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Imagining Ithaca – Nostos and Nostalgia Since the Great War - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Imagining Ithaca: Nostos and Nostalgia Since the Great War

Kathleen Riley


‘Though home is a name, a word, it is a strong one’, said Charles Dickens, ‘stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit answered to, in strongest conjuration.’ The ancient Greek word nostos, meaning homecoming or return, has a commensurate power and mystique. Irish philosopher-poet John Moriarty described it as ‘a teeming word … a haunted word … a word to conjure with’. The most celebrated and culturally enduring nostos is that of Homer’s Odysseus who spent ten years returning home after the fall of Troy. His journey back involved many obstacles, temptations, and fantastical adventures and ev ... More

Keywords: Ithaca, nostos, nostalgia, algos, Homer’s Odyssey, Penelope, Telemachus, Virgil’s Aeneid, classical reception, Great War

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9780198852971
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2021 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198852971.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Kathleen Riley, author
Writer and classical scholar

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Part I ‘Like Strangers in those Landscapes of our Youth’: War and Impossible Nostos

Part II ‘A Deep Yearning for a return to the Source’: Rewriting Homer

Part III ‘One is Always at Home in One’s Past’: The Nostalgia of Exile

Part IV ‘Across a Strange Country to their Homeland’: Nostos and the Displaced Spirit

Part V ‘In the Place Called Adulthood there’s Precious Few Golden Afternoons’: Returning to the Place called Childhood

Part VI ‘All Sons are Telemachus Figures’: Voyages Round the Father

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