The Odyssey is rightly celebrated as a story that goes far beyond the scope of epic poetry. It is an open window to an entire era and its social systems as well as its theological, cultural, economic and political structures, while running simultaneously in the register of the earthly and of the divine. Within The Odyssey, the episode of the Sirens stands out as an exceptionally evocative example of this kind of achievement. This volume is dedicated to exploring the myriad levels of analysis that are allowed by this famous episode, following in the footsteps of celebrated readers of The Odyssey such as Adorno, Horkheimer, Lukàcs, Auerbach, Kerény, Bloch, Auden, Pound, Tolstoj, Elster and Steiner. By looking at the brief encounter between Ulysses and the Sirens, the reader of this volume will discover the roots of our modern concept of middle class rationality and its profound ramifications stretching between economy, politics, and the divine.
Ruggero D’Alessandro lives in Switzerland, teaches the Italian language to migrants, and is Visiting Professor at the University of Varese and Sapienza University in Rome. He is the author of 21 monographs and 4 novels. His work has been translated into English, French and German, and his research is focused on sociology, history of culture and intellectuals, contemporary history, and political science.