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Stripped of its plot, the 'Iliad' is a scattering of names and biographies of ordinary soldiers: men who trip over their shields, lose their courage or miss their wives. In addition to these, there is a cast of anonymous people: the farmers, walkers, mothers, neighbours who inhabit its similes.
If you put a real leaf and a silk leaf side by side, you'll see something of the difference between Homer's poetry and anyone else's. There seem to be real leaves still alive in the 'Iliad,' real animals, real people, real light attending everything.
It's hard to write a war story without thinking about the 'Iliad.' Because the 'Iliad' knows everything about war.
Fiction has consisted either of placing imaginary characters in a true story, which is the Iliad, or of presenting the story of an individual as having a general historical value, which is the Odyssey.
When I was nine, I started reading Homer. I would get up at four o'clock in the morning, before I had to go to school, in third or fourth grade, and, for several hours, I would read 'The Iliad' or 'The Odyssey.'