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The Iliad

Structure, Myth, and Meaning

Bruce Louden

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Extending his distinctive analysis of Homeric epic to the Iliad, Bruce Louden, author of The "Odyssey": Structure, Narration, and Meaning, again presents new approaches to understanding the themes and story of the poem. In this thought-provoking study, he demonstrates how repeated narrative motifs argue for an expanded understanding of the structure of epic poetry. First identifying the "subgenres" of myth within the poem, he then reads these against related mythologies of the Near East, developing a context in which the poem can be more accurately interpreted.

Louden begins by focusing on theā€¦

Extending his distinctive analysis of Homeric epic to the Iliad, Bruce Louden, author of The "Odyssey": Structure, Narration, and Meaning, again presents new approaches to understanding the themes and story of the poem. In this thought-provoking study, he demonstrates how repeated narrative motifs argue for an expanded understanding of the structure of epic poetry. First identifying the "subgenres" of myth within the poem, he then reads these against related mythologies of the Near East, developing a context in which the poem can be more accurately interpreted.

Louden begins by focusing on the ways in which the Iliad's three movements correspond with and comment on each other. He offers original interpretations of many episodes, notably in books 3 and 7, and makes new arguments about some well-known controversies (e.g., the duals in book 9), the Iliad's use of parody, the function of theomachy, and the prefiguring of Hektor as a sacrificial victim in books 3 and 6. The second part of the book compares fourteen subgenres of myth in the Iliad to contemporaneous Near Eastern traditions such as those of the Old Testament and of Ugaritic mythology. Louden concludes with an extended comparison of the Homeric Athena and Anat, a West Semitic goddess worshipped by the Phoenicians and Egyptians.

Louden's innovative method yields striking new insights into the formation and early literary contexts of Greek epic poetry.

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The Iliad

Bruce Louden

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Reviews

Reviews

His is an original approach.

Useful to any scholar interested in issues of Homeric structure and unity, as well as comparatists interested in a Near Eastern context for Greek literature.

An eye-opener... A very readable and accessible book indeed.

Louden successfully clarifies the invisible underlying structures in the organization of the Iliad and clarifies its indebtedness to West Semitic, especially Ugaritic, myth. Never burdensome or pedantic, the book is original in its approach and aims and is a sound contribution to scholarship.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
352
ISBN
9780801882807
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. The Principal Narrative Pattern
2. The Overture
3. The Middle Sequence: Parody of the Narrative Pattern
4. The Introductory Pattern: The Best of the Akhaians Calls an

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. The Principal Narrative Pattern
2. The Overture
3. The Middle Sequence: Parody of the Narrative Pattern
4. The Introductory Pattern: The Best of the Akhaians Calls an Assembly
5. Subgenres of Myth in the Iliad I
6. Subgenres of Myth in the Iliad II: The Iliad's Divine Economy, the Goddess Anat, and the Homeric Athena
Conclusion
Notes
Glossary
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Bruce Louden

Bruce Louden is an associate professor of language and linguistics at the University of Texas at El Paso, and the author of The Odyssey: Structure, Narration, and Meaning.