The ancient hero's quest for glory offers metaphors for our own struggles to reach personal integrity and wholeness. In this compelling book, Van Nortwick traces the heroic journeys in three seminal works of ancient epic poetry, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer's Iliad, and Virgil's Aeneid. In particular, he focuses on the relationship of the hero to one or more second selves, or alter egos, showing how the poems address central truths about the cost of heroic self-assertion: that the pursuit of glory can lead to alienation from one's own deepest self, and that spiritual wholeness can only be achieved by confronting what appears, at first, to be the very negation of that self. With his unique combination of literary, psychological, and spiritual insights, Van Nortwick demonstrates the relevance of ancient literature to enduring human problems and to contemporary issues.
Somewhere I Have never Travelled will interest anyone who wishes to explore the roots of human behavior and the relationship between life and art.
"I highly recommend [the book] as an engaging and insightful study, of interest both to classicists and students of literature in general....A fluid, readable commentary on the second self in ancient epic."--New England Classical Newsletter & Journal
"Clearly written and well organized; Van Nortwick reads texts closely and frequently draws parallels within and between these epics. His book will prove useful to undergraduates and to teachers beginning their work with these epics."--Choice
"A valuable study that will repay the time spent with it, both by readers interested in the hero's journey as the search for self-realization and by readers who delight in close, insightful, personal readings of three great epics."--Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature
"This books offers a language for analyses that many have been trying to articulate for years. The understanding which the author provides of Achilles' relationship with Hector and Patroclus is exemplary, and the section on the Aeneid
is equally filled with lucid gems....This is a book that will make any reader think, and think hard, about relationships within the text, as well as relationships of a different sort across time. It provides good evidence of the usefulness of modern approaches applied to classical texts, as well as evidence of some of the inherent problems."--The Classical Outlook
"Valuable for every teacher of Vergil in colleges."--Religious Studies Review
"Somewhere I Have Never Travelled
leaves its readers with the impression that Van Nortwick has himself travelled heroically....Not just for psychologists, but for classicists and lay persons as well."--Classical World