2016-11-05Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.1515/arcadia-2016-0023
Im Kielwasser des Verschlagenen: Odysseus’ Diskurs zwischen Schreiben und Kartografie
Sprach- und literaturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
A hallmark of the Odyssey’s topography is its deterritorialization. Assuming that, in antiquity, sailing manuals had to reckon with the nautical and existential disorientation experienced on the high seas, these nautical expedients must have been reflected in Homer’s epic. And in fact, technical manuals and poetical imagination, topos and tropus here translate into each other. But if the Odyssey is actually based upon those sailing manuals, then certainly not as a mere versification of their underlying sources. Rather, it discloses their ‘poetic’ character, viz. their creativity in determining and describing places within the ‘placeless’ sea. The Odyssey obviously has recourse to those manuals, but only in order to carry on the proto-cartographic operations of their writing. This principle of ‘recursion’ – harking back to a putative origin, in order to re-determine it in a self-referential way – also characterizes post-Homeric adaptations of the Odyssey. Whether in a Roman epic, or in medieval romance or in a modern novel – in any case, a new ‘original’ Odyssey is created to rely upon. But particularly in the highly reverberatory modern Odyssies, the charts are overstretched, the tools become dysfunctional, and explorations go methodically astray. The more complex modern world-description, the more fatal its shortcomings – as if Odysseus, at the edge of modern cartography, had returned to the state of deterritorialization that spurred his very first departure.
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