Homer and the Poetics of Hades

ISBN : 9780198787266

George Alexander Gazis
272 Pages
138 x 216 mm
Pub date
Mar 2018
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This unique approach to the Iliad and the Odyssey explores the role and function of Hades as a poetic environment in which traditional exposition of heroic values may be subverted in favour of a more immediate and personally inflected approach to the epic past, giving rise to a different kind of poetics: the 'poetics of Hades'. By portraying Hades as a realm where vision is not possible, Homer creates an environment in which social constraints and divine prohibitions do not apply. The resulting narrative emulates that of the Muses but at the same time is markedly distinct from it, offering Homer and his readers access to an alternative epic tradition.


0 Introduction; 0.1 Homeric enargeia; 0.2 Hades as a poetic resource; Part 1: The Iliad; 1 Hades in the Iliad; 1.1 Introduction; 1.2 Hades as a destination: the beginning of the Iliad and the end of the heroes; 1.3 Hades and kleos; 1.4 Hades the unknown, Hades the invisible; 1.5 The Underworld realm; 1.6 Conclusions; 2 The Dream of Achilles; 2.1 Dreaming of the dead; 2.2 Speaking to the dead among the living; 2.3 Raising the dead: nekyomanteia in the Iliad; 2.4 Waiting for darkness; 2.5 The dream scene; 2.6 Memories of the dead; 2.7 Conclusions; Part 2: The Odyssey; 3 The Odyssey and the 'Poetics of Hades'; 3.1 Introduction; 3.2 The limits of Olympian influence; 3.3 Darkness and seclusion: Hades' place in the Odyssey; 3.4 Odysseus as mediator, Odysseus as storyteller; 4 The 'Nekyia'; 4.1 Before the journey: departure from Circe's island; 4.2 Beginning of the journey: the outskirts of Hades; 4.3 At close quarters with the dead: Elpenor; 4.4 At the crossroads of past and future: the meetings with Teiresias and Antikleia; 4.4.1 Teiresias' prophecy: unrestrained truth; 4.4.2 The meeting with Antikleia; 4.4.3 Hearing from the dead about the living; 5 The 'Catalogue of Heroines': Narrative Unbound; 5.1 Introduction; 5.2 The meeting with Tyro; 5.3 Women with a voice: the other heroines; 5.3.1 Female perspectives on the heroic past; 5.3.2 The perspective of the mother: to forget or to remember; 5.4 Conclusions; 6 The 'Intermezzo'; 6.1 Introduction; 6.2 Breaking the spell; 7 The 'Catalogue of Heroes'; 7.1 Introduction; 7.2 Remembering Troy - the meeting with Agamemnon; 7.2.1 The death of Agamemnon: a view from below; 7.2.2 The death of Agamemnon: a heroic perspective; 7.2.3 From hero to 'powerless head': the end of the meeting; 7.2.4 Conclusions; 7.3 After heroism: the meeting with Achilles; 7.3.1 Introduction; 7.3.2 Survival versus kleos: the Odyssey meets the Iliad; 7.3.3 Conclusions; 7.4 The meeting with Ajax; 7.4.1 When the dead remain silent; 7.4.2 The story of the judgement: an Odyssean perspective; 7.4.3 Odysseus' non-apology; 7.4.4 Return to darkness: Ajax's perspective; 7.4.5 Conclusions; 7.5 Epilogue; 8 Conclusions; Endmatter; Bibliography; Index

About the author: 

Originally from Cephalonia, a stone's throw from modern day Ithaca, George Alexander Gazis was raised in Athens and studied for his BA in Classics and Ancient History and his MA in Homeric Studies at the National University. After his National Service he was awarded the State Scholarship and moved to the UK, where he completed his PhD in Archaic Greek Epic at Durham University in 2015. He has since remained at Durham, first as a Teaching Fellow and currently as a Lecturer in Greek Literature.

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