Homer’s Odyssey in Greece


Kayaking near Agistri

This travel study was first run 1 to 8 May 2018, and is currently on offer for May 2020.

We are excited to expand the studies by offering retreats that place participants in locales that reflect and expand the literature. By taking participants to beautiful places, the London Literary Saslon retreat offers a more intensive immersion in the book while opening the mind to a part of the world illuminated through the beauty of the language.

The Greek Odyssey study for May 2019 will use Homer’s epic poem to consider closely the guest-host relationship, the defining struggle of humans against overwhelming nature, the struggle to know ourselves in foreign spaces, our understanding of the heroic and the role of myth and epic in lived experience. Actor Jane Wymark and Poet Caroline Hammond will be assisting Salon Director Toby Brothers in this week-long study, sharing their insights into the spoken word, metre and translation.  In an era where the epic poem is in eclipse, the novel and film having taken over as the preferred vehicles for  complex narratives, we will explore aspects of the Odyssey as a work in the oral tradition.

We have found the perfect site to host this study providing the ideal combination of a local space run by someone who understands our mission & can provide us room & board that has some cultural and adventure offerings — and is easy to access. We will be staying at Rosy’s Village on the stunning island of Agistri. The study is scheduled for the 1st to the 8th of May 2019.


  • Facilitated by Toby Brothers, Jane Wymark and Caroline Donnelly
  • May 1st-8th 2019; approx. five to six hours per day (one afternoon open) leaving time for other activities (optional kayaking adventure and trip to The Pidavros theatre or Temple of Aphasia)
  • Two preparatory meetings in London
  • Recommended edition: The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles AND the Emily Wilson translation

About the epic. . .     

The Salon has certainly been a place to re-discover- or discover for the first time – the works that form the cornerstones of Western literary tradition. The Odyssey is a root for our understanding of ourselves as well as the words and ways of the ancients. How does it continue to shape our idea of the heroic? What do the dilemmas that Odysseus faces offer to us today? Can we still appreciate the lyric and narrative quality alongside a violent story filled with the suffering and death of nameless servants, slave girls and soldiers?

Many artists have used The Odyssey as an inspiration for their work as Joyce does with Ulysses and the Coen brothers did for their film(winning an Oscar for the best screenplay adaptation from Homer’s original)…the epic struggle to return home and exploration of the guest/relationship remain relevant across time.

David Denby, in his work Great Books, describes his engagement with The Odyssey as an essential exploration of the formation of the self for the reader as well as for Telemachus and Odysseus: “Even at the beginning of the literary tradition of the West, the self has masks, and remakes itself as a fiction and not as a guiltless fiction either. . .

The Odyssey is an after-the-war poem, a plea for relief and gratification, and it turns, at times, into a sensual, even carnal celebration.”

Further reading : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10833515/Alice-Oswald-how-to-read-Homer.html

If you would like to request this study or have any questions about it, please contact us.


Posted on

December 12, 2018