Homer / Edition 1

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Overview

The earliest and greatest works of Greek literature - the Iliad and the Odyssey - have been attributed since antiquity to the poet Homer. This concise book is an ideal introduction to the poet and his two great epics. Assuming no prior knowledge of Greek, the author supplies all the background information necessary to understand the poems.

The book presents an overview of the "Homeric question," considering the authorship, composition, and transmission of the poems. It provides the historical background to the epics, literary readings of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and an analysis of the poet's plotting, narrative technique, and characterization. The author uses comparisions between the two poems to illustrate Homeric poetics.

A final section reviews the important secondary literature on Homer and offers a guide to further reading. Throughout, the author makes use of his own original research, especially on the relations between Greek alphabetic writing and the origins of Greek literature.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Remains the substantial and erudite introduction that it was on first printing. Powell writes with confidence, elegance, and a brisk tone, which means that the book, though aimed at an audience of specialists and non-specialists alike, is still a pleasure for the professional Homerist to read. Powell's book does a superb job of covering a wide range of relevant material, while remaining an entertaining and engaging walk through the state of the art of Homeric scholarship at the opening of the twenty-first century.” New England Classical Journal

Praise for the first edition:

“Powell admirably wrestles an almost impossible amount of material into a coherent presentation for his target audience ... It is well written in a clear and accessible style. Honest in his aims, Powell admirably introduces the genius and challenge of the Homeric works.”
Bryn Mawr Classical Review

“The book has a refreshingly personal touch ... Powell succeeds very well in making Homer’s poetry and Homeric problems appealing to his intended readers.”
Classical Bulletin

“Powell offers an impressive introduction to Homer, focusing on the epic texts for which he is known, the Iliad and the Odyssey … Highly recommended.”
Library Journal

“…this is a useful book as it introduces a wide range of topics with clarity…will certainly inspire readers to pursue the further study of Homer.”
Bryn Mawr Classical Review, February 2008

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Barry B. Powell is Halls-Bascom Professor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His previous publications include Homer and the Origin of the Greek Alphabet (1991), A Short Introduction to Classical Myth (2001), Writing and the Origins of Greek Literature (2002), Classical Myth (fourth edition, 2004), and The Greeks: History, Culture, and Society (with Ian Morris, 2005).

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Table of Contents

Chronological Chart.

Preface to the Second Edition.

Preface to the First Edition.

Introduction.

Part I: Background:.

1. The Philologist’s Homer.

2. The Historian’s Homer.

3. The Reader’s Homer.

Part II. The Poems:.

4. The Iliad.

5. The Odyssey.

6. Conclusion and Summary: Homer's Complementary Poems.

Part III: Reception:.

7. Homer and The Philosophers.

8. Homer and The Poets.

Notes.

Appendix: For Further Reading.

Index

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