Cover: Folktales in Homer’s <i>Odyssey</i>, from Harvard University PressCover: Folktales in Homer’s <i>Odyssey</i> in E-DITION

Folktales in Homer’s Odyssey

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Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674423435

Publication Date: 01/01/1973

141 pages


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The appeal of the folktale is universal. In Homer’s Odyssey, which contains the oldest collection of folktales in European literature, some of the most popular stories of this kind are elevated to the highest peak of poetry. As simple as the Homeric tales seem, they are, in fact, a complex blending of folklore motifs and reality. Denys Page points to the long-neglected folkloric aspects of the Odyssey’s major plotline, and explores the symbolism and derivations of many of the tales. Drawing upon analogous tales from Egypt, Persia, India, Ceylon, Africa, New Zealand, and elsewhere, he reconstructs the original tale and the tale as Homer might have known it, and he indicates the processes and purposes determining Homer’s own rendering of the material. The final section proposes a new solution to one of the Odyssey’s most baffling problems: the meaning of Penelope’s challenge to her suitors.

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