Continuing to work our way back to Ithaca, here's a close reading of Homer's Odyssey, Book 12:
Here's a video clip on the Odyssey focusing on Books 10 and 11. More to follow. Scroll down, past the video, for an image of Circe by Dosso Dossi.
Circe by Dosso Dossi (click image for full size version)
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