Individual epics have been covered by many books, but few of these are easily accessible to the student of ancient literature or the general reader. Beginning with Homer and concluding with an overview of the development of the late ancient epic and of the interface between the epic and novel, Peter Toohey guides the reader through the major classical writers of epic.
"Reading Epic" offers an interpretation of the meaning, ' not simply a description of the story, of these poems within the intellectual constraints of the era in which they were written. In most cases these readings are provided within the format of interpretative paraphrase. The intention is to help new readers with the story and with its ideas at the same time.
Toohey's readings provide clear and reliable introductions to the central Greek and Latin epics, and to the genre as a whole. At the same time they act as a suggestive and provocative starting point.