Fifty years of reading Homer—both alone and with students—prepared Eva Brann to bring the Odyssey and the Iliad back to life for today's readers. In Homeric Moments, she brilliantly conveys the unique delights of Homer's epics as she focuses on the crucial scenes, or moments, that mark the high points of the narratives: Penelope and Odysseus, faithful wife and returning husband, sit face to face at their own hearth for the first time in twenty years; young Telemachus, with his father Odysseus at his side, boldly confronts the angry suitors; Achilles gives way to boundless grief at the death of his friend Patroclus. Eva Brann demonstrates a way of reading Homer's poems that yields up their hidden treasures. With an alert eye for Homer's extraordinary visual effects and a keen ear for the musicality of his language, she helps the reader see the flickering campfires of the Greeks and hear the roar of the surf and the singing of nymphs. In Homeric Moments, Brann takes readers beneath the captivating surface of the poems to explore the inner connections and layers of meaning that have made the epics "the marvel of the ages." "Written with wit and clarity, this book will be of value to those reading the Odyssey and the Iliad for the first time and to those teaching it to beginners."—Library Journal "Homeric Moments is a feast for the mind and the imagination, laid out in clear and delicious prose. With Brann, old friends of Homer and new acquaintances alike will rejoice in the beauty, and above all the humanity, of the epics." —Jacob Howland, University of Tulsa, Author of The Paradox of Political Philosophy "In Homeric Moments, Eva Brann lovingly leads us, as she has surely led countless students, through the gallery of delights that is Homer's poetry. Brann's enthusiasm is as infectious as her deep familiarity with the works is illuminating."—Rachel Hadas "Brann invites us to enter a conversation [about Homer] in which information and formal arguments jostle with appreciations and frank conjectures and surmises to increase our pleasure and deepen the inward dimension of our humanity."—Richard Freis, Millsaps College "For anyone eager to experience the profundity and charm of Homer's great epic poems, Eva Brann's book will serve as a passionate and engaging guide. Brann displays a deep sensitivity to the cadence and flow of Homeric poetry, and the kind of knowing intimacy with its characters that comes from years of teaching and contemplation. Her relaxed but informative approach succeeds in conveying the grandeur of the great Homeric heroes, while making them continually resonate for our own lives. Brann helps us see that this poetry has an urgency for our own era as much as it did for a distant past."—Ralph M. Rosen, University of Pennsylvania, Author of Old Comedy and The Iambographic Tradition "The most enjoyable books about Homer are always written by those who have read and taught him the most. Eva Brann's collection of astute observations, unusual asides, and visual snapshots of the Iliad and the Odyssey reveals a lifelong friendship with the poet, and is as pleasurable as it is informative. Homeric Moments is rare erudition without pedantry, in a tone marked by good sense without levity."—Victor Davis Hanson, author of The Other Greeks and co-author of Who Killed Homer?
A philospher and teacher of forty years offers an interpretation of Homer's narratives and characters, highlighting language, meaning, and the visual effects which have made the poems read through the ages.
A philospher and teacher of forty years offers an interpretation of Homer's narratives and characters, highlighting language, meaning, and the visual effects which have made the poems read through the ages.
This wide-ranging collection makes available to specialists and nonspecialists alike important critical work on the Odyssey produced during the last half century. The ten essays address five major concerns: the poem's programmatic representation of social and religious institutions and values; its transformation of folktales and traditional stories into epic adventures; its representation of gender roles and, in particular, of Penelope; its narrative strategies and form; and its relation to the Iliad, especially to that epic's distinctive conception of heroism. In the introduction, Seth L. Schein describes the poetic background to the work and suggests a variety of interpretive approaches, some of which are developed in the essays that follow. These essays include previously published work by Jean-Pierre Vernant, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Pietro Pucci, and Charles P. Segal. There also are a new essay by Laura M. Slatkin, two revised and expanded ones by Nancy Felson-Rubin and Michael N. Nagler, and three appearing in English for the first time by Uvo Hlscher, Karl Reinhardt, and Vernant. The result is a collection that juxtaposes older, often hard-to-find articles with significant newer pieces in a way that allows for a fruitful dialogue among them.
