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A probing and much needed examination of "the tragic" as a concept distinct from tragedy as a genre

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Copyright © 2008, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted September and November 2008.

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Homer and the Dual Model of the Tragic interprets both of Homer's epics as demonstrating a sense of "the Tragic." While this view of human experience and society is customarily linked with Greek tragedy rather than epic, Rinon uses close readings of the texts to argue persuasively that both The Iliad and The Odyssey present a view of pathos interwoven with the knowledge that it is unavoidable and inexplicable.

Using Aristotle's Poetics as a guide toward defining eutuchia and dystuchia, Rinon analyzes specific sections of the epics. He touches on the Cyclops episode and its use of Bakhtinian "heteroglossia," on the use of Hephaestus' creativity in both epics in the emergence of tragic signification, and on Demodocus' songs in book 8 of The Odyssey as seen through André Gide's mise en abîme. Other detailed readings look at individual themes and characters in the poems, including the image of the dog, the speeches in the ninth book of The Iliad, and numerous minor characters.

Yoav Rinon's integration of classical philology, narratology, and post-colonial studies makes Homer and the Dual Model of the Tragic a widely interdisciplinary book, one that will appeal to both specialists and undergraduates in comparative literature, philosophy, and classical studies.

Yoav Rinon is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of General and Comparative Literature and the Department of Classics at The Hebrew University. His previous books include Sadian Reflections (2005) and Aristotle’s Poetics: Translation, Notes and Commentary (in Hebrew, 2003).

Cover credit: La Fragua de Vulcano, courtesy of Museo Nacional del Prado, Spain

"Rinon is a subtle and eloquent reader of Homer, capable of opening fresh perspectives on even some of the most familiar passages of the two epics."
---Stephen Halliwell, Professor of Greek, University of St. Andrews

"All students and teachers of Homer and Greek tragedy will profit much from a careful reading and consideration of Rinon's Work"
—Robert J. Rabel, University of Kentucky, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Read a review from Bryn Mawr Classical Review | 7.14.2009