I came to Hesiod's "Theogony," & "Works and Days," with no previous knowledge. I have been reading Harold Bloom's list of important works, and Hesiod was the next author on Bloom's lengthy recommended reading list. I bought the LOEB version because I have found its translations to have (to my uneducated mind) the appearance of a more literal translation; not to mention the books are published by Harvard, a fact which lends credibility to the produced works (at least to this reader's mind). The volume in question begins with a masterful introduction, with a lengthy bibliography of important academic works on Hesiod's writings. I found myself continually referring back to the introduction as I got hung up on some of Hesiod's ideas. The introduction was invaluable in that regards.
The LOEB volume begins with "Theogony," or the story of how the Greek gods came to be. Theogony contains more than just stories of the gods but it was that theme that seemed most prominent. "Works and Days" follows immediately, and contains Hesiod's quotidian life-advice to his brother Perses. The advice contains thoughts on economics, farming, sea-faring, worship, and justice. Like all ethical treatises, "Works and Days'" principles should be understood within the historical context of the author. The part of this LOEB volume is called "Testimonia." This section is not a translation of a completed work but an amalgamation of Greek and Latin authors' comments on Hesiod, his life, writings, death, poetry, philosophy and religion. "Testimonia" was my favorite part of the book.
After finishing this volume I asked myself, "are these two Hesiodian works justified as part of a western canon?" I struggled a bit with this one. Reading "Testimonia" helped demonstrate the importance that the Greek and Latin writers placed on Hesiod's writings. The fact that Plato took the time to criticize some of Hesiod's ideas would seem to justify reading this volume. As far as page-turning books go, this is not one of them; yet, a propensity to "page-turning" in no wise makes a book worthy in and of itself. Were I not reading chronologically I do not believe I would recommend these two works. I see their importance in helping to give birth to more books, and poetry but for this reader they do not stand independently as "great works." Should further study and reading persuade me otherwise, I cannot say. I would be willing to change my opinion in the future about "Theogony" and "Works and Days" as great works. but I will have to read much more to reach such a conclusion. If you, like I, have been reading chronologically beginning with Gilgamesh, I would recommend reading Hesiod's writings, as found in this LOEB edition.