A team of experts discuss Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey," exploring their background and composition and their reception to the present day.
This book demonstrates how Homeric poetry manages to confer significance on persons and actions, interpreting the world and the lives of the people who inhabit it. Taking central themes like characterization, death, and the gods, the author argues that current ideas of the limitations of "oral poetry" are unreal, and that Homer embodies a view of the world both unique and profound.
"Adam Nicolson writes popular books as popular books used to be, a breeze rather than a scholarly sweat, but humanely erudite, elegantly written, passionately felt...and his excitement is contagious."—James Wood, The New Yorker Adam Nicolson sees the Iliad and the Odyssey as the foundation myths of Greek—and our—consciousness, collapsing the passage of 4,000 years and making the distant past of the Mediterranean world as immediate to us as the events of our own time. Why Homer Matters is a magical journey of discovery across wide stretches of the past, sewn together by the poems themselves and their metaphors of life and trouble. Homer's poems occupy, as Adam Nicolson writes "a third space" in the way we relate to the past: not as memory, which lasts no more than three generations, nor as the objective accounts of history, but as epic, invented after memory but before history, poetry which aims "to bind the wounds that time inflicts." The Homeric poems are among the oldest stories we have, drawing on deep roots in the Eurasian steppes beyond the Black Sea, but emerging at a time around 2000 B.C. when the people who would become the Greeks came south and both clashed and fused with the more sophisticated inhabitants of the Eastern Mediterranean. The poems, which ask the eternal questions about the individual and the community, honor and service, love and war, tell us how we became who we are.
In her latest collection of essays and lectures, Homage to Americans, Eva Brann explores the roots and essence of our American ways. In “Mile-high Meditations,” her flight’s late departure from the Denver airport prompts a consideration of her manner of waiting (i.e.,“being”). As she looks around, she notes (and compares to her own) the ways her fellow travelers pass their time. These observations lead her to wonder how each of us lives with ourselves and how we live together—and put up with one another. With these questions in mind, the next two essays carefully examine two famous political documents that have shaped American self-understanding: James Madison’s “Memorial and Remonstrance,” which is the essential argument for separation of church and state; and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which enlarged and refashioned our understanding of the American political character, first given formal expression in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. In “Paradox of Obedience,” a lecture delivered at the Air Force Academy, Brann considers the puzzling character of obedience in a country dedicated to liberty. The concluding piece, “The Empire of the Sun and the West,” takes us to Aztec Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest. What allowed Cortes and his handful of men to overcome a great empire? In pursuit of an answer, Brann describes a human type whose fulfillment she sees in the American character.
The World of Odysseus is a concise and penetrating account of the society that gave birth to the Iliad and the Odyssey--a book that provides a vivid picture of the Greek Dark Ages, its men and women, works and days, morals and values. Long celebrated as a pathbreaking achievement in the social history of the ancient world, M.I. Finley's brilliant study remains, as classicist Bernard Knox notes in his introduction to this new edition, "as indispensable to the professional as it is accessible to the general reader"--a fundamental companion for students of Homer and Homeric Greece.
Homer: Poet of the "Iliad" is the perfect companion both for readers deepening their appreciation of the poem and its form and for those encountering Homer's work for the first time. Mark Edwards combines the advantages of a general introduction and a detailed commentary to make the insights of recent Homeric scholarship accessible to students and general readers as well as to classicists. Since interpretation of the epic requires an understanding of the ancient oral tradition and its conventions, Edwards offers a comprehensive analysis of the poetics of the Iliad and the Odyssey. He also discusses essential elements of Homeric society -- its religion, history, and social values -- to clarify the style and substance of the poetry. In the second half of the book, Edwards's scene-by-scene explication of ten major books of the Iliad leads the reader to a greater perception of Homer's mastery and manipulation of convention.
Approaches to Teaching World Literature 13.
