Just a short post today:
You may have noticed that when I gave clips of the beginnings of many translations of The Odyssey, I did not include the words Stanley Lombardo uses in the first paragraph of his translation.
Of the cunning hero,
The wanderer, blown off course time and again
After he plundered Troy's sacred heights.
Lombardo replaces the more traditional "muse" with "memory"--a choice that translates not only Homer's words but his meaning into a modern idiom. Instead of an external supernatural figure shaping the text, the story emerges from within: from Homer's memories, from our memories. The phrase also emphasizes the importance of the preservation of memory in the Odysseus's story. Lombardo takes the words from the title of Nabokov's memoir. Fascinatingly, it is a phrase which Nabokov uses partially in reference to Homer. (The echo of an echo makes me feel like I am opening a series of Russian dolls.)
Lombardo makes another modern reference in his choice of cover art. We see NASA's "Earthrise"--a picture taken by astronauts on an Apollo mission as they looked back from space to our planet. The image reminds us how much our world calls to us even when we seem unbelievably far from home. It also emphasizes how much we are pulled away from home by the idea of journey--that is, that we feel the pull to make our own odysseys.