Homer for Real: A Reading of the Iliad

Literary Criticism by Eric Larsen, first in a series:
Great Literary Works for Regular People:
A Course of Readings Inspired by a Life in the Classroom

WHY SHOULD YOU GIVE HOMER FOR REAL TO ALL THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE AND TREASURE THE MOST?

REASON 1:
Because it’s a book for grown-ups (of all ages). Because it’s a book about the Iliad where Walt Disney is persona non grata and has to wait outside the door. Because the gods, in this book, aren’t gods, but people (unless, say, they’re wind, earthquake, or thunder). Because here, Achilleus is less hero than immature bully. And because here, who are the truly heroic figures? Well, how about Priam, Hektor, and—yes—Helen, most beautiful of women and also the most complex, intense, intelligent, and deep.

REASON 2:
Because it’s a book that corrects the record. Because it shows the unfairness of figures like Jesus, say—at least after the character assassination Paul dished up for him—getting all the praise as life-affirmers while Homer gets “slurs and contumely for being a primitive and uncivilized lover of gore, violence, ruin, and war.” Because the truth is just the opposite. Because Homer is the life-affirmer. Because Homer sees the truth. Because he’s the one, in actuality, who’s civilized. Read the book (here’s its Introduction, and here’s an excerpt about Homer and truth) and find out for yourself. Then give it as a gift, whether to yourself or to another.

REASON 3:
Because it’s a book that shows how it’s Homer, if properly understood, who can rescue and save civilization, the human race, Earth itself. Because, in other words, there’s nothing more urgent or important than understanding Homer correctly—as grown-ups. Because you can read this excerpt about Homer and us and see for yourself. And then? Buy. Give. Read.

Ask for the book at any bookstore, or buy it by clicking the button on this page (and we’ll send it to whatever address you wish).

About Eric Larsen

Professor Emeritus at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY), Eric Larsen has written and published widely for many years. The Decline and Fall of the American Nation completes a tetralogy of novels that began with An American Memory (1988) and continued through I Am Zoë Handke (1992) and The End of the 19th Century (2012). Larsen is also author of the non-fiction books A Nation Gone Blind: America in an Age of Simplification and Deceit (2006), Homer Whole: A Reading of the Iliad, and The Skull of Yorick: The Emptiness of American Thinking at a Time of Grave Peril—Studies in the Cover-up of 9/11 (2011).