Roberta Stewart

Classics Professor and Veterans Read Homer

Every Monday, about a dozen veterans, whose service ranges from World War II to Afghanistan, gather in the Murray Room of Hanover’s Howe Library. They are members of a book group started six years ago by Dartmouth Department of Classics Chair Roberta Stewart. But the veterans don’t read a rotating selection of best sellers or historical tomes. Rather, during each 10-to-12 week session, they read one of two works by Homer: The Odyssey or The Iliad. This spring, it happens to be the latter.

“We talk about what Homer knew and how he understood the problems of war,” says Stewart, who has been teaching Latin, Greek, and ancient history at Dartmouth since 1990. “It’s a book group that takes the intellectual experience of the classroom—engaging with a piece of world literature—and moves it out of the campus and into the public sphere.”