For as long as I have studied Classics, first as a high-school student, later as an undergraduate and PhD student, and now as a professor, I have carried Homer’s poems close to me. The Iliad and, to a slightly lesser extent, the Odyssey are my touchstones. All that needs to be known can be found in them. I have taught them for more years than I care to remember. I still cry at certain parts. I see them, feel them, hear them. But I have never published a single article, chapter, or anything resembling scholarly criticism on them. They defy me. To contemplate translating them is so alien to me that I instantly admire any Classicist who has been brave enough to take on such a herculean task.

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Joining the classics club

Christopher Allen


The Classical Tradition
edited by Anthony Grafton, Glenn W. Most, and Salvatore Settis
Harvard University Press (Inbooks), $69.95 hb, 1088 pp, 9780674035720


Unlike China, whose history similarly goes back ...