Tuesday, October 24, 2023

The Iliad

In his reviews of Homer and His Iliad By Robin Lane Fox and Emily Wilson’s translation of The Iliad (TLS 10/6/23) Nick Lowe remarks that The Odyssey has a limited scope ie “home and family” compared to the Iliad which “is about something different for each year’s reading or intake of students, routinely turning out all along to be about something we never noticed until it happened in front of us…At the heart it is the story of one man’s double discovery that the rules of his world are a consensual fiction, yet the consequences of trying to live outside them are more terrible than he has been able to imagine.” Not a bad iteration! You might say it’s a little like Thucydides who stuck to the facts and Herodotus who could be more transcendent in his approach to history. Interesting it's The Odyssey not The Iliad, however, that inspired Joyce's Ulysses. The notion of finding different interpretations every time one returns to The Iliad is true of most great works of art from Oedipus to Hamlet. You never see the same thing when you view one of Rembrandt’s "tronies." As Pound said: "make it new."

read the review of Francis Levy's The Kafka Studies Department on Booklife

and listen to Francis Levy's playlist for The Kafka Studies Department on Largehearted Boy

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