Beginning with Margaret Atwood's novella The Penelopiad and its staging in regional and experimental theaters in Canada, the U.K., and around the world, this essay traces a long history of network mediation for the Odyssey, beginning with the performative decisions made by itinerant rhapsodes, who variously selected, arranged, and circulated the Homeric epics in ancient Greece, and extending well into the twenty-first century, in the self-conscious invocations of the Odyssey by filmmakers such as the Coen Brothers and Richard Linklater. Crowdsourcing, the unruly and never-ending input from masses of people, is the morphological ground of the epic, an art form energized by its downward percolations. Penelope, that infinitely patient and longsuffering wife, becomes a variety of things as a result, much changed since Homer's times. In the hands of Atwood, she shares the stage with her twelve maids.
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Wai Chee Dimock; Crowdsourcing Penelope: Margaret Atwood, the Coen Brothers, Richard Linklater. Comparative Literature 1 September 2015; 67 (3): 319–332. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00104124-3137243
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