Nicolson’s Why Homer Matters


Why Homer Matters: A History
Adam Nicolson

This one hit all my sweet spots. A book about Homer that is part travelogue / memoir, part meditation on deep engagement with a text, and part ancient history primer. A must read for the ancient history enthusiast.

Nicolson’s easy erudition and his deep emotional connection to the works of the great bard lead to a book that is really very special.  Much of the historical and linguistic knowledge here is well known, but Nicolson’s application of it, to his travels, and to his life, resonated with me and helped deepen my own understanding of why Homer remains so important. Nicolson travels to the main sights of the texts, and engages with them as he sorts through his own complex and fraught life. Through these experiences, he brings us a little closer, I think, to answering why these stories of marauding and duplicitous Greeks, plagued by desires and loves which lead some to ruin, and some home again, still resonate.

 

If you haven’t read Homer, I suggest you do (probably the Fagel’s translation), and I suggest you pair it with this book.

 

Recommended.

 

*But if you haven’t this is as good a place as any to start.

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About seanv2

Scholar, gentleman, jock. I run the website Milo and the Calf. There you will find the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire where runners share their stories of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. You'll also find my thoughts on endurance sports, ancient history, Judaism, and hundreds of book reviews.
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