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Seth L. Schein

Professor of Comparative Literature University of California.
Special interests: Greek and Roman literature, culture, and thought, especially Greek epic, tragedy, and lyric poetry; comparative epic and drama; history of literary theory; gender; Shakespeare and classical antiquity

Seth L. Schein

The Mortal Hero: An Introduction to Homer's Iliad

Author/Artist: Seth L. Schein
ISBN: 0520056264
Publisher: University of California Press

The description is from the back cover of the book:

Schein does a good job of conveying the essential moral questions of the Iliad with respect for the text and a well-chosen synthesis of the linguistic and structural contributions of recent scholars like Benveniste, Nagy, Redfield, Austin, Nagler, and Kagridis...The usefulness of the work lies in the integration of diverse approaches into a readable lucid whole and an obvious love of the poem and thorough familiarity with the text. "For the student or harried humanities instructor who wants to read one literary study of the Iliad. this would be a good choice."

Charles Segal, Classica
Brown University

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A story for each listener/reader
In this book, Schein reviews the standard literature of the Iliad. He provides a structure for understanding the work. Beginning with the original performers and listeners, what stories they would have know, how this tale is different from the normal hero tales they were use to, and how those differences are important to the tale.

Another axis is how Troy was destined to lose, and at the same time, Hector is shown as the more moral of the leading fighters in the epic.

You can see the listeners hearing what they want from the story: a simple story of how their side won a long war, how their favorite warriors were braver than anyone else during some phase of the battles, how it would have all been different if the gods had not intervened, how it only turned out right because the gods intervened. And then also listeners who were listening for something more, also heard about 'good things happening to bad people', and then even more that the bad people were in circumstances in which there were no other options, and how these people accepted their undeserved fates or railed against them.

Jon D. Walker, United States
added 2003-02-12

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