Epic Facework: Self-presentation and Social Interaction in Homer

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Classical Press of Wales, 2008 - Literary Criticism - 177 pages
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Homer's characters are often very far from an unreflecting struggle for status at others' expense. Rather than being a 'zero-sum game', their negotiations can be of an impressive delicacy, designed to protect the 'face' of the other. Gifts and visible deference are important measures of honour, but characters also care about what others really feel. This sensitive study reveals that at the beginnings of (surviving) Greek literature Homer's audience is expected to appreciate psychology and self-control of a very high order. Literary analysts, historians, anthropologists and indeed archaeologists will have much to learn here about the general level of sophistication of the historic and prehistoric societies which generated such deeply civilized poetry.

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Managing face
Ransom and revenge

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About the author (2008)

Ruth Scodel is currently D. R. Shackleton Bailey Collegiate Professor of Greek and Latin in the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan. Her most recent books are Epic Facework: Self-Presentation and Social Interaction in Homer (2008) and Whither Quo Vadis? Sienkiewicz's Novel in Film and Television (2008). She is also the author of numerous articles on Greek literature.

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