Ovid's Homer examines the Latin poet's engagement with the Homeric poems throughout his career. Boyd offers detailed analysis of Ovid's reading and reinterpretation of a range of Homeric episodes and characters from both epics, and demonstrates the pervasive presence of Homer in Ovid's work. The resulting intertextuality, articulated as a poetics of paternity or a poetics of desire, is particularly marked in scenes that have a history of scholiastic interest or critical intervention; Ovid repeatedly asserts his mastery as Homeric reader and critic through his creative response to alternative readings, and in the process renews Homeric narrative for a sophisticated Roman readership. Boyd offers new insight into the dynamics of a literary tradition, illuminating a previously underappreciated aspect of Ovidian intertextuality.
"This is the most exciting and diverse collection of essays on Homer to emerge in the past twenty-five years.... There is no other volume like this in scope or ambition or in the erudition of its contributors. It is one of a kind." —Richard P. Martin, Professor of Classics, Princeton University "Dedicated to the...archaeologist and classical scholar Emily Vermeule, this splendidly illustrated volume takes a special place among the numerous studies devoted to the Homeric past.... To sum it up, this is a valuable collection of penetrating studies about Homer, with interesting insights into early Greek art." —Journal of Indo-European Studies "By any standard an outstanding [collection], and among its thirty-one articles are nearly a dozen that will be appreciated as real advances in the discussion of one Homeric problema or another—perhaps an unprecedented percentage.... The University of Texas Press has produced a volume worthy of its ceremonial function in the career of a tremendously influential scholar and educator. It is lavish, and very attractive." —Bryn Mawr Classical Review "Will be required reading for serious students of the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Homeric world." —Choice Homer's Iliad and Odyssey have fascinated listeners and readers for over twenty-five centuries. In this volume of original essays, collected to honor the distinguished career of Emily T. Vermeule, thirty-four leading experts in Homeric studies and related fields provide up-to-date, multidisciplinary accounts of the most current issues in the study of Homer. The book is divided into three sections. The first section treats the Bronze Age setting of the poems (around 1200 B.C.), using archaeological evidence to reveal how poetic memory preserves, distorts, and invents the past. The second section explores the early Iron Age, in which the poems were written (c. 800-500 B.C.), using the strategies of comparative philology and mythology, literary theory, historical linguistics, anthropology, and iconography to determine how the poems took shape. The final section traces the use of Homer for literary and artistic inspiration by classical Greece and Rome.
“In this extraordinary meditation, Eva Brann takes us to the fierce core of Heraclitus's vision and shows us the music of his language. The thought and beautiful prose in The Logos of Heraclitus are a delight.”—Barry Mazur, Harvard University “An engaged solitary, an inward-turned observer of the world, inventor of the first of philosophical genres, the thought-compacted aphorism,” “teasingly obscure in reputation, but hard-hittingly clear in fact,” “now tersely mordant, now generously humane.” Thus Eva Brann introduces Heraclitus—in her view, the West’s first philosopher. The collected work of Heraclitus comprises 131 passages. Eva Brann sets out to understand Heraclitus as he is found in these passages and particularly in his key word, Logos, the order that is the cosmos. “Whoever is captivated by the revelatory riddlings and brilliant obscurities of what remains of Heraclitus has to begin anew—accepting help, to be sure, from previous readings—in a spirit of receptivity and reserve. But essentially everyone must pester the supposed obscurantist until he opens up. Heraclitus is no less and no more pregnantly dark than an oracle…The upshot is that no interpretation has prevailed; every question is wide open.”
These two long essays make up a short book, one full of depth and knowledge, in which Eva Brann gets at the roots of our thinking—without tearing things apart. Then In the first essay, Brann parses out the schema and meaning of Herodotus's The History (The Persian Wars). She writes that Herodotus worked by indirection. Giving a full account of the Persians and the peoples who constituted their empire—and whose empire encircled the Greeks (thus the "Greek center")—Herodotus delineates the essential difference between the Barbarians and the Greeks. This difference Brann calls Athens' "elusive essence," its freedom contrasting with the slavery upon which the Persian empire depended. Now In the second essay, the author delves into what it means for a person to unite a disposition toward conservatism with a capacity to reiterate and rehearse events, scenes, and dramas in "the conservatory of the imagination." To uncover the meanings and consequences of this union—this imaginative conservatism—and the type of soul to which it applies, Brann offers twelve perspectives, starting with "Temperamental Disposition" and ending with "Eccentric Centrality" (without ever explicitly focusing on politics). Join her and you'll find both delight and education.
