Parisian Literary Salon

creating community through reading and discussing literature


The Odyssey - The Salon has certainly been a place to re-discover- or discover for the first time- the works that form the cornerstones of Western literary tradition. The Odyssey is a root for our understanding of ourselves as well as the words and ways of the ancients. How does it continue to shape our idea of the heroic? What do the dilemmas that Odysseus faces offer to us today? Can we still appreciate the lyric and narrative quality alongside a violent story filled with the suffering and death of nameless servants, slave girls and soldiers?

David Denby, in his work Great Books, describes his engagement with The Odyssey as an essential exploration of the formation of the self for the reader as well as for Telemachus and Odysseus: “Even at the beginning of the literary tradition of the West, the self has masks, and remakes itself as a fiction and not as a guiltless fiction either. . . The Odyssey is an after-the-war poem, a plea for relief and gratification, and it turns, at times, into a sensual, even carnal celebration.”