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Tales for All Time: Modern Audience Reception of Homeric Epic
Presented by Karen Possingham (ANU) as part of the Classics Seminar Series
The poet we call Homer stands at the intersection of a long oral tradition and the emergence of literacy. The poems associated with his name have exercised a continuing appeal, across time; and yet they can be unsettling, challenging our ideas of Ancient Greek values and expectations. This has impacted on the reception of the poems from antiquity to the present day. In my thesis, which focuses on the responses of modern audiences of the Homeric epics, I identify a number of challenging themes and issues that arise in the Iliad and the Odyssey and evaluate some examples of external audience reactions to them, focusing particularly on literary works of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
This paper will examine the theoretical approaches that will be central in evaluating and understanding modern responses to the epics; identify some of the themes that challenge us in the epics and give an example of a modern literary response to the problematic issues that we observe in the poems.
Karen Possingham completed her honours degree in classical languages at the University of Queensland in 2015 and began a D.Phil. in 2016 at ANU, supervised by Professor Elizabeth Minchin. This seminar will be Karen's Thesis Presentation Review.