Homer's The Iliad

Homer's The Iliad

Homer's The Iliad

Homer's The Iliad

Synopsis

-- Presents the most important 20th-century criticism on major works from The Odyssey through modern literature

-- The critical essays reflect a variety of schools of criticism

-- Contains critical biographies, notes on the contributing critics, a chronology of the author's life, and an index

Excerpt

Hektor in his ecstasy of power
is mad for battle, confident in
Zeus,
deferring to neither men nor gods. Pure frenzy
fills him, and he prays for the bright dawn
when he will shear our stern-post beaks away
and fire all our ships, while in the shipways
amid that holocaust he carries death
among our men, driven out by smoke. All this
I gravely fear; I fear the gods will make
good his threatenings, and our fate will be
to die here, far from the pastureland of
Argos.
Rouse yourself, if even at this hour
you'll pitch in for the Akhaians and deliver them
from Trojan havoc
. In the years to come
this day will be remembered pain for you
if you do not.

Iliad,Fitzgerald translation, bk. 9, 11. 237-50

For the divisions of Reuben there were great thoughts of heart.

Why abidest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks?

For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.

Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches.

Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field.

death in the high places Judges 5:15-18

Simone Weil loved both the Iliad and the Gospels, and rather oddly associated them, as though Jesus had been a Greek and not a Jew:

The Gospels are the last marvelous expression of the Greek genius, as the Iliad is the first ... with the Hebrews, misfortune . . .

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