This article is a commentary on Friedrich Kittler's “In the Wake of the Odyssey.” Kittler reads Homer as a cultural-technological program for later historical development and finds later authors such as Virgil and Dante inferior to Homer. Kittler's “Wake” rehearses on a smaller scale arguments made in his late work Music and Mathematics. His work is seen as determined by two movements of excursion, going out to the exotic, whether North American or Mediterranean, and recursion, meaning the closure of mathematical or logical systems. Yet recursion, in Kittler, turns out to be more a rhetorical figure than a function.
Excursions and Recursions: Kittler's Homeric Wake
Larson Powell is associate professor of German, University of Missouri–Kansas City. His first book was on modern German poetry; a second, on post-1945 electronic media art, is completed; and a third, on Konrad Wolf, is in progress. He has published and lectured on film and literature, media theory, and musicology and philosophical aesthetics. Recent publications include contributions to the Adorno-Handbuch (Adorno Handbook; 2011).