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The Many-Minded ManThe "Odyssey," Psychology, and the Therapy of Epic$
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Joel P. Christensen

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501752346

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501752346.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
(p.iii) The Many-Minded Man

Joel P. Christensen

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of Homer's Odyssey. It is no secret that the Odyssey relates more than a simple tale of a journey home; it is about the re-creation of a man and an investigation into what comprises an identity. Odysseus is marked out as a suffering figure from the beginning of the epic — his story is both figuratively and literally about pain experienced for the sake of pursuing and obtaining a return home. In a way, his state echoes or even anticipates the modern term nostalgia, once an official psychopathological diagnosis. Narratives about the past that convey nostalgia can similarly have positive and negative outcomes. Storytelling in the Odyssey, as many have shown, is a type of intoxication that has the potential to harm and to prevent one from achieving an actual homecoming. The book explores Homeric analogs for modern psychological theories or frameworks and their effect on the structure of the epic.

Keywords:   Homer, Odyssey, identity, Odysseus, nostalgia, homecoming, psychological theories, epic

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