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Archive for November, 2010

Ulysses and the Sirens, HJ Draper, 1909

Sexy, sexy peril.

I still feel sort of bad about the Iliad leaving me so cold. I understand its importance, its primacy, even, as one of the first works of western literature. I can sort of appreciate the beauty of the language (it’s hard to judge when reading a translation, especially one that is prose rather than verse). But at the end of the day, to me it seemed like endless, repetitive battles and Olympian politics, and there were too many important characters for me to latch on to or feel sympathetic towards.

The Odyssey was different: I loved it.

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I didn’t really like the Iliad, as I mentioned earlier (you know, a month ago), but after I’d read it I found that some of the stylized language was sticking with me. Specifically the epithets. Ox-eyed Hera, lovely-maned horses, Hektor of the glinting helmet/gleaming armor/ godlike strength, and so on and so forth. It began to seep into my internal monologue: my husband became T– of the deadly thundersnore, my infant daughter dribble-chinned E, and at the foot of my bed slept no mere tabby, but soft-footed Quinn of the lovely stripes.

The most likely explanation for my brief obsession is that I don’t get out that much. The other is that thinking like this makes one’s daily life seem a little more… epic. Try it:

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