Cloth $27.50 ISBN: 9780226675893 Will Publish September 2021
E-book $26.99 Available for pre-order. ISBN: 9780226790077 Will Publish September 2021

Homer

The Very Idea

James I. Porter

Homer

James I. Porter

280 pages | 14 halftones | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 2021
Cloth $27.50 ISBN: 9780226675893 Will Publish September 2021
E-book $26.99 ISBN: 9780226790077 Will Publish September 2021
The story of our ongoing fascination with Homer, the man and the myth.
 
Homer, the great poet of the Iliad and the Odyssey, is revered as a cultural icon of antiquity and a figure of lasting influence. But his identity is shrouded in questions about who he was, when he lived, and whether he was an actual person, a myth, or merely a shared idea. Rather than attempting to solve the mystery of this character, James I. Porter explores the sources of Homer’s mystique and their impact since the first recorded mentions of Homer in ancient Greece.
 
Homer: The Very Idea considers Homer not as a man, but as a cultural invention nearly as distinctive and important as the poems attributed to him, following the cultural history of an idea and of the obsession that is reborn every time Homer is imagined. Offering novel readings of texts and objects, the book follows the very idea of Homer from his earliest mentions to his most recent imaginings in literature, criticism, philosophy, visual art, and classical archaeology.
 
Contents
Note on Translations and Abbreviations
List of Illustrations
Timeline
1. Why Homer?
2. Who Was Homer?
3. Apotheosis or Apostasy?
4. What Did Homer See?
5. Why War?
Acknowledgments
Notes
Further Reading
Works Cited
Index
 
Review Quotes
Simon Goldhill, author of Preposterous Poetics
"Porter is an exceptional scholar. Clear, intelligent, and filled with fascinating examples, this book is contemporary while reaching beyond the fashionable, and it will arouse a good deal of discussion."
Alex C. Purves, author of Homer and the Poetics of Gesture
“This book is a reckoning with who or what we understand Homer to be and how we have reinvented him for our own ends. Porter makes clear the impossibility of Homer both as a concept and as a person, revealing him as the illusion of a perfectly formed whole that has been kept alive for millennia, a ghost in the machine, a phantom both alive and dead. As a leading scholar in dismantling assumptions about the classical past, Porter has written an original, compelling, and eye-opening book that will generate excitement and admiration.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://press.uchicago.edu
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