James Porter '77 Examines Homer as Cultural Phenomenon
In the fall, James Porter '77, professor and the Irving Stone chair in literature, rhetoric and classics program in critical theory at the University of California Berkeley, delivered the eighth annual Martin Ostwald lecture, named in honor of Ostwald, who taught honors seminars at Swarthmore for over 30 years and combined Germanic philological rigor with a relaxed, conversational style.
Porter’s talk, "What Did Homer See?" is a chapter from his upcoming book, Homer: The Very Idea, which focuses on invention and reception of Homer from antiquity to the present. Porter was also recently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and is using the opportunity to pursue his work on literary aesthetics after Aristotle.
“My focus in is not on Homer as a text. Or that has been read or adapted – but on Homer as a cultural phenomenon, concept and point of concern and fascination around which whole disciplines of literature and entire bodies of knowledge have come to be organized over the millennia.” says Porter, a former student of Ostwald.