Piero Boitani

Ulysses and the Stars

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Ulysses; Stars; Poetry; Astronomy.

From Homer to Wallace Stevens a singular meeting between Ulysses and the stars marks the history of Western poetry and Western views of the universe. The hero of the "Odyssey" is the first fictional character who sails following the stars, but this posture is repeated, with a hundred significant variations, in the story of Dante's Ulysses as well as in Amerigo Vespucci's letters and in Keats's sonnet "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer". Piero Boitani explores the scientific and literary meanings of this conjunction, showing that the division between the 'two cultures' is entirely false.

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