An Odyssey

An Odyssey

A Father, A Son, and An Epic

eBook - 2017
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"When eighty-one-year-old Jay Mendelsohn decides to enroll in the undergraduate seminar on the Odyssey that his son Daniel teaches at Bard College, the two find themselves on an adventure as profoundly emotional as it is intellectual. For Jay, a retired research scientist who sees the world through a mathematician's unforgiving eyes, this return to the classroom is his 'one last chance' to learn the great literature he'd neglected in his youth--and, even more, a final opportunity to more fully understand his son. But through the sometimes uncomfortable months that follow, as the two men explore Homer's great work together--first in the classroom, where Jay persistently challenges his son's interpretations, and then during a surprise-filled Mediterranean journey retracing Odysseus' legendary voyages-it becomes clear that Daniel has much to learn, too: for Jay's responses to both the text and the travels gradually uncover long-buried secrets that allow the son to understand his difficult father at last. As this intricately woven memoir builds to its wrenching climax, Mendelsohn's narrative comes to echo the Odyssey itself, with its timeless themes of deception and recognition, marriage and children, the pleasures of travel and the meaning of home. Rich with literary and emotional insight, An Odyssey is a renowned author-scholar's most revelatory entwining yet of personal narrative and literary exploration."--Jacket.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385350600
Branch Call Number: CT275.M46919 A3 2017x
Characteristics: 1 downloadable text file
Additional Contributors: Mendelsohn, Jay 1929-2012


From Library Staff

When Daniel Mendelsohn's eighty-one-year-old father enrolls in an undergraduate seminar on the "Odyssey" his son teaches at Bard College they explore the epic together - first in the classroom, and then during a trip to the Mediterranean where they retrace Odysseus's legendary voyages. ... Read More »

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Aug 07, 2020

This was an amazing book on several levels. I had a hard time getting through the initial chapters on the proem portion, but, after I got my feet wet, it was a delightful book. I felt as if I was rereading the Odyssey, something I hadn’t done since sophomore year of high school when I was too young to appreciate it for more than the storyline. The scholarship was wonderful and the memoir was wonderful: an amazing combination!

Jan 23, 2020

This was a beautiful memoir, coupled with poignant and thoughtful analysis of Homer’s Odyssey. Well worth the read for anyone interested in literature or personal stories about the complex relationships between fathers and sons.

Nov 21, 2019

I have read this! Please stop!!!!!!!!

Jul 09, 2019

This is a memoir written by Princeton phD and Bard professor Daniel Mendelsohn. He had always felt somewhat distant from his father, mostly from not seeing much affection nor emotion from the mathematician, but when Mendelsohn taught a class on Homer’s Odyssey, his father audited the class and learned about a son’s journey to equal his father and the father’s reassertion of his identity . After the class ended, the two boarded an Odyssey themed cruise. With increased understanding of his father’s values, Daniel discovered something unexpected — a funny, talkative, adventurous side of the man he had always understood as reticent and rigid.
By switching between examining the epic through the lens of literary criticism and recounting their times together, Mendelsohn shows us that this memoir is not only about the two father-son relationships, but also his own coming-of-age story as he learns to see his father in a different light.
For more reviews, visit me on Instagram @RandomStuffIRead

Dec 26, 2017

He artfully employs many of Homer's literary techniques -- such as ring narratives -- and shows what great teaching is.

Dec 21, 2017

Profound on so many levels. One of those books (rare these days) when I didn't want it to end and when I couldn't postpone it, felt shaken, inspired, and wanting to read his other books. And then, read this one again. Fathers and sons, kids and parents, the classic of The Odyssey and modern life highlight each other. And if you have read or want to read the Odyssey, this book can be your faithful guide, like Athena.


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