Homer's Cosmic Fabrication: Choice and Design in the Iliad

Homer's Cosmic Fabrication: Choice and Design in the Iliad

Homer's Cosmic Fabrication: Choice and Design in the Iliad

Homer's Cosmic Fabrication: Choice and Design in the Iliad

Synopsis

Although scholars routinely state that the Iliad is an "oral" poem, since very near the time of its composition the great epic has circulated as a text stabilized in writing and popular with readers for study as well as enjoyment. What makes the Iliad the "good read" we know it to be? In Homer's Cosmic Fabrication Bruce Heiden delineates a new approach aimed at evaluating what the Iliad furnishes to readers thatmakes it comprehensible and engaging. His program draws upon cognitive narratology to develop novel research that illuminate the epic's artistry and philosophical depth.

Excerpt

In the autumn of 1994 I was well into writing a book on the Iliad that would have been rather different from this one had I completed it. Instead I set it aside because of a discovery that promised (or threatened) to overshadow the work-in-progress and demanded immediate and thorough exploration. The important details and implications of this discovery are explained in the introduction to this book.

A great many colleagues and learned friends have assisted my work on this project through stimulating exchanges in person or via email, reactions to the journal publications and conference talks in which early results were disseminated, and careful reading of the manuscript in any of its various draft versions prior to this publication. During the early stages Mark Edwards was a steadfast source of both encouragement and astute criticism. At a late stage Pura Nieto-Hernandez read a draft of the entire manuscript with remarkable care, and her abundant expert comments suggested or stimulated many improvements. Kathryn Gutzwiller, the editor of the American Philological Association American Classical Studies series in which this volume appears, acted as a valued collaborator in the final stages of revision. The comments of the anonymous readers were also very helpful. My colleague Anthony Kaldellis read an earlier draft of the manuscript and offered many useful observations; but he also merits special thanks for the stimulus of his conversation about both the book and Greek literature generally. Margalit Finkelberg read a substantial portion of an earlier draft and improved the work with expert suggestions and criticism. Among the others who have helped in various ways I would be remiss not to mention Jenny Strauss Clay, David Konstan, Donald Lateiner, Françoise Létoublon, Bruce Louden, James Morrison, René Nünlist, Pietro Pucci, Robert Rabel, Jay Reed, Joseph Russo, Elizabeth Scharffenberger, Seth Schein, and John Van Sickle. Any scholar lucky enough to be read by such critics will always feel challenged to exceed himself.

David Hahm, the chair of the Department of Greek and Latin at the Ohio State University during most of the time the work was under way, assisted in many small but valuable ways that are warmly appreciated. David Lincove, the classics librarian at Ohio State during part of the time, and Donna Distel, assistant librarian, helped me identify, locate, or obtain elusive printed resources on many occasions.

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