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:

Homer's Ithaca:

Geography of the Odyssey:

A wealth of links on the geography, as surmised from the 12th Century to 2010:

The mystery continued at Odysseus Unbound:

My personal favorite: The Authoress of the Odyssey, Samuel Butler's theory:

An interactive map:

A map of Homeric Greece:


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.


Alice Oswald

Resources for the Poetic Edda

I highly recommend Patricia Terry's  translation as a companion to the Hollander edition. Not as readily available, but used and new editions are listed through Amazon. Easy to get the Kindle edition and the Audible Audio. Well worth it in my opinion:


Here is a clip from the Audio of the Terry translation:


Also, I highly recommend a contemporary (just released) retelling of selected sections by Neil Gaiman:


The Völuspá as sung in Icelandic:


Here is a clip of Werner Herzog reading the "Catalogue of Dwarves":