Memories of Odysseus: Frontier Tales from Ancient Greece

Memories of Odysseus: Frontier Tales from Ancient Greece

Paperback

By (author) Francois Hartog, Translated by Janet Lloyd, Foreword by Paul Cartledge

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  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 237mm x 16mm | 417g
  • Publication date: 3 October 2001
  • Publication City/Country: Chicago, IL
  • ISBN 10: 0226318532
  • ISBN 13: 9780226318530

Product description

The conception of the Other has long been a problem for philosophers. Emmanuel Levinas, best known for his attention to the issue argued that the voyages of Odysseus represent the very nature of Western philosophy : "His adventure in the world is nothing but a return to his native land, a complacency with the Same, a misrecognition of the Other." In this text Francois Hartog examines the truth of Levinas' assertion and, in the process, uncovers a different picture. Drawing on a range of authors and texts, Hartog looks at accounts of actual travellers, as well as the way travel is used as a trope throughout ancient Greek literature, and finds that, instead of misrecognition, the Other is viewed with doubt and awe in the Homeric tradition. In fact, he argues, "The Odyssey" played a crucial role in shaping this attitude in the Greek mind, serving as inspiration for voyages in which new encounters caused the Greeks to revise their concepts of self and other.

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Author information

Francois Hartog is the Directeur d'etudes at the ecole des Hautes etudes en Sciences Sociales and the director of the Centre Louis Gernet in Paris. He is the author of "The Mirror of Herodotus."

Flap copy

The conception of the Other has long been a problem for anthopologists and philosophers. In "Memories of Odysseus," Francois Hartog tackles the problem in light of the Greek hero and his epic tale, the "Odyssey." Drawing on a remarkable range of authors and texts, both ancient and modern, Hartog looks at accounts of actual travelers as well as the way travel is used as a trope throughout ancient Greek literature and finds that the Other is viewed with doubt and awe in the Homeric tradition. In fact, he argues, the "Odyssey" played a crucial role in shaping this attitude in the Greek mind, serving as inspiration for voyages in which the Greeks revised their concepts of self and other through new encounters. Ambitious in scope, this is a sophisticated exploration of ancient Greece and its sense of identity and a reflection on the cultural frontier.