Least Tern > English Classroom

The Odyssey Guide

from John McIlvain

An Overview for the Student

Book-by-Book Study Guide

Literary Responses to the Odyssey

Greek warriors - pottery fragment

Image source: http://www.beloit.edu/~classics/main/courses/classics100/museum2/art_museum2.html


There are many commercial and non-commercial study guides available for the Odyssey on the Internet. This one is specifically designed to accompany the Fagles translation of the Odyssey and is distinguished by its highlighting of passages from the translation. It has been used in a 9th grade English class. It is not designed to serve as "notes" that might substitute for a reading of parts of the poems, although the brief summaries of the action in the individual "book guides" and in the "overview" could tide students over in courses where some books are "skimmed" or passed over. Occasionally, as with the extensive quotes relating to the women of the Underworld from the Book 12, passages are included that might substitute for a reading of section of a book. The "overview" itself, which includes a glossary of characters, is not designed as a substitute for Bernard Knox's introduction or Fagles' own glossary, but was written with a student new to Homer in mind. Students have found that answering the questions for each book is helpful both for discussion and for test preparation.
I have not included links to other resources on the Odyssey. They are legion, ranging from materials designed for elementary school students to those designed for post-graduate work. Unfortunately, most of the general Homer sites contain numerous dead links, but persistence will eventually be rewarded.

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Least Tern - John McIlvain - March 6, 2005