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Friday, October 10th, 2008

An excellent first sentence

My brother showed me Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red -- I am interested right away just by the coincidental similarity of its title to My Name is Red -- but I just wanted to quote its opening sentence:

He came after Homer and before Gertrude Stein, a difficult interval for a poet.

posted morning of October 10th, 2008: Respond
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Stesichoros

That story is not true.
You never sailed in the benched ships.
You never went to the city of Troy.
      -- Stesichoros, "Palinode": quoted in Phædrus.
I've been reading some of the introductory material to Autobiography of Red this morning -- it is really interesting and makes me want to read this book sometime. Carson asserts (actually I am not sure if she is writing this introductory material in her own voice: maybe "Carson's narrator asserts") that "Stesichoros released being" by separating Homer's incantatory adjectives from the nouns to which they were attached, by inventing descriptive language.
Here we touch the core of the question "What difference did Stesichoros make?" When Gertrude Stein had to sum up Picasso she said, "This one was working." So say of Stesichoros, "This one was making adjectives."

posted afternoon of October 10th, 2008: 1 response

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