Ithaca: Home

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  • Published 20041207
  • ISBN: 9780733314544
  • Extent: 268 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

AT A YOUNG age I knew of Ithaca. Arthur Mee’s Children’s Encyclopedia, the Classic Comics Mythology series and Kirk Douglas’s Ulysses film (an early special-effects extravaganza) retold the story of Odysseus, blown from island to island around the Mediterranean, set upon and tempted, but always heading home.

When I decided to visit the island, I read Homer’s original (in translation) and other accounts, including the poem Ithaka by modern Greek poet C.P. Cavafy. And I picked up a spin that I hadn’t been aware of in my childhood reading. Ithaca may be the archetypal home in Western literature, but that “home” is not an unalloyed refuge, not necessarily the safest of havens. Clearly, my 1950s reading was of censored texts.

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