The World of Odysseus

The World of Odysseus

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Who was Homer? When were the Iliad and Odyssey composed? What were Odysseus', Achilles, and Hector's beliefs about government, religion, and class? In this introduction to the Iliad and Odyssey, the author uses both the texts and the latest research material to reconstruct the Homeric age.

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  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 137 x 218 x 14mm | 216g
  • 02 Sep 1999
  • VINTAGE
  • PIMLICO
  • London
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • illustrations
  • 0712665730
  • 9780712665735

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Review text

Interest in Homer, to whom The Iliad and The Odyssey have been rightly or wrongly attributed, persists perhaps chiefly to scholars and literatures- but even to a lay public since he is a supremely good story teller. But what kind of a world did the heroes of these great poems inhabit? This is the question that Dr. Finley, with scholarly patience, attempts to answer here. Who was Homer? Was he one man, two, or several? Where was the Trojan War? What did the Greek heroes do when they were not engaged in fighting, what kind of a social order prevailed, what were their standards of personal honor, what were their attitudes toward women? These are answered here, not only from a close reading of the poems, but from a wealth of knowledge of pertinent texts. Dr. Finley writes with modesty, care, and intelligence, and as Mark Van Doren points out in his Foreword, "reminds us that Homer, like Shakespeare after him, set his imagination free in a world that was earlier than his own but by no means discontinuous with it". This is a book primarily for scholars and students of Greek civilization. But it brings into focus the realities of that bygone time with great simplicity and even greater interest which should contact a public beyond the academic field. (Kirkus Reviews)

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