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Travel and Home in Homer's Odyssey and Contemporary LiteratureCritical Encounters and Nostalgic Returns$
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Carol Dougherty

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198814016

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198814016.001.0001

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Nostalgic Returns

(p.139) Conclusion
Travel and Home in Homer's Odyssey and Contemporary Literature

Carol Dougherty

Oxford University Press

The Conclusion returns to the beginning of the book, bringing it full circle. The Introduction focused on the way that Odysseus introduces himself to King Alcinous as an improviser, a man of metis, to raise the possibility that we, too, as critics, might embrace the productive capacity of the unexpected literary encounter. The readings offered in the individual chapters demonstrate the ways in which the rich and complicated dynamic between coming home and keeping house already at work in the Odyssey can be seen to shift and develop in new ways, just as our appreciation of contemporary fiction dealing with these themes has expanded from its unexpected association with Homer’s Odyssey. In particular, nostalgia emerges as offering an apt interpretive framework and mode of critical analysis, striking a balance between engagement with the past and looking to the present or future. If improvisation offers a framework for the unexpected literary encounter, for finding ourselves as readers and critics in a place unknown, reading unexpected texts together, nostalgia provides us with a way to return home to Homer.

Keywords:   improvisation, classical tradition, reception studies, theoretical framework, Odyssey, nostalgia, homecoming

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