Monday, November 27, 2006


Odysseus, Frodo, and James Bond

Yesterday I read the first five chapters of Robert Bittlestone, Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer's Ithaca (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). One thesis of the book is that "Homer wanted his Ithacan listeners to identify with these stories by basing them on actual locations that were personally known to them" (p. 20). Bittlestone (pp. 14-15) contrasts Tolkein's Lord of the Rings, in which everything is invented, including the topography, with Ian Fleming's Bond stories, in which the hero performs his fictional feats amid geographically accurate locations. In this respect, suggests Bittlestone, Odysseus is more like James Bond than Frodo.

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