Homer and his age (1906) PDF by Andrew Lang

Homer and his age 

Homer and his age




Contents of the book 

The Homeric age.--Hypotheses as to the growth of the epics.--Hypotheses of epic composition.--Loose feudalism: the over-lord in "Iliad," books I and II.--Agamemnon in the later "Iliad."--Archaeology of the "Iliad": burial and cremation.--Homeric armor.--The breast-plate.--Bronze and iron.--The Homeric house.--Notes of change in the "Odyssey."--Linguistic proofs of various dates.--The "Doloneia": "Iliad," book X.--The interpolations of Nestor.--The comparative study of early epics.--Homer and the French medieval epics.--Conclusion

Excerpt from the book's introduction:
In Homer and the Epic ten or twelve years ago, I examined the literary objections to Homeric unity. These objections are chiefly based on alleged discrepancies in the narrative, of which no one poet, it is supposed, could have been guilty. The critic's repose,

 I venture to think, mainly on a fallacy. We may style it the fallacy of " the analytical reader." The poet is expected to satisfy a minutely critical reader, a personage whom he could not foresee, and whom he did not address. Nor are ^^ contradictory instances " examined — that is, as Blass has recently reminded his countrymen. Homer is put to a test which Goethe could not endure. No long fictitious narrative can satisfy "the analytical reader." 

The fallacy is that of disregarding the Homeric poet's audience. He did not sing for Aristotle or for Aristarchus, or for a modern minute and reflective inquirers, but for warriors and ladies. He certainly satisfied them; but if he does not satisfy microscopic professors, he is described as a syndicate of many minstrels, living in many ages. In the present volume little is said in defense of the poet's consistency. Several chapters on that point have been excised. 

The way of living which Homer describes is examined, and an effort is made to prove that he depicts the life of a single brief age of culture. The investigation is compelled to a tedious minuteness because the points of attack — the alleged discrepancies in descriptions of the various details of existence — are so minute as to be all but invisible.

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