The second part of the Odyssey takes epic in new directions, giving very significant roles to people of 'lower status' and their way of life: epic notions of the primacy of the aristocrat and of the achievements of the Trojan War are submitted to scrutiny. Books XIII-XIV contain some of the subtlest human exchanges in the poem, as Athena and Odysseus spar with each other and Odysseus tests the quiet patience of his swineherd Eumaeus. The principal themes and narrative structures, especially of disguise and recognition, which the second part uses with remarkable economy, are established here. The Introduction discusses these topics, and offers a detailed historical account of the Homeric dialect and remarks on metre; the Commentary pays particular attention to the exposition of unfamiliar linguistic forms and constructions. The literary parts of the Introduction and of the commentary are accessible to all.
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