An examination of the aesthetic qualities of the Homeric simile
In this collection of essays, Eva Brann talks with readers about the conversations Socrates has with his fellow Athenians. She shows how Plato's dialogues and the timeless matters they address remain important to us today. From introductory pieces on the Republic, the Phaedo, and the Sophist, to an account of the less well known Charmides, each essay starts where Plato starts, without presupposing a critical theory. In the title essay's brilliant account of the Republic, Brann demonstrates its central importance in Plato's work. Other essays consider Plato's notion of time; discuss how to teach Plato to undergraduates; and contend that a thoughtful text-based study of Plato can have a very personal impact on a reader. Encouraged to befriend the dialogues, readers will join in the great Socratic conversations.
Placing homer -- Homer and the divine -- The golden verses -- Homer among the scholars -- The pleasures of song
Eva Brann, who has taught at St. John’s College, Annapolis, for sixty years, wrote these essays largely as clarifying incitements to students who were reading, or ought to have been reading, the works discussed. In her words: "The first essay looks at the 'Pre-Socratics' Heraclitus and Parmenides. They appear to be in radical opposition, but they are really doing the same, new thing: seeing the world as an intelligible whole. Both observe external nature, construing it in their minds—so, from the outside in. The final essay again describes two ways of world-construing from the outside in—one by penetrating the surface of reality, the other by spinning a web of complexity over it. "The five essays in between focus on works by Kant and display the world as constituted from the human inside out. An appreciative review of the Critique of Pure Reason shows how Kant brilliantly justifies a science of nature by making nature itself the construct of our understanding. But he leads us to the abyss of more idealism; externality and realism escape him. The explication of his one absolute moral commandment similarly defines his morality entirely in terms divorced from objective good and concentrated on internal integrity. Finally, his huge unpublished legacy agonizes about bringing a god, first conceived as an inner need, into external existence."
In unrelenting flow of choices confronts us at nearly every moment of our lives, and yet our culture offers us no clear way to choose. This predicament seems inevitable, but in fact it’s quite new. In medieval Europe, God’s calling was a grounding force. In ancient Greece, a whole pantheon of shining gods stood ready to draw an appropriate action out of you. Like an athlete in “the zone,” you were called to a harmonious attunement with the world, so absorbed in it that you couldn’t make a “wrong” choice. If our culture no longer takes for granted a belief in God, can we nevertheless get in touch with the Homeric moods of wonder and gratitude, and be guided by the meanings they reveal? All Things Shining says we can. Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly illuminate some of the greatest works of the West to reveal how we have lost our passionate engagement with and responsiveness to the world. Their journey takes us from the wonder and openness of Homer’s polytheism to the monotheism of Dante; from the autonomy of Kant to the multiple worlds of Melville; and, finally, to the spiritual difficulties evoked by modern authors such as David Foster Wallace and Elizabeth Gilbert. Dreyfus, a philosopher at the University of California, Berkeley, for forty years, is an original thinker who finds in the classic texts of our culture a new relevance for people’s everyday lives. His lively, thought-provoking lectures have earned him a podcast audience that often reaches the iTunesU Top 40. Kelly, chair of the philosophy department at Harvard University, is an eloquent new voice whose sensitivity to the sadness of the culture—and to what remains of the wonder and gratitude that could chase it away—captures a generation adrift. Re-envisioning modern spiritual life through their examination of literature, philosophy, and religious testimony, Dreyfus and Kelly unearth ancient sources of meaning, and teach us how to rediscover the sacred, shining things that surround us every day. This book will change the way we understand our culture, our history, our sacred practices, and ourselves. It offers a new—and very old—way to celebrate and be grateful for our existence in the modern world.

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