Pragmatic Penelope or timeless tales for the times

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The article is an intertextual study of a contemporary rereading of selected episodes in Homer’s Odyssey, namely Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad (2005), a novel which also casts ironic glances at for instance Joyce’s Ulysses, Tennyson’s “Ulysses” and Byron’s satirical poem about Don Juan. At the same time, in pointing to Atwood’s achievement in adapting an ancient myth for modern sensibilities by puncturing the hero worship that permeates the Odyssey, lowering the register, and altering the sociocultural circumstances (i.e. a kind of authorial mediation between myth and reader), the article should be seen as a response to Literature as Communication: The Foundations of Mediating Criticism, where Roger Sell stresses the literary critic’s role as mediator between text and reader.


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