BLTC Press Titles

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The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois

Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley

Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll

Further Adventures of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

Homer's Odyssey

by Denton Jaques Snider


Introduction being concluded, the story of

chus begins, and continues till the Fifth

Two main points stand forth in the nar

The first is the grand conflict with the

, the men of guilt, the disturbers of the

order; this conflict runs through to the

f the poem, where they are swept out of

orld which thev have thrown into discord.

The second point of the Telemachiad is the educatiqnof Telemachus, which is indeed the chief fact of these Books; the youth is to be trained to meet the conflict which is looming up before him in the distance. Thus we have one of the first educational books of the race, the very first possibly ; it still has many valuable hints for the educator of the present age. Its method is that of oral tradition, which has by no means lost its place in a true discipline of the human spirit. Living wisdom has its advantage to-day over'th* dead lore of the text-books.

Very delightful is the school to which we see Telemachus going in these four Books. Heroe* are his instructors, men of the deed as well as of the word, and the source from which all instruction is derived is the greatest event of the age. the Trojan War. The young man is to leurjt what that event was, what sacrifices it require?^ what characters it developed among his peop ig| He is to see and converse with Nestor, famouasjl Troy for eloquence and wisdom. Then he wj'ii go to Menelaus, who has had an experience widvq? than the Trojan experience, for the latter h»a' been in Egypt. Young Telemachus is also M^b behold Helen, beautiful Helen, the central figur%' of the great struggle. Finally, he is to leara much about his father, and thus be prepared fo|r the approaching conflict with the suitors &£ Ithaca. . 'V

Book First specially. After the total Odyssey has been organized on Olympus, it begins at once to descend to earth and to realize itself there. For the great poem springs from the Divine Idea, and must show its origin in the course of its own unfolding. Hence the Gods are the starting-point of the Odyssey, and their will goes before the terrestrial deed; moreover, the one decree of theirs overarches the poem from beginning to end, as the heavens bend over man wherever he may take his stand. Still there will be many special interventions and reminders from the Gods during this poetical journey.

In accordance with the Olympian plan, Pallas takes her flight down to Ithaca, after binding on her winged sandals and seizing her mighty spear; thus she humanizes herself to the Greek plastic sense, and assumes finite form, adopting the shape of a stranger, Mentes, King of the Taphians. She finds a world full of wrong; violence and disorder rule in the house of the absent Ulysses; it is indeed high time for the Gods to come down from lofty Olympus and bring peace and right into the course of things. Let the divine image now be stamped upon terrestrial affairs, and bring harmony out of strife. Still, it must not be forgotten that the work has to be done through man's own activity.

The conflict which unfolds before our eyes in a series of clear-drawn classic pictures, lies between the House of Ulysses on the one hand and the Suitors of Penelope on the other. He who is the head of the Family and the ruler of State, Ulysses, has been absent for twenty years; godless men have taken advantage of the youth of his son, and are consuming his substance wantonly; they also are wooing his wife who has only her cunning wherewith to help herself. The son and wife are now to be brought before us in their struggle with their bitter lot. Thus we note the two main divisions in the structure of the present Book: The House of Ulysses and the Suitors.

The Goddess Pallas has already come down to Ithaca and stands among the suitors. She has taken the form of Mentes, the King of a neighboring tribe; she is in disguise as she usually is when she appears on earth. Who will recognize her? Not the suitors; they can see no God in their condition, least of all, the Goddess of Wisdom. "Telemachus was much the first to observe her ;" why just he? The fact is he was ready to see her, and not only to see her, but to hear what she had to say. "For he sat among the suitors grieved in heart, seeing his father in his mind's eye," like Hamlet just before the latter saw the ghost. So careful is the poet to prepare both sides — the divine epiphany, and the mortal who is to behold it.

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