Matteo Nucci
Achille e Odisseo. La ferocia e l’inganno (Achilles and Odysseus. Ferocity and Deception)
Einaudi, an essay, May 2020, 220 pages

What does it mean to be human? Throwing yourself headlong against obstacles at the cost of death, or planning every move wisely? Chasing the truth, or manipulating it? To be Achilles, or Odysseus?

Since ancient times, Odysseus and Achilles have been considered the paradigms of two antithetical ways of facing life. On the one hand, a flexible intelligence, capable of adapting to circumstances to bypass obstacles. On the other hand, the ferocity of those who claim to shape reality. Odysseus knows how to wait, how to endure, just to save himself. Not Achilles: he consumes the moment, and devours his own existence. Because he is too frank, instinctive, choleric, at least as Odysseus is prudent, strategic and deceptive. The one facing the future, the other focused on the present, they are both unable to deal with the past. 

Unlike the invincible superheroes of our times, Homeric heroes are truly human, with their frailties and weaknesses. What is heroism, if not living fully your mortal condition? Through the gaze of Achilles and Odysseus, Nucci explores two different views of the present world. Is it acceptable to lie for a good cause? How can we prevent fear of failure from paralyzing us? When is it time to plan, and when to live to the fullest?

The choice is yours: you can confront with the sea like Odysseus, who, as a sailor, observes it and tries to predict the weather and the currents; or instead, like Achilles, you can plunge into the sea and let the waves carry you, living in the moment.

With an engaging narrative, Matteo Nucci reveals the eternal dimension of the two great Homeric heroes: opposite human models that go beyond the myth.

Matteo Nucci

Matteo Nucci

Matteo Nucci was born in Rome. He studied ancient philosophy, published essays on Empedocles, Socrates and Plato, and a new edition of Plato’s Symposium. He wrote Sono comuni le cose degli amici (2009), which was shortlisted for Premio Strega, Il toro non sbaglia mai (2011), Le lacrime degli eroi (2013), È giusto obbedire alla notte (2017), selected for the Premio Strega 2017, and L’abisso di Eros – Seduzione (2018). His short stories appeared in anthologies and magazines (such as Il Caffè Illustrato and Nuovi Argomenti) and he is a contributor to Il Venerdì di Repubblica and Il Messaggero. He’s one of the authors of the anthologies The Passenger – Grecia (2019), La caduta dei campioni (2020) and The Passenger – Roma (2021). His most recent books are Achille e Odisseo. La ferocia e l’inganno (2020) and Viaggio nella Grecia d’Italia (2020).



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