Odysseus’s nostos and the Odyssey’s nostoi: rivalry within the epic cycle

Barker, Elton T. E. and Christensen, Joel P. (2016). Odysseus’s nostos and the Odyssey’s nostoi: rivalry within the epic cycle. Philologia Antiqua, 7 pp. 85–110.

URL: http://www.libraweb.net/articoli3.php?chiave=20140...


In this article we explore some of the ways in which our Odyssey engages with other epic homecoming (nostoi) traditions and how they help prepare for and glorify Odysseus’s return home. The process of telling nostoi tales in Ithaca, Pylos and Sparta dramatizes for the audience the selection and presentation of homecoming narratives, whose metapoetic potential is clear – nostos signifies both a homecoming and a song about homecoming. Since this process is in part a contemplation of which Odysseus is needed in this narrative, emphasis lies on how his story compares to possible versions both of nostoi narratives and of different Odysseys. In turn, part of this process reveals how both storytellers and audience members participate in a selection of different aspects to create the Odysseus they want. We focus in particular on how Telemachus negotiates these other nostoi, not always successfully, but always with a view to learning about the role he is to play in this epic. These other nostoi narratives are not only put at the service of the Odyssey to anticipate the content and structure of the monumental tale to come, as we will argue; they also help demonstrate what is at stake in narrating and experiencing nostos.

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