Thursday, 12 August 2010

BEDA - Day Eleven - Homer's The Iliad: The Bore, The Beauty, and The Whiny Bitches Part One

Part One:

STARTED 02/08/10: I have finally retired from the battles of Troy leaving a mess of dog-eared pages and worn edges behind me.

I have been reading the Iliad by good ol' Homer (whom I shall always envision as a bearded man with yellow skin, eating donuts in a robe) for almost a year. On and off, off and on, the ending evaded me with so many little distractions and just the sheer confusion that is a world I have not been taught before.

It feels so good to have finished this book and since it has always been beside me and has been carried around Manhattan with me for such a large sum of time, I simply couldn't let this event pass in front of me and my cold feet, I had to do something for it. One can't simply survive the pain of a Greek Classic with all its beauty and all its bores without something to show for it... and a conversation over wine with my Dad about the epic simply will not do!

Therefore, in this blog post, (and ahem, "Turn back all ye that enter here," it too is of rather epic proportions) I will be reporting on the book, discussing Homer and the translator, W.H.D. Rouse, record a brief "history" of the events (if they even occurred) and then will be finishing with a list of my favourite lines and quotes (really for my own personal reference) and a list of things to read or watch next - if you're interested (but once again, this is mainly for my own future reference.)

I know, I should write for you, but I'm indulging myself here, I think all who read the Iliad should ; )

Before I begin, I should note that finishing this book is such a big deal to me because in school, I was not taught about the Classics, I knew about them, of course, who doesn't? But for some reason, most of my English teachers weren't very good at teaching much of anything anyone else I know might have studied. I believe I read one sci-fi novel and read The Taming of the Shrew on my own and in Year 12 with our one good teacher for only a term, Mr. K, we read and discussed Hamlet, but other than that... English consisted of copying off the projected writing on the white board, copying out of textbooks and never feeling like we finished anything.

That's why, since I'm not and probably will never go to college (sadly), I must take this effort by myself. Since over the past three years of YouTube I felt my brain soften and get a little lumpy, and now I'm trying to do it some good.

Feel free to correct me on grammar, my knowledge or anything, I'll appreciate it. Just be considerate please, I'm a human and though I may not know what you know, I know plenty of things that you don't, too.


Greg said...

Don't say "never" about going to college... take it from someone who is...a little bit... older than you, who just went back to college a few months ago. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your entries.. and I'll try to be kind if I correct anything... although the chances of my correcting anything aren't very great, since it's been a long time since I've read any Homer.

davidlefool said...

Calling your teacher Mr K makes me think you were being taught by a character in a Franz Kafka novel.

I'd be interested to know if they had donut stores back in Homer's time. Inevitably, scholars have questioned whether Homer even existed, theorising that the Odyssey and the Iliad are composites of different stories moulded together over centuries by various singing bards before versions were written down in the forms in which they have survived into modern times (or something; I prefer baked beans, don't you?)

The Machiavellian Teapot and The Antediluvian Diva

ADB said...

If you wish to go to college, then do it! Or you could do what a bunch of my work colleagues (aged 22-34) are doing and do a course via Open University. Not sure if that covers the US, or Australia (depending on where you are now), but many people in the UK use it. If it doesn't, perhaps there is a US (or Oz) equivalent?