After the magical act accomplished by Joyce with Ulysses, perhaps we are getting away from it.
It doesn’t seem to me that anyone has discovered much that’s new since the Iliad or the Odyssey.
To have one’s own story told by a third party who doesn’t know that the character in question is himself the hero of the story being told, that’s a technical refinement.
When Ulysses hears his own story sung by an epic poet and then he reveals his identity and the poet wants to continue singing, Ulysses isn’t interested any longer. That’s very astonishing.
A very great Iliad… concerns the creation of a nation.
Fiction has consisted either of placing imaginary characters in a true story, which is the Iliad, or of presenting the story of an individual as having a general historical value, which is the Odyssey.
It is the creator of fiction’s point of view; it is the character who interests him. Sometimes he wants to convince the reader that the story he is telling is as interesting as universal history.
The Iliad is the private lives of people thrown into disorder by history.
It seems to me that an author who has determined very new domains in literature is Gertrude Stein.
The Odyssey is the story of Americans up to the point where they are well-established, and even so it is detached from the historical side.