This injunction applies largely to those who have read Homestuck but are less familiar with Classical literature and scholarship.
“Epic Gaming: Fate and Narrative in Homer and Homestuck” is a third-year undergraduate dissertation written in spring 2020 for my degree in Classics. In abstract, it is an analysis of the narrative structure of the Iliad as it relates to fate and the role of storytelling within the epic, examined through the lens of ideas about metatextuality and narrative explored in the webcomic Homestuck. It is not a straightforward comparison between the two texts, nor does it analyse every similarity between them (there are many) in depth. The work assumes that you are familiar with the Iliad and with certain aspects of Classical literary scholarship but unfamiliar with Homestuck, which I doubt will be the case for most of the people whom I imagine will read it.
It is not primarily a piece of Homestuck analysis, and was written for Homeric scholars to mark (which they did, very favourably) rather than for Homestuck fans to read. It was also written under a demanding word limit (10,000 including footnotes) and during the difficult and distressing period of the first few weeks of the 2020 Covid-19 UK lockdown. I want to make this clear because I want people to be aware that I could not write anything about Homestuck here which did not directly apply to the Iliad or to my argument. Those who are familiar with the webcomic may feel that some ideas I discuss have been simplified, and some important topics left out. I can assure you that I recognise this myself, and I can only say that setting out to write about Homestuck and ancient epic would have come out very differently if I hadn’t been doing it as part of my degree.
Most crucially, I would like people to bear in mind that I do not aim to offer an in-depth analysis of any character beyond their role in shaping the plot. If I could go back and make different choices at a far earlier stage in the development of this piece, I would rethink my discussion of Vriska’s character in a purely narrative-structural sense. I make little to no mention of the complexities of her narrative which relate to trauma, Doc Scratch, Alternian society, and gender. All of these things could be discussed in comparison to the Iliadic Achilles, but I failed to find a place for them in the overarching (and limited) argument I eventually took. I say this because Vriska is a highly complex and divisive character, and I do not believe that any extended analysis of her story which leaves out these aforementioned topics can give us a complete and satisfactory idea of the role she plays in the text. I stand by what I have said about her in this thesis, but I wish I had said more.
If you have any comments or questions about this work, you can contact me on social media (links on homepage and about section) or leave a comment on the Archive of Our Own listing - which you can do without making an account on the site.
There are some minor differences between this text and the one I submitted, which will be recorded here. Perhaps one day I’ll upload the original PDF to academia.edu, but for now I’m more comfortable hosting the work myself.
Bassi, K. (2014). Homer’s Achaean wall and the hypothetical past. In V. Wohl (Ed.), Probabilities, Hypotheticals, and Counterfactuals in Ancient Greek Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 122-141.
Brooks, P. (1984). Reading for the Plot. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Carson, A. (1988). Eros the Bittersweet. Princeton, N.J.: Dalkey Archive.
Greszes, S. (2018). Shitposting is an art, if history is any indication. Polygon.
Hussie, A. (2009). Homestuck. Accessed 08.05.2020.
Hussie, A. (2018). Homestuck: Book 1: Act 1 & Act 2. Viz Media.
Hussie, A. (2018). Homestuck: Book 2: Act 3 & Intermission. Viz Media.
Hussie, A. (2018). Homestuck: Book 3: Act 4. Viz Media.
Hussie, A. (2019). Homestuck: Book 4: Act 5 Act 1. Viz Media
Hussie, A. (2019). Homestuck: Book 5: Act 5 Act 2 Part 1. Viz Media.
Homer, Iliad. Tr. A.T. Murray; Revised by W. F. Wyatt. (1999). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Kozak, L. (2016). Experiencing Hektor. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
Lowe, N.J. (2000). The Classical Plot and the Invention of Western Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Martin, R. P. (1989). The Language of Heroes: Speech and Performance in the Iliad. London: Cornell University Press.
Mellier, D. (2017). World Building and Metafiction in Contemporary Comic Books: Metalepsis and Figurative Process of Graphic Fiction. In Boni, M. (Ed.), World Building. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. 304-318.
Parry, M. (1971). The making of Homeric verse: the collected papers of Milman Parry. Edited by Parry A. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Redfield, J. (1975). Nature and Culture in the Iliad. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Schein, S.L. (1984). The Mortal Hero. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Whitmarsh, T. (2013). Radical Cognition: Metalepsis in Ancient Greek Drama. Greece & Rome, 60 (1), second series, 4-16.
Wilson, J. (2007). Homer and the Will of Zeus. College Literature, 34 (2), 150-173.
Veale, K. (2019). ‘Friendship isn’t an emotion fucknuts’: Manipulating affective materiality to shape the experience of Homestuck’s story. Convergence, 25 (5–6), 1027–1043.
Vernant, J. & Vidal-Naquet, P. Tr. Lloyd, J. (1990). Myth and Tragedy in Ancient Greece. New York: Zone Books.