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Invitation to World Literature

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The Odyssey (30:00)

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This video introduces the twisting, turning, and eternally tricky hero of the story, Odysseus. His many adventures—from the fanciful to the horrible—on his way home to Ithaca from the Trojan War are described, as well as his eventual, emotional reunion with his faithful wife, Penelope.

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Speakers in the video

Simon Armitage
Simon Armitage
Poet
Mr. Armitage is an award-winning British poet, playwright, and novelist. In 2000, he was made the UK's official millennium poet. His adaptations include Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Odyssey, which was originally written as a BBC radio play.
David D'agostini
David D'Agostini
Actor
Mr. D'Agostini is a professional actor based in New York City and has played Odysseus in the Handcast Ensemble's reproduction of Simon Armitage's radio play adaptation of The Odyssey.
David Damrosch
David Damrosch
Professor of Comparative Literature, Harvard University
Dr. Damrosch is professor of comparative literature at Harvard University and the author of several books, including What Is World Literature?
Emily Greenwood
Emily Greenwood
Associate Professor of Classics, Yale University
Dr. Greenwood is a professor of classics at Yale University. Her research interests include the classics and postcolonialism, and the theory and practice of translating the classics of Greek and Roman literature.
Daniel Mendelsohn
Daniel Mendelsohn
Writer, Critic, and Professor of Humanities, Bard College
Dr. Mendelsohn is the Charles Ranlett Flint Professor of Humanities at Bard College, and an award-winning author and critic. He began his career in journalism and has written for numerous national publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Nation, Esquire, and The Paris Review.
Gregory Nagy
Gregory Nagy
Scholar of Ancient Greek Literature and Professor, Harvard University
Dr. Nagy is professor of classics at Harvard University, where he specializes in Homer and archaic Greek poetry. He is also the director of the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC. Dr. Nagy is one of the foremost Homeric scholars in the United States.
Tim Blake Nelson
Tim Blake Nelson
Film Director, Screenwriter, and Actor
Mr. Nelson is an American movie director, writer, and actor; he played Delmar O'Donnell in the Coen Brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou? which was inspired by The Odyssey. He majored in Classics at Brown University.
Jonathan Shay
Jonathan Shay
Psychiatrist and Author, Odysseus in America
Dr. Shay is a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant-winning psychiatrist, who, after suffering a stroke, used Homer in his recovery. He wrote two books inspired by The Iliad and The Odyssey to discuss and make sense of the effects of warfare on soldiers in modern wars.
Roy Thomas
Roy Thomas
Comic Book Writer
Mr. Thomas is a comic book writer and editor, and was Stan Lee's first successor as editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics. Thomas has written such titles as X-Men, Conan the Barbarian, The Avengers, as well as a series based on The Odyssey and The Iliad.
Mary Zimmerman
Mary Zimmerman
Playwright, Director, and Professor of Performance Studies, Northwestern University
Dr. Zimmerman won a Tony Award in 2002 for her direction of Metamorphoses on Broadway. She is professor of performance studies at Northwestern University as well as a playwright and theater director. Dr. Zimmerman adapted and directed original productions of many works of literature, including The Odyssey.