The earliest and greatest works of Greek literature - the Iliad and the Odyssey - have been attributed since antiquity to the poet Homer. This concise book is an ideal introduction to the poet and his two great epics. Assuming no prior knowledge of Greek, the author supplies all the background information necessary to understand the poems. The book presents an overview of the "Homeric question," considering the authorship, composition, and transmission of the poems. It provides the historical background to the epics, literary readings of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and an analysis of the poet's plotting, narrative technique, and characterization. The author uses comparisons between the two poems to illustrate Homeric poetics. A final section reviews the important secondary literature on Homer and offers a guide to further reading. Throughout, the author makes use of his own original research, especially on the relations between Greek alphabetic writing and the origins of Greek literature.