Eva Brann demonstrates a way of reading Homer's poems that yields up their hidden treasures. With an alert eye for Homer's extraordinary visual effects and a keen ear for the musicality of his language, she helps the reader see the flickering campfires of the Greeks and hear the roar of the surf and the singing of nymphs. In Homeric Moments, Brann takes readers beneath the captivating surface of the poems to explore the inner connections and layers of meaning that have made the epics "the marvel of the ages."
"Written with wit and clarity, this book will be of value to those reading the Odyssey and the Iliad for the first time and to those teaching it to beginners."—Library Journal
"Homeric Moments is a feast for the mind and the imagination, laid out in clear and delicious prose. With Brann, old friends of Homer and new acquaintances alike will rejoice in the beauty, and above all the humanity, of the epics." —Jacob Howland, University of Tulsa, Author of The Paradox of Political Philosophy
"In Homeric Moments, Eva Brann lovingly leads us, as she has surely led countless students, through the gallery of delights that is Homer's poetry. Brann's enthusiasm is as infectious as her deep familiarity with the works is illuminating."—Rachel Hadas
"Brann invites us to enter a conversation [about Homer] in which information and formal arguments jostle with appreciations and frank conjectures and surmises to increase our pleasure and deepen the inward dimension of our humanity."—Richard Freis, Millsaps College
"For anyone eager to experience the profundity and charm of Homer's great epic poems, Eva Brann's book will serve as a passionate and engaging guide. Brann displays a deep sensitivity to the cadence and flow of Homeric poetry, and the kind of knowing intimacy with its characters that comes from years of teaching and contemplation. Her relaxed but informative approach succeeds in conveying the grandeur of the great Homeric heroes, while making them continually resonate for our own lives. Brann helps us see that this poetry has an urgency for our own era as much as it did for a distant past."—Ralph M. Rosen, University of Pennsylvania, Author of Old Comedy and The Iambographic Tradition
"The most enjoyable books about Homer are always written by those who have read and taught him the most. Eva Brann's collection of astute observations, unusual asides, and visual snapshots of the Iliad and the Odyssey reveals a lifelong friendship with the poet, and is as pleasurable as it is informative. Homeric Moments is rare erudition without pedantry, in a tone marked by good sense without levity."—Victor Davis Hanson, author of The Other Greeks and co-author of Who Killed Homer?
In fourteen essays, Eva Brann talks with readers about the conversations Socrates engages in with his fellow Athenians. In doing so, she shows how Plato’s dialogues and the timeless matters they address remain important to us today.
The Music of the Republic “will establish [Eva Brann] as one of the great readers and interpreters of the Platonic dialogues in modern times.”—Bruce Foltz, Eckerd College
“It is a wonder and a delight to be led by Eva Brann through the Socratic conversations…Those who do not know the Republic will be initiated into its treasures. Those who believe that it is a great book will understand better what they already know. And all who teach the dialogues will find their souls expanded in the presence of this most generous teacher.” —Ann Hartle, Emory University
“In these wonderfully insightful essays, Eva Brann helps us hear the music of Plato’s dialogues and join the conversation…I found myself filled with envy for her students and happy, with this book, to now be included among them.”—Anthony T. Kronman, Yale University
"The title essay of this collection is a miniature masterpiece, one of the most seminal writings of our time on Plato's Republic."—John Sallis, Pennsylvania State University
In “Mile-high Meditations,” her flight’s late departure from the Denver airport prompts a consideration of her manner of waiting (i.e.,“being”). As she looks around, she notes (and compares to her own) the ways her fellow travelers pass their time. These observations lead her to wonder how each of us lives with ourselves and how we live together—and put up with one another.
With these questions in mind, the next two essays carefully examine two famous political documents that have shaped American self-understanding: James Madison’s “Memorial and Remonstrance,” which is the essential argument for separation of church and state; and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which enlarged and refashioned our understanding of the American political character, first given formal expression in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
In “Paradox of Obedience,” a lecture delivered at the Air Force Academy, Brann considers the puzzling character of obedience in a country dedicated to liberty.
The concluding piece, “The Empire of the Sun and the West,” takes us to Aztec Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest. What allowed Cortes and his handful of men to overcome a great empire? In pursuit of an answer, Brann describes a human type whose fulfillment she sees in the American character.
In the first essay, Brann parses out the schema and meaning of Herodotus's The History (The Persian Wars). She writes that Herodotus worked by indirection. Giving a full account of the Persians and the peoples who constituted their empire—and whose empire encircled the Greeks (thus the "Greek center")—Herodotus delineates the essential difference between the Barbarians and the Greeks. This difference Brann calls Athens' "elusive essence," its freedom contrasting with the slavery upon which the Persian empire depended.
In the second essay, the author delves into what it means for a person to unite a disposition toward conservatism with a capacity to reiterate and rehearse events, scenes, and dramas in "the conservatory of the imagination." To uncover the meanings and consequences of this union—this imaginative conservatism—and the type of soul to which it applies, Brann offers twelve perspectives, starting with "Temperamental Disposition" and ending with "Eccentric Centrality" (without ever explicitly focusing on politics). Join her and you'll find both delight and education.