To my teachers, who taught me the pleasures and privileges as well as the methods and responsibilities of scholarship.


It is a great pleasure to acknowledge the assistance of many people who shaped this book during its maturation, and who encouraged me during my work on it in less obvious ways. Homeric Conversation began as a doctoral dissertation, and my first and deepest thanks go to Gregory Nagy, who advised my thesis. He has offered me unstinting encouragement, guidance, and collegiality over the years, which I have valued and enjoyed more than I can say. He stands at the head of the group of teachers to whom this book is dedicated. Carolyn Higbie has been unfailingly generous over many years with her expertise and good sense on a wide range of subjects, including but not limited to Homeric poetry. One of Richard Thomas’ comments on my dissertation pointed me in the direction that eventually resulted in this book.
Several other colleagues have read the manuscript at different stages. I am glad to thank Richard Martin, Leonard Muellner, Richard Tarrant, and the anonymous readers for helpful comments. Needless to say, I am entirely responsible for the errors and shortcomings that remain. Several colleagues at the Pennsylvania State University were generous with their expertise: Philip Baldi helped me with the different disciplines of linguistics that relate to conversation, although he is not to be blamed for my failings as a linguist; Gary Knoppers provided valuable support and guidance in writing press proposals; Daniel Mack at the Pattee Library never failed to come up with exactly the right book, no matter how vague, comprehensive, or opaque my initial query to him might be. Casey Dué was extremely prompt and responsive as an editor and made the production of the manuscript for publication a painless and straightforward business. I used the TLG-D and E CDs for much of the philogical legwork, under an individual license from the TLG. I would also like to thank Jennifer Trimble, whose professional judgment and intelligent feedback is constantly indispensible to me. My final thanks go to my colleagues and students at Swarthmore College, whose interest in what I have to say about Homer helped me to bring this project to completion.