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Narrative in Culture

Ed. by Erll, Astrid / Sommer, Roy

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Publication Date:
July 2019
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Odyssean Travels: The Migration of Narrative Form (Homer – Lamb – Joyce)

Erll, Astrid


This essay brings cultural and historical narratology into dialogue with classical reception studies. It addresses the reception of Homer’s Odyssey and its narrative forms across time, focusing on Charles Lamb’s children’s version The Adventures of Ulysses (1808) and James Joyce’s modernist novel Ulysses (1922) as two landmarks in the epic’s modern memory. The essay traces how the Odyssey’s in medias res beginning initiated the epic’s elaborate play with temporal order, which enabled an early exploration of narrative perspective. After a discussion of unreliable narration, multiperspectivity, and narrative coping in the Odyssey, the essay shows how these narrative forms and functions travelled and were taken up, reformatted and transformed in Lamb’s and Joyce’s literary remediations of the Homeric text. These examples show that in the process of classical reception, the migration of narrative form emerges not as a steady and straightforward development, but more as a kind of ‘Odyssean travel’ - a complex, and often seemingly errant, temporal and cultural dynamic.

Citation Information

Astrid Erll (2019). Odyssean Travels: The Migration of Narrative Form (Homer – Lamb – Joyce). In Astrid Erll, Roy Sommer (Eds.), Narrative in Culture (pp. 241–268). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110654370-014

Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110654370

Online ISBN: 9783110654370

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/BostonGet Permission

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