Why Homer Matters: Reading the ‘Iliad’ and the ‘Odyssey’ Today

Bard College

Joseph Luzzi (PhD, Yale) is the Asher B. Edelman Professor of Literature and Faculty Member in Italian Studies at Bard College, and he taught previously at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in The New York Times, TLS, The London Times, the Guardian, Chronicle of Higher Education, and on National Public Radio. Dr. Luzzi’s awards include a Yale College Teaching Prize, Dante Society of America Essay Prize, and Wallace Fellowship at Villa I Tatti, Harvard’s Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. He is the author of five books and recently created The Virtual Book Club: an international community of readers dedicated to exploring major literary works past and present.



What makes the magnificent epic poems of the ancient Greek poet Homer still relevant to our contemporary world? How can his masterpieces the Illiad and Odyssey help us make sense of some of the greatest cultural, political, and social problems we face? In this presentation, Professor Luzzi will explore the magnificent world of Homeric epic in relation to such contemporary issues as the effects of endless war, the nature of honor and the costs of ambition, the claims of fame, and the idea of home itself.





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Linda Sainsbury


Prof. Lizzie always manages to bring to life the amazing works of great writers/philosophers and stirs interest to read these classic works! Love his passion and enthusiasm for his profession!

11 months ago
Wendy Meer

Why Homer Matter

Professor Luzzi, I love all your lectures. You’re the best. If anyone can get humans to read more, it’s you. Thank you many times over!

11 months ago
Maggie Olmstead

Very well done

I have much better understanding of the background of the two stories now.

10 months ago
MaryMargaret Cronin

Melts my heart

This was such a warm and wonderful reflection on two books that I have studied and learned to love over the past two years. But Professor Luzzi made them dance in my mind with an even more buoyant step – thanks so much!!

10 months ago
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