Why Homer Matters

Why Homer Matters

Hardback

By (author) Adam Nicolson

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  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
  • Format: Hardback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 163mm x 239mm x 33mm | 431g
  • Publication date: 5 December 2014
  • ISBN 10: 1627791795
  • ISBN 13: 9781627791793
  • Sales rank: 132,198

Product description

"Adam Nicolson writes popular books as popular books used to be, a breeze rather than a scholarly sweat, but humanely erudite, elegantly written, passionately felt...and his excitement is contagious."--James Wood, "The New Yorker"Adam Nicolson sees the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey" as the foundation myths of Greek--and our--consciousness, collapsing the passage of 4,000 years and making the distant past of the Mediterranean world as immediate to us as the events of our own time."Why Homer Matters" is a magical journey of discovery across wide stretches of the past, sewn together by the poems themselves and their metaphors of life and trouble. Homer's poems occupy, as Adam Nicolson writes "a third space" in the way we relate to the past: not as memory, which lasts no more than three generations, nor as the objective accounts of history, but as epic, invented after memory but before history, poetry which aims "to bind the wounds that time inflicts."The Homeric poems are among the oldest stories we have, drawing on deep roots in the Eurasian steppes beyond the Black Sea​, but emerging at a time around 2000 B.C. when the people who would become the Greeks came south and both clashed and fused with the more sophisticated inhabitants of the Eastern Mediterranean.The poems, which ask the eternal questions about the individual and the community, honor and service, love and war, tell us how we became who we are.

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Author information

Adam Nicolson's books include the "New York Times" bestseller "God's Secretaries," "Sea Room," "Sissinghurst," and "Seamanship." Among his honors are the Somerset Maugham Award, the W. H. Heinemann Prize, and the British Topography Prize; he lives on a farm in Sussex with his wife and their five grown children.

Review quote

"Complex, personal and profound...a brash and brave piece of writing... [Nicolson's] book, filled with the swords and spears that inflict the carnage of the 'Iliad, ' can change the way we see ours." --"Wall Street Journal ""[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"