Adam Nicolson sees the Iliad and the Odyssey as the foundation myths of Greek - and our - consciousness, collapsing the passage of 4,000 years and making the distant past of the Mediterranean world as immediate to us as the events of our own time. Homer's poems occupy, as Adam Nicolson writes, "a third space" in the way we relate to the past: not as memory, which lasts no more than three generations, nor as the objective accounts of history, but as epic, invented after memory but before history, poetry that aims "to bind the wounds that time inflicts".
The Homeric poems are among the oldest stories we have, drawing on deep roots in the Eurasian steppes beyond the Black Sea. These poems, which ask the eternal questions about the individual and the community, honor and service, love and war, tell us how we became who we are.
©2014 Adam Nicolson (P)2015 Tantor
"Nicolson's spirited exploration illuminates our own indelible past." (Kirkus)
I am an avid eclectic reader.
I have not read Homer since University. I find it amazing that we are still reading in the original or in translation something written in 700 B.C. The events depicted in the epics are thought to have taken place, as early as 1800 B.C.
Nicholson explores the age old question of was there such a person as Homer or more than one person. The author covers the history of Homer, Nicholson says the linguistic analysis suggest that “The Iliad” was first then “The Odyssey”. Nicholson sums up what we still look for in Homer: “Wisdom, his fearless encounter with the dreadful, his love of love and hatred of death, the sheer scale of his embrace, his energy and brightness, his resistance to nostalgia.”
Nicholson has written a beautiful study: full of insight, generosity and unaffected passion, the book is about what Homer means to him. One of my favorite narrators John Lee narrated the book.
Report Inappropriate Content