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Arethusa 35.1 (2002) 1-2

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Martha Malamud

Chacun de nous . . . rencontre, au début de sa course, un monstre qui dresse devant lui telle énigme qui nous puisse empêcher d'avancer.

André Gide, Oedipe1

This issue of Arethusa is a "special issue" in more than one way. It gathers together articles from a distinguished group of international Homeric scholars, continuing Arethusa's long-standing tradition of publishing volumes comprised of articles devoted to a particular theme, in this case, Epos and Mythos: Language and Narrative in Homeric Epic. It is special in another way, though, for it is our chance to honor John J. Peradotto, who served Arethusa first as associate editor for seven years and then as editor-in-chief for another twenty. Jack was there at the birth of Arethusa in 1968, when he was a member of the founding editorial board under Arethusa's first editor-in-chief, Charles Garton. J. P. Sullivan served next, and was succeeded by Jack, who held the post from 1975 until 1995. He remains an associate editor.

Like the proverbial mother bear who licks her cubs into shape, Jack guided the growth and development of Arethusa. It became a venue for scholarship that, certainly in the early years of the journal, would have had a hard time finding a place in other classics journals. Feminist scholarship, Marxist criticism, structuralism and post-structuralism, Bakhtinian dialogics, critical theory--these and other forms of scholarship to which classics [End Page 1] proved resistant for many years found a home in, and a voice through, Arethusa when there was nowhere else to go. As Jack himself remarked, "Some people friendly to the mission of Arethusa, and even some not so friendly, have said that it required some rebelliousness to take the risks that resulted in the kind of history the journal has had." That streak of rebelliousness, a disciplined mind, and endless curiosity are the hallmarks of Jack Peradotto's editorship of Arethusa.

The same qualities inform his own scholarship, which the papers assembled in this volume celebrate. Always lucidly written and rigorously logical, his articles and books have influenced a whole generation of scholars and helped shape our critical discourse, particularly in the area that this volume represents, Homeric studies. His 1990 book, Man in the Middle Voice: Name and Narration in the Odyssey, reflects his fascination with language and meaning, and has been widely reviewed and even more widely cited. That it has, on occasion, been singled out for attack is itself a sign of its influence and centrality to the field.

On April 14 and 15, 2000, a conference, Epos and Mythos, was held at the University at Buffalo to honor Jack Peradotto's scholarship; the papers in this volume originated at that conference. Scholars from a wide range of backgrounds, representing a broad spectrum of methodological approaches to the Homeric epics, came together to focus on two of Jack's long-standing interests: language and narrative. Linguistic analysis, anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, narratology, Dumézil's tri-partite theory of Indo-European societies, and post-structuralism--a variety of approaches are deployed to analyze key issues in Homeric epic: prophecy, theology, social structure, kinship ties, character and persona, truth and fiction. The papers in this collection, in all their variety, are an appropriate tribute to the wide-ranging intellectual curiosity, the erudition, the discipline, and the subtle wit of Jack Peradotto's scholarship. Lector, laetaberis.


1 The Sphinx and the enigma it embodies are a recurring theme in Jack Peradotto's work and thought. I borrowed this quotation from his website,



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