Welcome to Brilliant Minds

A companion site for courses by Peter Arcese on classics, contemporary literature, and the arts ... Here you will find items related to our readings and discussions ... Ideas, images, background information, suggested readings, bibliographies, and notes on related performances, all find a presence here ... Enjoy your reading and check back regularly for new posts!


Ithaca and the journey home

The Odyssey is a nostos, the story of a hero's return. To get home, Odysseus must journey through the underworld. That particular journey is called the nekyia, and is a key element in the structure of an epic.

As we began to discuss and query in class: just where is home for Odysseus? Where is the Ithaca of Homer's Odyssey. Here are a few resources on that question, including some maps to supplement those included in your book.

Ithaca, generally: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ithaca

Homer's Ithaca: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homer%27s_Ithaca

Geography of the Odyssey: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_the_Odyssey

A wealth of links on the geography, as surmised from the 12th Century to 2010: http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~jburgess/rop/pages/bibliography.html

The mystery continued at Odysseus Unbound: http://www.odysseus-unbound.org/

My personal favorite: The Authoress of the Odyssey, Samuel Butler's theory: http://www.joh.cam.ac.uk/authoress-odyssey-1897

An interactive map: http://www.classics.upenn.edu/myth/php/homer/index.php?page=odymap

A map of Homeric Greece:

1079px-Homeric_Greece-en.svg


Getting ready for Fall Brilliant Minds (already!)

Here is our Fall 2017 reading list and schedule with dates for discussion:

Homer, The Odyssey (9/12 & 19)
Selections: Books 1, 5–6, 9–12, 19, and 22–24

Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (9/26 & 10/3)
Selections: General Prologue, The Knight's Tale, The Miller's Tale, The Wife of Bath's Tale, The Summoner's Tale, The Pardoner's Tale, The Nun's Priest's Tale

William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream (10/10)

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (10/17 & 24)

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (10/31)

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (11/7)

Yasunari Kawabata, Snow Country (11/14)

Elizabeth Bishop, Poems (11/21)

Paul Beatty, The Sellout (11/28)


Links related to books we've discussed

The Blue Guitar

  • The Wallace  Stevens poem excerpts that we read from in class.
  • The 1937 Stevens poem as printed in Poetry.
  • The Picasso painting The Old Guitarist from the Art Institute of Chicago.
  • David Tannenbaum playing Michael Tippet's "The Blue Guitar".
  •  Of the reviews of Banville's book, I've found this one in The Telegraph closer to our discussion.

Nutshell

Alice Oswald


Thank you!

As we get ready for the Summer Session, let me thank you all for your generosity! I'll be updating the design of this site to be more mobile-friendly and responsive. More to come!