Byron on Ithaka

waiter Frikes 817 2.JPG(Frikes, Ithaka, last summer)

This summer, in the Ionian islands, Ithaka was the most faraway place we visited. I read in John Freely’s book on the islands that Byron went there twice. The first time, around 1810, he wrote ‘If this island belonged to me, I would bury all my books here and never go away’. His second visit was in 1823. According to Edward John Trelawney, ‘It was proposed to visit some of the locations that antiquarians have dubbed with the title of Homer’s school, Ulysses’ stronghold, etc.: he [Byron] turned peevishly away, saying to me, “Do I look like one of those emasculated fogies? Let’s have a swim. I detest antiquarian twaddle. Do people think I have no lucid intervals?”’

For my part I was so concerned with looking in vain for Venetian remnants (and, to be fair, on eating and swimming) that I didn’t bother at all about Ulysses. I regret it.

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Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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