In exploring the significance of Homer for the poetry of modern Greece - benign shade or looming shadow? - Dr Ricks is tackling a theme that has implications for the study of poetic influence in general. He takes the work of Sikelianos, Cavafy and Seferis and subjects a selection of poems to a careful scrutiny. These poems are not imitations of Homer but fresh engagements with Homeric themes, and comparison of the modern versions with the original is found to be illuminating for the poets' methods of composition. Dr Ricks does not lose sight of the larger significance of his subject, and modern poets from outside Greece - Eliot and Pound, in particular - find their way into the discussion. All Greek is translated and the reader has no need to be a specialist in modern or in ancient Greek to find this study absorbing and instructive.
"...an invaluable guide to the poetry of modern Greece. His study is informed by a command of Homeric poetry and a long familiarity with the Iliad and Odyssey that allow him to recognize the many forms of allusion to Homer in modern Greek poetry, many of which would be invisible to the untrained eye. He clearly knows the full range of the poets he is working with, and this makes it possible for him to concentrate on their relation to Homer." Arion "The learning and sophistication displayed in this critical study...demonstrate how far the academic exploration of modern Greek literature has progressed...It is also among the book's virtues that it remains coherent and readable throughout, without recourse to the jargon or political bias of much contemporary criticism." Times Literary Supplement "The Shade of Homer is well researched, and Ricks provides a helpful list of books for further reading. It is a fascinating, very clearly written and effectively organized study that should prove valuable both for students of modern Greek poetry and for readers interested in the continuity of the classical tradition in modern literature." Bruce Fogelman, English "The case is proved to the hilt in this book of strenuous thinking and careful discrimination." Henry Gifford, Journal of Modern Greek Studies