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The Artistry of the Homeric Simile

The similes in Homer are treasure troves. They describe scenes of Greek life that are not presented in their simplest form anywhere else: landscapes and seascapes, storms and calm weather, fighting among animals, civic disputes, athletic contests, horse races, community entertainment, women involved in their daily tasks, men running their farms and orchards. These basic paratactic additions to the narrative show how the Greeks found and developed parallels between two scenes—each of which elucidated and interpreted the other—then expressed those scenes in effective poetic language. In The Artistry of the Homeric Simile, Scott explores the variations and modifications that Homer employs in order to make similes blend expressively with the larger context. This engaging study will help unlock the richness of Homer for the modern reader.

282 pages | 6 x 9

Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory

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Table of Contents

Preface • Similes, the Shield of Achilles, and Other Digressions • The Usefulness of Book Divisions • The Simileme: The Background of the Homeric Simile • The Oral Nature of Homeric Verse • The Simileme • Homer and His Audience • Simile and Simileme • Homer’s Use of Similes to Delineate Character and Plot • Iliad, Book 2: Ironic Characterization • The Similes of Book 2 • The Role of Similes in Book 2 • Iliad, Books 21 and 22: Similes to Show a Thematic Contrast • Iliad, Book 11: Similes to Mark a Shifting Scene • Conclusion • Similes to Delineate a Narrative Theme • Iliad, Book 12: Direct Focus on a Single Theme • Iliad, Book 5: The Use of Parallel Similemes to Create a Unified Theme • Odyssey, Book 22: Similes to Interpret Typical Actions • Odyssey, Book 5: Thematic Similes • Conclusion • Problem Books • Iliad, Book 13: The Ordering of Conscious Chaos • Iliad, Book 17: Similes as Guides through a Series of Type Scenes • Iliad, Book 16: Similes for Complexity • Conclusion • The Creative Poet and the Co-creating Audience • The Simile within the Narrative • The Poet’s Choices in Forming the Individual Simile • The Creative Moment: Poet and Audience • Charts of Similemes: The Basic Motifs • Notes • Bibliography • Index

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