Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Course Redesign Update: May 27, Odyssey

Today I worked on getting the Odyssey unit ready for use. This meant: some basic proofreading (although the materials from Tony Kline's website are already in good shape), adding the navigation links, and adding the images. I also added a few notes; this is a unit that will benefit from some good notes later on, but I have to get used to the idea that during this first run of adding content, there is not time to add all the notes. Anything related to the Odyssey, though, is very easy to look up at Wikipedia, so I am not too worried, and Odysseus's own account of his adventures works very well as a free-standing set of episodes for the students to read. I had originally picked this part of the Odyssey because of the great parallels to the Voyages of Sindbad from Arabian Nights, so that is a unit I should work on soon while Homer is still fresh in mind.

The Odyssey is one of the units that already existed in my class, but I have made one big change: instead of Samuel Butler's prose translation from 1898, I am using Tony Kline's translation from 2004, generously shared online at his website, Poetry in Translation. Butler's translation was not a real problem for students, but the more contemporary style of Kline will be much appreciated I am sure. Tony Kline's website is an incredible resource for which I am very grateful indeed; I am using his translations for Ovid's Metamorphoses and for the Cupid and Psyche episode from Apuleius. If I decide to do a Dante unit (still not sure about that...), I will use Kline again for that too!

I'm surprised that there are not more illustrated editions of the Odyssey available online, but I have made good use of the Flaxman illustrations, like this fabulous depiction of the sea-monster Scylla; to get a sense of the scale, look at the companions of Odysseus whom she has snatched up, one by one. Wow!

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