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Landscape Description in Homer's Odyssey

Haller, Benjamin Stephen (2007) Landscape Description in Homer's Odyssey. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation makes the claim that Homer's landscape descriptions comment on the action of Odysseus' homecoming through echoes and cross-references. Even descriptive passages such as the loca amoena of Elysium in Book 4, the Gardens of Alcinous in Book 7, and Goat Island in Book 9 do not effect a cessation of the action of the narrative, but rather contribute to its furtherance by characterizing Odysseus' ethic of nostos in terms of his rejection of an array of locales. Geography appropriate for mortals is distinguished from that appropriate to gods by the pronounced emphasis in the former on generation and cyclic renewal, which requires that imperfections such as precipitation and the necessity for labor be introduced into even the most amoena of loca inhabited by mortals. Landscape assists the poet in articulating through physical geography Odysseus' vested interest in the generational continuity of his mortal household and the immortality of his fame. Unlike Menelaus, who serves as Odysseus' foil, Odysseus possesses an ethos of toil and self-sufficiency, virtues demonstrated in the final reunion with Laertes in the gardens of Book 24. Chapters are devoted to the proem, the Telemachy, dawn scenes, the succession of landscapes portrayed in Books 5-7 (Odysseus' journey from Ogygia to the palace of Alcinous), the Apologue, Book 13 and the description of Ithaca, and the Gardens of Laertes in Book 24.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Haller, Benjamin
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMiller, Andrew M
Committee MemberLooney, Dennis
Committee MemberSmethurst, Mae
Committee MemberPossanza, Mark
Date: 20 September 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 14 May 2007
Approval Date: 20 September 2007
Submission Date: 7 August 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Classics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Homer; Landscape; Nature; Odyssey
Other ID:, etd-08072007-131521
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:57
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:48


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