Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rediscovering Homer

Emily Wilson has a review of Rediscovering Homer by Andrew Dalby in today's Slate. Among her takeaways and issues engaged:
  • "[The] book is helpful as a more-or-less reliable guide and summation of modern Homeric historical study, which should be accessible to readers with no specialist knowledge."
  • Did the Trojan War really happen?
  • Were the works attributed to Homer written by a woman?
  • How did the written Iliad and Odyssey emerge from their original telling by illiterate bards?
All interesting enough topics: click here to read Wilson's review. Or pick up Dalby's book.

Even if those issues are not particularly important to you, the review offers me an opportunity to encourage one and all to consider reading (or re-reading) these epic poems, especially in the Fagles translations. These are gripping, fascinating works, and one ought not be intimidated by them.

You might even treat yourself to the audio versions, brilliantly performed by Derek Jacobi (The Iliad, abridged) and Ian McKellen (The Odyssey--click here to listen to a clip).

--Marshal Zeringue