About a month ago, I decided I want to read all the English translations of Homer’s The Odyssey. Given the dozens in existence, “all” will probably be interpreted loosely. But that is not the subject of today’s discussion. Today, I want to talk about, well, what the title of this piece says. Continue reading “Why I’m reading all the English translations of The Odyssey”
My April reads, in one handy place. *smiles, waves, blows kisses* Continue reading “Hesiod’s Theogony and more April 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
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”
Ooops … time got away from me, and it has been too long. But here I am again with two months worth of reading adventures, including what I’m confident will be my favorite read of 2018: Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey. Continue reading “The Odyssey and more February and March 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.
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?”
In English literature, the novel is a newer genre as compared to poetry and drama. It’s easy to forget prose fiction narratives existed in the ancient world. It doesn’t help that so few ancient novels survived. One that enchanted me in December is The Golden Ass by Apuleius.
Mid-January feels like a good time for a reading year review of 2017. In recent years, I’ve done my best to stop fussing over how many books or pages I read as compared to an arbitrary goal or my previous reading year. But two developments this year captured my attention.
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.
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”