World Literature: Norton Anthology – The Iliad by Homer

The Iliad by Homer

I want us to recognize that our perceptions of “civilization” are part of an elaborate construct, meaning that our understanding of “civilization” is not innate. “Civilization,” as we know it, is, like many of the other ideas to which we subscribe, an invented idea. The Polynesians have invented their idea of what it means to be civilized, and so have the Aborigines of Australia and the Kung tribe in Africa, etc. etc.

I want you to discuss how The Iliad has contributed to our notion of civilization. Particularly, I want you to explore in your posts the following topics: the us vs. them dichotomy, gender roles, and the special quality of humans in this epic poem being the pinnacles of creation.

It’s a tall order, but this will get us thinking about the unique relevance of literature in our society.

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