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Homer in the Twentieth CenturyBetween World Literature and the Western Canon$
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Barbara Graziosi and Emily Greenwood

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199298266

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199298266.001.0001

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Naked and O Brother, Where Art Thou? The Politics and Poetics of Epic Cinema

Naked and O Brother, Where Art Thou? The Politics and Poetics of Epic Cinema

Chapter:
(p.245) 11 Naked and O Brother, Where Art Thou? The Politics and Poetics of Epic Cinema
Source:
Homer in the Twentieth Century
Author(s):

Simon Goldhill

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199298266.003.0012

This chapter compares and contrasts two films, both of which are deeply engaged with Homer's Odyssey: the Coen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) and Mike Leigh's Naked (1993). Its discussion places these films and the sophisticated game of allusion that they play with Homeric epic in the broader context of the reception of Homer in modern media. It asks whether Homeric allusions matter, and to whom. The chapter examines the implicit cultural politics of these filmic receptions of the Odyssey, as well as the powerful mythical structures that Homeric epic continues to assert over artistic representations of modern experience.

Keywords:   Mike Leigh, Coen Brothers, Naked, O Brother, Where Art Thou, Odyssey; reception

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