Studies on Homer and the Homeric Age

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Four-time prime minister William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898) was also a prolific author and enthusiastic scholar of the classics. Gladstone had spent almost two decades in politics prior to his writing the three-volume Studies on Homer and the Homeric Age. This work and the preceding 'On the place of Homer in classical education and in historical inquiry' (1857), reflect Gladstone's interest in the Iliad and the Odyssey, which he read with increasing frequency from the 1830s onward and which he viewed as particularly relevant to modern society. As he relates, he has two objects in the Studies: 'to promote and extend' the study of Homer's 'immortal poems' and 'to vindicate for them ...their just degree both of absolute and, more especially, of relative critical value'. Volume 3 examines Greek polities of this period before returning to the poems themselves, their plots, characters and the beauty of their language.