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For centuries writers and artists have adapted and transformed Homer's Odyssey in endlessly inventive and surprising ways. Yet the disposition of genders in the poem is seldom altered from its ancient pattern: a man leaves, a woman stays at home and waits until he returns. In her 2007 play, Current Nobody, Melissa Gibson departs from this conventional fidelity to the ancient narrative by rewriting the Odyssey as a twenty-first century family story with a wandering wife and a husband who is left behind. In Gibson's playful tragicomedy, Pen, a female war photographer, leaves her husband, Od, and daughter Tel in order to report on a distant war. Because the story of Odysseus and Penelope is so familiar, Gibson's reversal stresses the ways in which gender interacts with plot. Like the Odyssey, Current Nobody explores the notions of memory and identity that are central to homecoming (or nostos in ancient Greek), but Gibson's gender reversals have the effect of unweaving gendered expectations conditioned by the Homeric source text and its receptions.


Hunter Gardner & Sheila Murnaghan


Ohio State University Press


Columbus, Ohio



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Odyssean Identities in Modern Cultures: The Journey Home

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