NEW! Afternoon Seminar on the Odyssey

We are excited to announce that because of the high interest in this seminar, the first section is full and we have opened a second section! Emanuelle Burton will lead the new section; she returns to Toronto after leading Who Gets to Be Human? at Toronto Pursuits 2018. 

Homer’s tale of the wandering Odysseus and his quest to return home from the Trojan War has captured imaginations for over two and a half millennia.

In his ten-year struggle to return to his wife and family on his beloved island of Ithaka, Odysseus roams to the edges of the world and confronts dangers and temptations both natural and supernatural. The giant man-eating Cyclops, the captivating call of the Sirens, the enchantments of the sorceress Circe, the dual menaces of Scylla and Charybdis, and the relentless anger of the sea-god Poseidon all threaten to keep him from returning home to reclaim his place as king, husband, and father.

Throughout his travails, Odysseus relies on courage, perseverance, cunning, and craft, as his character is tested and seasoned. At once a story of the exceptional and the universal, the Odyssey weaves together themes of travel and hospitality, loyalty and persistence, wit and deception, growth and self-knowledge, marriage, family, and the longing for home.

In this afternoon seminar, we will read Emily Wilson’s new and occasionally provocative translation of the Odyssey, that promises to show a more fully rounded Odysseus than ever before and bring new insight into Homer’s female characters.

Note bene: This seminar on the Odyssey meets from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. during the week of Toronto Pursuits. The cost is C$200 for those already signed up for the full Toronto Pursuits program and C$400 for those taking the seminar as a standalone option. The standalone option includes the seminar and all evening activities with the exception of the concert. It does not include lunch or afternoon activities. See the main Toronto Pursuits page for full details on dates, costs, and registration.

“Tell me about a complicated man.”

– Emily Wilson’s translation of the Odyssey



Mark Cwik is the education manager for Classical Pursuits. He is a longtime Toronto Pursuits leader and has been a seminar leader and organizer of community-based adult great books discussion groups for 25 years. He lives in London, England, where he leads seminars with the London Literary Salon.

Emanuelle Burton teaches and writes at the intersection of literature, ethics, and the history of ideas. She is the organizer of Transformations of Canon, which brings together experts in religion and fandom to think about narrative transformations of canonical texts, and she is working with computer scientists on a science fiction–based ethics curriculum. She is writing a book on Aristotelian moral development in the Chronicles of Narnia.

The Odyssey by Homer,
translated by Emily Wilson
(W.W. Norton, 2018)
ISBN-13: 978-0393356250

Participants are required to obtain the specified edition to facilitate the group’s ability to find and cite portions of the text during discussion. Details will be provided at registration.


Ask a Question

Back to Toronto Pursuits Main Page

Toronto Pursuits 2019