The two great epics ascribed to Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey, are the earliest narrative poems in European literature. This survey gives a concise but detailed account of the present state of criticism of them. The debates about the date, authorship and origins of the epics are lucidly summarised, but the main thrust of the book is an examination of the poems in their own right, highlighting major issues such as the structure of the plots, the ethics of warfare, the nature of Homeric heroism, the functions of the gods, the relation between men and women, and the differences between the Odyssey and the Iliad. A concluding chapter quotes and analyses a number of key passages in a variety of translations. The notes and guide to further reading give clear guidance in the massive modern bibliography on these poems.