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There is a constant barrier between the reader and his consciousness of immediate contact with the world.

William Carlos Williams

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Sunday, April 6th, 2008

🦋 Robert Fagles R.I.P.

Robert Fagles died this week, 74 years old. I am sorry to hear about it. I just loved his translations of Homer -- reading them really opened my ears to what epic poetry should sound like. I heard him read from Ulysses one Bloomsday several years back; if I remember right he signed my Iliad. (Sure where it is, I am however not; since then I got the big hardcover printing of his Iliad and Odyssey when they were published together. I wonder where I put the paperback copy? I may have loaned it out.) One of these days I will get to reading the Æneid, and I will be glad there is a Fagles translation available. (I remember making a start on Fitzgerald's translation, in my teens -- somebody gave it to me for my birthday one year -- and finding it impenetrable.)

Looking at his Wikipædia entry, I see he also translated the Oresteia, the Theban plays of Sophocles, and the poems of Bacchylides. Of these, I loved Lattimore's Oresteia when I read it long ago (in a way I did not love his translations of Homer); I never would have thought a new translation was needed. And yet I would probably recommend Fagles unread to someone who asked what translation they should get. Lattimore's Sophocles did not make much of an impression on me; I ought to read Fagles'. Bacchylides I have never heard of (to the best of my recollection).

posted afternoon of April 6th, 2008: Respond
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Thursday, February 24th, 2011

🦋 Sophistry

I was happy to stumble upon Dion Chrysostom's 11th discourse, Maintaining that Troy was not captured. Kirill Yeskov cites Chrysostom as "the founder of this literary tradition of playing with others’ masks and backdrops" -- Chrysostom argues that Homer cannot be trusted as a reliable narrator, that the Achæans were in fact defeated at Troy. A refreshing read. Chrysostom's To Plato in defense of Homer has been lost to the ages.

posted evening of February 24th, 2011: Respond

Thursday, October third, 2013

🦋 Who can write a history of leaves?

Alice Oswald has won the 2013 Warwick Prize for Writing for her astonishing Memorial. Here is the final scene of her vision of the Trojan War, the death of Hector:

posted evening of October third, 2013: Respond
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