When I first read the Iliad of Homer on my own, I thought it a hyper-violent war story with deeply unsympathetic characters who let petty disputes plunge their societies into disaster. However, Professor Vandiver's lectures gaves the historical and cultural background for the Iliad, helping me to understand why Agamemnon's actions were so deeply insulting to Achilles, while also illuminating how the Iliad is a timeless work of literature that speaks to the human condition today. These lectures are a must if you want to really understand this famous epic.
All of Prof. Vandiver's lectures on classical literature are highly recommended for anyone even the slightest bit interested in the subject. She brings so much background and insight to the great tales of Ancient Greece, illuminating small points that I overlooked when reading on my own. In addition, she is a first-rate lecturer, and keeps her discussions engaging throughout. Her conversational tone keeps her lectures free from the pedantry and pretentiousness that some lecturers suffer from. I have all of her Teaching Company courses, and love all of them.
Vandiver's lectures on the Odyssey of Homer make a great companion piece to this lecture series, and come just as highly recommended.
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