"The Odyssey’s Millennia-Old Model of Mentorship" an interview with Gregory Nagy

Professor Nagy recently gave an interview to The Atlantic Magazine entitled “The Odyssey’s Millennia-Old Model of Mentorship.”

Homer’s The Odyssey chronicles Odysseus’s journey home in the years following the Trojan War. As he is making his way back, the goddess Athena appears to his son, Telemachus, in the form of an old family friend, Mentor, to offer him support and guidance in his father’s absence. Their interactions in The Odyssey represent one of the earliest antecedents of the word mentorship.

The challenges that Telemachus was facing—he needed to fend off the men trying to take over his home and seduce his mother—were quite different from the sorts of things a 21st-century professional might encounter. But Gregory Nagy, a classics professor at Harvard University, says that the bond between Telemachus and his “mentor” is still relevant. For The Atlantic’s series, “On the Shoulders of Giants,” I talked to Nagy about what the story of the original Mentor reveals about understandings of personal and professional guidance even thousands of years later.

Continue reading the interview here, on the dedicated webpage. The Atlantic covers news and analysis on politics, business, culture, technology, national, international and life on the official site of The Atlantic Magazine.

An illustration based on Homer’s The Odyssey, by the painter Marc Chagall. Credit: The Atlantic, 2017.