Hesiod’s Works and Days. Myth, Realism and Every Man

Hesiod’s Works and Days is exemplary of the literary genre of didactic poetry. Hesiod of Works and Days has been often compared to Biblical prophets Isaiah and Amos, and to the Biblical sections of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs, in spite of its apparent references to pagan mythology. Nicoletta Asciuto contextualizes Hesiod’s works, and offers a comparison between Homer’s prologues to the Iliad and Odyssey and Hesiod’s to Works and Days. This lecture investigates what has changed from the epic prologue to Hesiod’s more didactic one. Ultimately, the latter’s importance for Western literature is not only due to his mythological tales, but also to his use of realism, and of first-person narration. [MP3 version]

This lecture was recorded as part of Easter Lectures Day 2014, when postgraduate researchers delivered fresh insights into key undergraduate exam topics. Easter Lectures Day was organised by Laura McKenzie.

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