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An Odyssey

Daniel Mendelsohn recounts what happened when his elderly father sat in on his university seminar about Homer's epic poem.

Daniel Mendelsohn

From award-winning memoirist and critic, and bestselling author of The Lost, comes a deeply moving tale of a father and son's transformative journey in reading — and reliving — Homer's epic masterpiece. (From McClelland & Stewart)

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From the book

One January evening a few years ago, just before the beginning of the spring term in which I was going to be teaching an undergraduate seminar on the Odyssey, my father, a retired research scientist who was then aged eighty-one, asked me, for reasons I thought I understood at the time, if he might sit in on the course, and I said yes. Once a week for the next sixteen weeks he would make the trip between the house in the Long Island suburbs where I grew up, a modest split-level in which he still lived with my mother, to the riverside campus of the small college where I teach, which is called Bard. At ten past ten each Friday morning, he would take a seat among the freshmen who were enrolled in the course, seventeen- or eighteen-year-olds not even a quarter of his age, and join in the discussion of this old poem, an epic about long journeys and long marriages and what it means to yearn for home. 


From An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic by Daniel Mendelsohn ©2017. Published by McClelland & Stewart.

Author interviews

In his memoir "An Odyssey," American writer and critic Daniel Mendelsohn gives an account of what happened when his elderly father sat in on his university seminar on Homer’s epic poem. 52:08

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