"The similes in Homer are treasure troves. They describe scenes of Greek life that are not presented in their simplest form anywhere else: landscapes and seascapes, storms and calm weather, fighting among animals, aspects of civic life such as settlements of disputes, athletic contests, horse races, community entertainment, women carrying on their daily lives and men running their farms and orchards. But the similes also show Homer dealing with his tradition. They are additions to the narrative showing how the Greeks found and developed parallels between two scenes, each of which elucidated and interpreted the other, and then expressed those scenes in effective poetic language."
[See also: The Oral Nature of the Homeric Simile (1974)]
William C. Scott's The Artistry of the Homeric Simile is being published by the University Press of New England (Hanover and London, 2009) in partnership with the Dartmouth College Library, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA.
Professor Scott's first book, The Oral Nature of the Homeric Simile (E. J. Brill: Leiden, 1974) has been re-issued as an electronic book by the Dartmouth College Library in 2009, to coincide with the digital and print publication of The Artistry of the Homeric Simile.
The electronic versions of both books are publicly available for non-commercial uses, free of charge, at the Dartmouth College Library's Digital Publishing website.
WILLIAM C. SCOTT is emeritus professor of classics at Dartmouth College. His previous publications include The Oral Nature of the Homeric Simile, Musical Design in Aeschylean Theater, Plato's The Republic with Richard W. Sterling, and Musical Design in Sophoclean Theater.
Copyright 2009, William C. Scott.
|Similes, the Shield of Achilles, and Other Digressions||1|
|The Usefulness of Book Divisions||10|
|The Simileme: The Background of the Homeric Simile||14|
|The Oral Nature of Homeric Verse||14|
|Homer and His Audience||31|
|Simile and Simileme||37|
|Homer’s Use of Similes to Delineate Character and Plot||42|
|Iliad, Book 2: Ironic Characterization||43|
|The Similes of Book 2||44|
|The Role of Similes in Book 2||59|
|Iliad, Books 21 and 22: Similes to Show a Thematic Contrast||65|
|Iliad, Book 11: Similes to Mark a Shifting Scene||78|
|Similes to Delineate a Narrative Theme||94|
|Iliad, Book 12: Direct Focus on a Single Theme||94|
|Iliad, Book 5: The Use of Parallel Similemes to Create a Unified Theme||102|
|Odyssey, Book 22: Similes to Interpret Typical Actions||112|
|Odyssey, Book 5: Thematic Similes||118|
|Iliad, Book 13: The Ordering of Conscious Chaos||130|
|Iliad, Book 17: Similes as Guides through a Series of Type Scenes||145|
|Iliad, Book 16: Similes for Complexity||155|
|The Creative Poet and the Co-creating Audience||174|
|The Simile within the Narrative||174|
|The Poet’s Choices in Forming the Individual Simile||181|
|The Creative Moment: Poet and Audience||185|
|Charts of Similemes: The Basic Motifs||189|
Last Updated: 3/13/14