discovers sea passes, landscapes and men of a new world. He pushes
back the limits encircling the Greeks in a world they think to be
finite. Historians present him as the advanced representative of a
Greek new age, that of colonial expeditions : a "proto-colonial"
hero. But he is always guided by his aim : the return. His adventures
have not only a meaning, but a direction, the orient to which he sails
: Ithaka, his starting point. Odysseus is indeed a hero of the discovery.
He does not hesitate to order to go farther, always farther. But one
discovers only as far as one is able to come back to relate what one
has learnt, experienced : the explorer who dies at the far end of
the world has not discovered anything. When one comes back, one finds
that all has changed : one's country, one's family and oneself other
Odyseus is in that our contemporary. The limits of our 21th-century
world have been pushed back as far as it is conceivable today. Which
new world shall we have to explore"? We do not know, no more
than Odysseus anticipated what he would meet. Homer offers the Greeks
of his time a new model of hero to think of the future times. The
poet offers us, who have other navigations to make in another new
world, other Ithakas to discover, better than a sumptuous fiction
: an "instruction", as the sailors say."
Le Périple d'Ulysse, 2003, p.389