Homer and the Heroic Tradition.
Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Mass.), 1967.3rd impr. XV,365p. Original terracotta cloth with dust wrps. Chart printed to inside cover, as well as to folding plate. Dust wrps slightly worn to the edges. Signature on free endpaper. ‘Students of Homer should be grateful to Cedric Whitman for this work, new and refreshing in approach and content, in its avoidance of animus and polemic. (…) In this work one discovers a judicious mind, a sensitive reading of Homer’s poetry and a wide range of scholarly competence. Whitman is a unitarian neither naive nor assertive, who sets as his task to show ‘the intuitive, poetic logic of the ‘Iliad’’, the cohesiveness which gives it its force. His argument is from design: the hand of of a master with skilful deployment of formulaic speech has imposed upon traditional material an inner unity of structure and imagistic consistency. Less stressed at the outset but emerging as a major thesis is the view that the unity of the ‘Iliad’ derives from a conception of heroism (p.14) which can only be a personal and individual one. (…) He shows the important contribution to be made to Homeric studies by archeologist and linguist as well as anthropologist, folklorist et alii. He hopes less to extract a conclusion (…) than to find a ‘justifiable attitude, an honest approach, from the detailed findings of specialised researches, with all their doubts, reservations, and scientific suspension of judgment. Whitman properly holds in high esteem Milman Parry’s contribution to our understanding of the oral nature of Homeric verse. But Parry’s findings are only the beginning of Whitman’s analysis of Homeric style and composition.’ (JAMES ARMSTRONG in The Classical Journal, 1959, p.232).