Why Homer Matters

Overview

In this passionate, deeply personal book, Adam Nicolson explains why Homer matters?to him, to you, to the world?in a text full of twists, turns and surprises

In a spectacular journey through mythical and modern landscapes, Adam Nicolson explores the places forever haunted by their Homeric heroes. From Sicily, awash with wildflowers shadowed by Italy's largest oil refinery, to Ithaca, southern Spain, and the mountains on the edges of Andalusia and Extremadura, to the deserted, ...

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Why Homer Matters

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Overview

In this passionate, deeply personal book, Adam Nicolson explains why Homer matters—to him, to you, to the world—in a text full of twists, turns and surprises

In a spectacular journey through mythical and modern landscapes, Adam Nicolson explores the places forever haunted by their Homeric heroes. From Sicily, awash with wildflowers shadowed by Italy's largest oil refinery, to Ithaca, southern Spain, and the mountains on the edges of Andalusia and Extremadura, to the deserted, irradiated steppes of Chernobyl, where Homeric warriors still lie under the tumuli, unexcavated. This is a world of springs and drought, seas and cities, with not a tourist in sight. And all sewn together by the poems themselves and their great metaphors of life and suffering.

Showing us the real roots of Homeric consciousness, the physical environment that fills the gaps between the words of the poems themselves, Nicolson’s is itself a Homeric journey. A wandering meditation on lost worlds, our interconnectedness with our ancestors, and the surroundings we share. This is the original meeting of place and mind, our empathy with the past, our landscape as our drama.

Following the acclaimed Gentry, which established him as one of the great landscape writers working today, Nicolson takes Homer’s poems back to their source: beneath the distant, god-inhabited mountains, on the Trojan plains above the graves of the heroic dead, we find afresh the foundation level of human experience on earth.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[A] gracefully written and deeply informed book…Nicolson's spirited exploration illuminates our own indelible past."—Kirkus, starred review

"In this passionate, deeply personal book, Nicolson explains why Homer matters—to him, to you, to the world—in a text full of twists, turns, and surprises."—Publishers Weekly

"There is no better explicator of life, of art, and the process by which we experience both than Adam Nicolson. In Why Homer Matters, he is at his eloquent and rapturous best. Through the prism of this great poet, Nicolson has crafted a kind of metaphysical guidebook on how to lead a meaningful life in in a world of terrifying and wondrous change."—Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea and Bunker Hill 

"Seldom have I been so moved, inspired, informed and delighted as by Adam Nicolson’s elegant explanation of why Homer—so long forgotten in the school-time haze—is so vitally important as a lifetime vade mecum. The author must be one of the last true polymaths standing: his writings—this new book above all—give pleasure beyond compare."—Simon Winchester, author of The Professor and the Madman and The Men Who United the States

"Adam Nicolson’s books are like beautiful shells encountered in the sand: delicate, rare and wonderful. [Why Homer Matters] is a moving personal musing on Homer—on what he has to say to us today about life and about ourselves."—Alexander McCall Smith, Daily Mail

"Erudite, far-ranging in time and space, and provocative ... This rich and adventurous book is Nicolson's own odyssey, a wide-eyed ramble around the ancient world and through the centuries ... Nicolson's enthusiasm [is] enriching and his examination of the character of the two epics acute and fascinating."—Allan Massie, Literary Review

Library Journal
06/01/2014
The Fifth Baron Carnock, grandson of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson, Nicolson argues that Homer's verse continues to resonate because it shows us how deeply connected we remain to our ancestors and to worlds seemingly lost. He does so partly by revisiting the many landscapes Homer visited in verse, from once-fragrant Sicily, where oil refineries grind away, to the Balkans, where oral poetry persists, to empty Chernobyl. Evidently, it was not for nothing that Nicolson won the 2009 Ondaatje Prize (for Sissinghurst), awarded for any work successfully evoking the spirit of a place.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781627791793
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/18/2014
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,244,830
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Adam Nicolson

Adam Nicolson writes a celebrated column for The Sunday Telegraph. His books include Sissinghurst, God’s Secretaries, When God Spoke English, Wetland, Life in the Somerset Levels, Perch Hill, Restoration, and the acclaimed Gentry. He is winner of the Somerset Maugham Award and the British Topography Prize and lives on a farm in Sussex.

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