Status of the universe: It’s complicated

Complicated

Current reads:

The Odyssey by Homer, translated by E. V. Rieu
Helen and Trojan Women by Euripides
The Poems of Hesiod, translated by Barry B. Powell

Current thoughts:

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my first response to the first line of Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey: “Tell me about a complicated man.” Relief. It was a feeling similar to when you have a word on the tip of your tongue but can’t recall it. It’s maddening. For a second, you think you have it, but it slips away. And then someone says it. They give you the word, and now you can relax. Continue reading “Status of the universe: It’s complicated”

The Oresteia by Aeschylus and more January reads

January reads

As February is slipping away, it’s past time to revisit my excellent January reads. So with no further preamble…

January reads: Ancient Greece

The Oresteia: “Agamemnon,” “Libation Bearers,” and “Eumenides” by Aeschylus

The Oresteia follows Agamemnon’s return from Troy, his murder at the hands of his wife (Clytemnestra) and lover (Aegisthus), his son Orestes’ revenge killing of them, and Orestes’ murder trial.

Continue reading “The Oresteia by Aeschylus and more January reads”

Why is Medusa’s sad backstory so rarely told in Greek myth retellings?

Medusa

One of my favorite stories from Greek mythology is the popular version of Perseus and Andromeda’s myth.

It’s one of the few I can recall in which the hero does NOT come to grief. Perseus does NOT enrage the gods via a fit of hubris. He does NOT suffer a tragic punishment. He fulfills his quest to chop off Medusa’s head, marries Andromeda, and they live happily ever after in the stars. Literally. The gods immortalize them as the constellations Perseus and Andromeda. Continue reading “Why is Medusa’s sad backstory so rarely told in Greek myth retellings?”

Reading Wrap-Up: December Reads

December reads

December reads? December rereads, more like. Six of the 10 books I read were books I’ve read before … in some cases multiple times. The holiday season is a time for nostalgia, apparently.

December reads

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5) by Rick Riordan

This completed my 2017 rereading of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I’d forgotten how cleverly done the last book was. The first four draw on Greek mythology in fun and silly ways. The last book uses character development and plot to engage with ideas and questions ancient Greek mythology wrestled with and explored. My favorites: Your fatal flaw can also be your greatest strength. And: Is it possible for heroes to survive their own hubris? Continue reading “Reading Wrap-Up: December Reads”