NPR contributor Scott Huler read an essay on
show "All Things Considered" in which he made a simple claim: that he
would forever give up trying to read James Joyce's Ulysses. Little did
he know that his public claim not only would land him exactly where he had
promised never to be - in a reading group slogging through Joyce's impenetrable
modern masterpiece - but would launch an obsession with the book's inspiration:
the ancient Greek epic The Odyssey, and with the lonely homebound
journey of its Everyman hero, Odysseus.
At the time of The Odyssey, its hero is in his
mid-forties; so was Huler. Negotiating the complex shoals of midlife, Huler
turned to the Odyssey and found much more than he had expected: in its
well-known adventures with monsters and goddesses, the Odyssey became something of a guidebook for a person facing the challenges we all face in adulthood. Before long Huler wanted to do more than just read his hero. Odysseus made a long journey, and for millennia people have speculated on the Mediterranean sites where those adventures occurred. Seeking such heroic adventure, Huler stuffed a
backpack with clothes, guidebooks, and the Odyssey. And he headed for
the wine-dark sea.
Click here to see Scott's own photos of his epic journey.
Click here to see Scott's well-traveled copy of The Odyssey.
Click here to see what Scott brought back.
An illustrated map of his journey can be found here.
Listen to the NPR
commentary that started it all where Scott Huler officially gives up on Ulysses.
commentary, Scott Huler finds himself, against his better judgment, "Stuck in Dublin with the Bloomsday Blues."