Books XVII and XVIII of the Odyssey feature, among other episodes, the disguised Odysseus' penetration of his home after an absence of twenty years and his first encounter with his wife. The commentary provides linguistic and syntactical guidance suitable for upper-level students along with detailed consideration of Homer's compositional and narrative techniques, his literary artistry and the poem's central themes. An extensive introduction considers questions of formulaic composition, the nature of the poem's audience and the context of its performance, and isolates the concerns most prominent in the poem's second half and in Books XVII and XVIII in particular. Here too are considered the roles of Penelope and Telemachus, questions of disguise and recognition, and the institution of hospitality flaunted by the suitors in Odysseus' halls. Brief sections also discuss Homeric metre and the transmission of the text.
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