'Homer and the Discovery of the Pacific', Professor Henry Power Inaugural Lecturelecture Fri 15 Nov 2019, 17:30 – 18:30
Lecture Theatre 1 (LT1)
Queen's Building, University of Exeter, Queen's Drive
Exeter EX4 4QH
Thom Gunn’s ‘The Discovery of the Pacific’ (1970) describes a young couple who have driven across America and reached the Californian coast. Their exhilaration as they stare at the ocean looks back to another moment of epiphany; when John Keats read
George Chapman’s translation of Homer, he felt like a conquistador setting eyes on the Pacific for the first time. Keats’ poem in turn draws on ancient ideas of Homer as being like the ocean—ideas Keats is likely to have picked up from Alexander Pope’s translation of the Homeric poems.
This lecture will look at the way these three poets— Gunn, Keats, and Pope—read and imagine Homer, and at how they speak to each other. It will also ask in what sense reading Homer is like discovering an Ocean.
This lecture will be followed by a drinks reception from 6.30 – 7.30pm in Queen’s Café.
Open to all University of Exeter staff and students only. The lecture is free but booking is essential. To book a space, please RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01392 725244.