This is a great book; indispensably helpful in adding to a deeper understanding of the Iliad (but also of the Odyssey to which references are made, tying the works of Homer together in a broader perspective).
The first part of the book covers aspects of Homeric poetry: 1. The Bard, oral poetry, and our present text 2. Narrative: the poet's voice 3. Language 4. Meter and formulae 5. Word order and emphasis 6. Story patterns and Use of Myth 7. Type-Scenes and expansion 8. Battle scenes 9. Description 10. Speeches, soliloquies, and characterisation 11. Paradigms and aphorisms 12. Similes 13. Metaphors 14. Symbolism 15. Sound 16. Word play and significant names 17. Gods, fate and mortality 18. Personification and psychology 19. Honour, proper behavior and warfare 20. History and society
The second part of the book offers really great in-depth commentaries on almost all the books of the Iliad - Books 1, 3, 6, 9, 13, 14, 16, 18, 22 and 24 are covered in great detail. The other books are not ignored, but are covered in briefer opening statements of the following books - so Book 2 is covered in the preliminary part of the indepth commentary on Book 3 and so forth. This offers a really helpful way to cover what are the most important parts of the poem in greater detail, yet nothing is ignored or left out of the commentary overall. The less important books of the poem, in terms of action or overall relationship to the story are covered in less detail.
There are well over 300 pages in this book; every one offers great information to a student of the Iliad, from technical aspects to aspects of the poem and the writing itself. This is definitely a must-have for anyone wanting to learn more about the Iliad, about the times and style in which it was written, and about the story of Achilles and his Wrath.
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