My year with Achill

  • The Iliad, Death and Life
  • Jonas Grethlein
  • Literature

Vengeful, angry and violent – this is how Achilles appears in Homer’s Iliad. Hardly a figure one turns to in search of comfort. And yet it is this gloomy hero that classical philologist Jonas Grethlein seeks to confront when he falls seriously ill at the age of 27.

The diagnosis quickly wipes away hopes, plans and wishes. In Achilles, who – facing his own death – returns to the battle for Troy, the author recognizes the awareness of existential vulnerability that grew out of his experience of illness.

In a deeply moving way, Grethlein interweaves his fate with the questions that Homer’s epic has been asking people for millennia.

Prof. Dr. Jonas Grethlein has held the Chair of Greek Literature at the University of Heidelberg since 2008. Ancient literature and narrative strategies are among his main research interests.

Foto: Sarina Chamatova

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