For thousands of years, Homer's ancient epic poem the Iliad has enchanted readers from around the world. When you join Professor Vandiver for this lecture series on the Iliad, you'll come to understand what has enthralled and gripped so many people.
Her compelling 12-lecture look at this literary masterpiece - whether it's the work of many authors or the "vision" of a single blind poet - makes it vividly clear why, after almost 3,000 years, the Iliad remains not only among the greatest adventure stories ever told but also one of the most compelling meditations on the human condition ever written.
As you'll learn, the grandeur and immediacy of Homer's world would seem to defy time and space. Throughout these lectures, you'll explore this legendary era in brilliant, unforgettable hues. You'll meet its towering heroes who thirst for honor and the gods who inspired and instigated them. You'll go deep inside the shattering battles at Troy that act out mankind's awesome passions for glory, love, and vengeance. But more than that, you'll focus on the timeless human issues this masterpiece raises, all of them evoked by the power of a single dramatic question: Why does Achilles rage? The limits of freedom, the common humanity we share, the line between justice and revenge, the nature of destiny, the meaning of life - Professor Vandiver uses the Iliad as a potent lens through which to study them all.
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Vandiver never disappoints
When I first read the Iliad of Homer on my own, I thought it a hyper-violent war story with deeply unsympathetic characters who let petty disputes plunge their societies into disaster. However, Professor Vandiver's lectures gaves the historical and cultural background for the Iliad, helping me to understand why Agamemnon's actions were so deeply insulting to Achilles, while also illuminating how the Iliad is a timeless work of literature that speaks to the human condition today. These lectures are a must if you want to really understand this famous epic.
All of Prof. Vandiver's lectures on classical literature are highly recommended for anyone even the slightest bit interested in the subject. She brings so much background and insight to the great tales of Ancient Greece, illuminating small points that I overlooked when reading on my own. In addition, she is a first-rate lecturer, and keeps her discussions engaging throughout. Her conversational tone keeps her lectures free from the pedantry and pretentiousness that some lecturers suffer from. I have all of her Teaching Company courses, and love all of them.
Vandiver's lectures on the Odyssey of Homer make a great companion piece to this lecture series, and come just as highly recommended.
- David I. Williams