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The Iliad: A Commentary: Volume 2, Books 5-8

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521237109
ISBN-10: 0521237106
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Editorial Reviews


'The two great contributions of this volume are on the one hand the account of the Catalogues in Book Two, and on the other the close and rewarding attention which is paid to questions of rhythm. Again and again Kirk brings out effects ... created by the variation of rhythm ... It is in this area that I have learnt most from this commentary, and I regard it as a major advance of the sort which, once made, must be followed by all subsequent Homerists ... All those who read Homer will find new and illuminating observations both of fine detail and on a larger scale. The complete commentary will be a valuable possession.' Jasper Griffin, The Times Literary Supplement

'[Professor Kirk] demonstrates and assesses the poet's individual skill in composition, tacitly correcting the extreme Parryist view that Homer merely manipulated pre-existing formulas. This is highly original. The section of the Introduction devoted to it ... offers the best analysis of the mechanics of Homeric poetry that this reviewer has read.' M. M. Willcock, Journal of Hellenic Studies

'Kirk's chief merit as an expositor is his awareness of the subtlest nuances of poetic technique ... The introduction and commentary as a whole form an excellent companion to Books 1-4.' J. T. Booker, JACT Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The second volume of the major six-volume commentary on the Iliad. Special attention is given to language, style and thematic structure in four introductory essays which are followed by the commentary itself.

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Product Details

  • Series: Iliad (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (May 25, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521237106
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521237109
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,901,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By K. Schell on November 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This six-volume commentary on the Iliad is fantastic and indispensable. The other reviewer, Markos, has completely missed the point; this is not a commentary intended for first-time readers of Homer (Cambridge Green and Yellow commentaries tend more in that direction) nor for those reading the epic in translation. Instead, it is an introduction to many topics of scholarly debate that surround the poem, keyed to the parts of the text where that information is most relevant.
While I am disappointed that the book is not currently available on Amazon, it is a reference work and, as such, is probably mostly bought only by libraries. It is very well done, however, and should not be missed by any serious scholars of the Classics.
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Format: Paperback
I was disappointed. A good commentary needs to be complete but cannot be too wordy. Get to the point and allow us to get back to reading the text. Kirk's commentary is obviously meant for people who read Homer in the Greek, but he does not devote enough attention to the Greek text. Instead he sort of rambles on about the plot, what he things speakers have in mind, stylistic considerations that are not clear. Here's an example. You tell me if (a) this helps you understand the Iliad any better (b) you even know what the heck Kirk is talking about (b) "Until now the speech has been undramatic and routinely cumulative in expression, with conventional verse-structure and moderate enjambment. The present graphic and hypothetical calculation, set out in a single long and progressively-enjambed sentence and brought to an epigrammatic climax in 128, noticeably elevates the style." Okay. Difficult Greek cruxes are often ignored by Kirk. Older commentaries like Anthon's (published in 1847!) and Draper's marvelous recent book manage to be both more consise AND give you more helpful information. Unfortunatley, these books do not cover the entire Iliad. A good, complete, detailed modern commentary on the Iliad has yet to be written. This book certainly is not that.
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