Odysseus: A Life

Written by Charles Rowan Beye
Review by Juliet Waldron

In Odysseus: A Life, acclaimed classical scholar and professor emeritus at the City University of New York Charles Rowan Beye creates a “biography” of Homer’s famous hero, the trickster hero and legendary traveler. Using a myriad of ancient texts, most notably of course, The Iliad and The Odyssey, Mr. Beye has constructed a chronological “life” of this archetypical figure, complete with notes and a glossary to help the reader with the extensive cast of characters, both human and divine. Throughout, the author weaves informative material on the life and customs of the second millennium B.C.E., the time in which Bronze Age stories derived from a long-standing oral tradition were finally formalized in writing. This unusual and accessible study would be particularly worthwhile for modern students wrestling with the original.