This is a shortened and rearranged version of The Songs of Homer, Professor Kirk's vivid and comprehensive account of the background and development of the Homeric poems and of their quality as literature. His purpose remains the same: to develop a comprehensive and unified view of the nature of the Iliad and the Odyssey, of their relation to the oral heroic poetry of the Greek Dark Age, and of their creation as poems by two great singers in the eighth century BC. The essential attitudes and arguments of the earlier work have been retained, but the whole has been reduced in detail by some two-fifths. The sections on the historical background, the possibilities of Achaean and Aeolic epic, and the technical aspects of the language have been abbreviated most, and those dealing with oral poetry and the Iliad and Odyssey as literature least of all. Professor Kirk has also changed the order and increased the number of chapters. Almost all the Greek is translated, and the new version can be more easily used by those who are primarily interested in classics in translation, comparative literature, oral poetry, or the epic in general.
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