24-hour classics event to bring Homer's "Odyssey" to life

Grand Valley students, faculty and staff will perform one of the oldest poems in the western world, Homer’s Odyssey, all within a 24-hour period known as the HOMERathon.

The fifth installation of the Classic Department’s event, themed “Odyssey of the Mind,” begins Tuesday, October 27, at 6:30 p.m. and concludes Wednesday, October 28. All events will take place on the Allendale Campus.

“The HOMERathon is designed to bring the oral performance of the Homeric epics to life and also to connect the poems and their themes to modern life,” said Peter Anderson, Classics Department chair.

To help accomplish this goal, Anderson said this year’s keynote address will be given by Ruth Scodel, the D.R. Shackleton-Bailey Collegiate Professor of Greek and Latin at the University of Michigan. Scodel will present “Reading Other Minds in the Odyssey” when the event beings at 6:30 p.m., October 27, in the Mary Idema Pew Library Multipurpose Room.

“The keynote address will focus on ‘theory of the mind,’ or the ability to attribute mental states to others and to identify their desires and intentions, and Odysseus, who is a mind-knower par excellence,” Anderson said. “One of his special skills is to experience and understand ways of thinking different from his own, and to harness that understanding for his own purposes. The importance of this idea is a critical component of a liberal education.”

Following Scodel’s presentation, students will begin the marathon of poem performances around the Allendale Campus, including near Zumberge Pond, the Cook-DeWitt Center and the Mary Idema Pew Library. Throughout the 24-hour period, there will also be various activities, such as a Homeric-themed scavenger hunt and screening of the Joel and Ethan Coen film, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

For more information, visit www.gvsu.edu/classics or call the Classics Department at (616) 331-3600.


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