Category Archives: Homer

Homer’s Warning about Revenge Killings

What will it take to bring peace between police and black communities? Homer has a vision of such a truce at the end of “The Odyssey” but it may not be realistic.

Also posted in Clifton (Lucille), Silko (Leslie Marmon) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lily, Achilles, Bertha & Ishmael on Vacation

Lily Bart, Bertha Mason, Achilles, Ishmael and Queequeg all go on vacation. Where do they go?

Also posted in Bronte (Charlotte), Melville (Herman) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Trump’s Use of the Homeric Epithet

Donald Trump is making regular use of “the Homeric epithet.” He doesn’t use it as well as Homer, however.

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How To Pin Down Protean Donald Trump

Trying to pin down Donald Trump is like trying to pin down Proteus. But maybe that means that reporters can use the same tactics that Menelaus does to capture the sea god.

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Peyton: Old Age Hath Yet His Honor

Two narratives clash on Super Bowl Sunday: the return of the king vs. the aging king that must be overthrown. Is Peyton Manning Odysseus and the Panthers the suitors? Or is he the dragon who must yield to the next generation?

Also posted in Tennyson (Alfred Lord) | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Odyssey Speaks to Today’s Refugees

“The Odyssey” looked different to a literature teacher after he taught it to a class of Syrian, Iraqi and Palestinian refugees. Homer’s poem challenges us to open our own hearts to those fleeing persecution and war.

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Lit vs. the Evils of History–More Debate

While literature can seem helpless in the face of history’s cataclysms, it proves far more durable than the events that seem to overwhelm it.

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Fox, Like Odysseus, Tries to Gouge Trump

A Salon columnist compares Trump to the Cyclops in “The Odyssey.” He has a point.

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Plato Anxious about Lit’s Pyschic Impact

Plato’s complaints about literature show up in censorship battles today. They testify to power of literature to invite imitation.

Also posted in Aeschylus, Hesiod, Plato | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Complex Inner Life of Teachers

Lily King’s “The English Teacher” is filled with literary lllusions, most of them thematically important.

Also posted in Beowulf Poet, Eliot (T.S.), Faulkner (William), Hardy (Thomas), Joyce (James), King (Lily), Poe (Edgar Allan), Twain (Mark) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

In Praise of the Liberal Arts

NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof recently sang the praises of the liberal arts and talked about the vital importance of literature.

Also posted in Hemingway (Ernest), Hosseini (Khaled), Lahiri (Jhumpa), Morrison (Toni) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Violating Political Norms Exacts a Price

Those who break political norms must keep in mind the lessons of Bolingbroke’s rebellion in Richard II.

Also posted in Shakespeare (William), Updike (John) | Leave a comment

Loud Sneezes, a Sign from the Gods

My loud sneezes, according to Homer, as a sign from the gods.

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The Return of King James

Lebron’s return to Cleveland is like Odysseus’ return to Ithaka.

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Warning Labels for the Classics

Suggestions that certain classics come with “trigger warnings” leads of the following reflection.

Also posted in Chaucer (Geoffrey), Milton (John), Sir Gawain Poet, Sophocles, Wilde (Oscar) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Competing Heroic Narratives in Super Bowl

One Super Bowl narrative: Manning as the return of the king. Another narrative: Manning as Laius blocking the way of the next generation. Plus: Belichick-Welker in Oedipal drama.

Also posted in Sophocles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zeus Predicts that Broncos Will Win

A passage in the Odyssey forecasts that Peyton Manning will win the Super Bowl.

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JFK as Ancient Greek Hero

Ancient Greek literature provides us with a power lens through which to examine the John F. Kennedy assassination.

Also posted in Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Manning vs. Brady, Hector vs. Achilles

Once again Manning and Brady square off, reminding us of Achilles and Hector.

Posted in Homer | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Needed in Congress: A Deus Ex Machina

If Boehner channeled the spirit of Athena in “The Odyssey,” he could reopen the government tomorrow.

Also posted in Euripides | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lebron Explodes for Epic Performance

Lebron’s third quarter explosion against Indiana on Thursday night was Homeric.

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The Iliad and Higher Ed’s MOOCish Future

MOOCs–Massive Open On-line Courses–can never teach lit as well as small classes.

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Antigone Would Bury Boston Bomber

Sophocles and Homer present compelling cases for granting full funeral rights to the Boston Marathon bomber.

Also posted in Sophocles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Kevin Durant Suffer Akhilleus’s Fate?

Kevin Durant is like Akhilleus. In more ways than one.

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NFL Rookie QBs and Mac the Knife

RGIII, Russell Wilson, and Andrew Luck are escape artists in the mode of Mac the Knife.

Also posted in Gay (John), Harris (Joel Chandler), St. Vincent Millay (Edna) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pinning Down Protean Politicians

In his evasiveness and malleability, Romney resembles the Greek sea god Proteus.

Posted in Homer | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Sons Must Kill Their Fathers, Alas

There’s is no easy way for son’s to find their identities apart from their fathers, but they have no choice but to try.

Also posted in Diderot (Denis), Shakespeare (William), Stendahl | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Crowd Intoxication and the Call of the Gods

Athena visiting Odysseus at a critical point in battle represents the sort of intuitive decisions that we associate with great athletes and geniuses.

Posted in Homer | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Spain’s Tiger Burning Less Bright

Did the god that made the elegant strokes of Roger Federer also make the bruising style of Nadal? Like William Blake gazing at the lamb and the tiger in “Tyger, Tyger,” we can only shake our heads bemused.

Also posted in Blake (William) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

James as Telemachus to Wade’s Odysseus

Lebron James is not the king but the sidekick, not Michael Jordan but Scottie Pippen. In literary terms, he is not King Odysseus but Prince Telemachus. His teammate Dwyane Wade is the king of the franchise.

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Bulls vs. Heat, a Homeric Battle

I designate the Miami Heat as the Greeks in Homer’s Iliad. After all, they represent a kind of dream team, kings from different city states coming together to seek glory. The Bulls are like the Trojans in that they have only one top-tier fighter. Derrick Bell is their Hector.

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