the existence of crises within capitalism: from Adam Smith’s “general glut” (when production exceeds demand) to Marx’s belief that...
Thursday May 14th, 6:30pm - 9:30pm(4 sessions)
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