In this masterly interpretation of narrative sequence in the Iliad, Keith Stanley not only sharpens the current debate over the date and creation of the poem, but also challenges the view of this work as primarily a celebration of heroic force. He begins by studying the intricate ring-composition in the verses describing Achilles' shield, then extends this analysis to reveal the Iliad as an elaborate and self-conscious formal whole. In so doing he defends the hypothesis that the poem as we know it is a massive reorganization and expansion of earlier "Homeric" material, written in response to the need for a stable text for repeated performance at the sixth-century Athenian festival for the city's patron goddess.
Stanley explores the arrangement of the poem's books, all unified by theme and structure, showing how this allowed for artistically satisfying and practically feasible recitation over a period of three or four days. Taking structural emphasis as a guide to poetic discourse, the author argues that the Iliad is not a poem of "might"--as opposed to the Odyssean celebration of "guile"--but that in advocating social and personal reconciliation the poem offers a profound indictment of a warring heroic society.
Originally published in 1993.
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List of Illustrations
I	Form and Interpretation in Homer	3
(1)	The Shield of Achilleus as a Problem in Interpretation	3
(2)	Ring-Composition in Homeric Digressions	6
(3)	The Function of Ring-Composition in the Description of the Shield	9
(4)	Structure and Interpretation in the Catalogue of Ships; Implications for the Shield	13
(5)	Oral Theory and the Question of Structure	26
(6)	Previous Views of Homeric Form	29
(7)	The Organization of Narrative outside Digressions	32
(8)	Structure within Books	36
II	The Structure of Iliad 1-7	39
III	The Structure of Iliad 8-17	103
IV	The Structure of Iliad 18-24	186
V	Structure and the Homeric Question	248
(1)	Some Implications for the Nature of Our Iliad	248
(2)	The Question of Book Division and Closure	249
(3)	The Practical Function of the Book-Groups	261
(4)	Orality versus Literacy in the Iliad	268
(5)	The Date and Context of Our Iliad	279
(6)	Our Iliad and Homer's	293
A Note on Documentation and Usage	299
List of Abbreviations	301