Tag Archives: Odyssey

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.

Posted in Clifton (Lucille), Homer, Silko (Leslie Marmon) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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?

Posted in Homer, Tennyson (Alfred Lord) | Also 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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Fox, Like Odysseus, Tries to Gouge Trump

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

Posted in Homer | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Complex Inner Life of Teachers

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

Posted in Beowulf Poet, Eliot (T.S.), Faulkner (William), Hardy (Thomas), Homer, Joyce (James), King (Lily), Poe (Edgar Allan), Shakespeare, Twain (Mark) | Also 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.

Posted in Hemingway (Ernest), Homer, Hosseini (Khaled), Lahiri (Jhumpa), Morrison (Toni) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 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.

Posted in Homer | Also tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Maybe the Gulfs Will Wash Us Down

Peyton Manning was not Homer’s Odysseus but Tennyson’s Ulysses.

Posted in Tennyson (Alfred Lord) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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.

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Zeus Predicts that Broncos Will Win

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

Posted in Homer | Also tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Needed in Congress: A Deus Ex Machina

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

Posted in Euripides, Homer | Also tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lebron Explodes for Epic Performance

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

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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.

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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.

Posted in Gay (John), Harris (Joel Chandler), Homer, St. Vincent Millay (Edna) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pinning Down Protean Politicians

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

Posted in Homer | Also 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.

Posted in Diderot (Denis), Homer, Shakespeare (William), Stendahl | Also 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 | Also tagged , , , | 3 Comments

One of Literature’s Sexiest Eating Scenes

Homer gains Fielding’s admiration by his ability to move seamlessly between epic grandeur and “the shameless dog of the belly.” Perhaps it is Homer’s dexterity that gives Fielding the idea for his own contribution to “Great Eating Scenes in Literature.”

Posted in Fielding (Henry) | Also 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.

Posted in Blake (William), Homer | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

At 60, a Comfortable Old Scarecrow

Having just turned 60, I’ve been thinking of Teiresias. Wise though the blind seer may be, his advice doesn’t help others that much. Aging, in other words, appears to require humility.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.), Euripides, Johnson (Samuel), Sophocles, Yeats (William Butler) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Judge Doty in the Role of Deus ex Machina

Sports Saturday Negotiations between the National Football League owners and the Players Association were at an impasse. The owners locking out the players seemed all but inevitable, along with suspension of the 2011 season.  Then the goddess Athena stepped in.  Taking the form of U.S. District Judge David Doty, she ordered the two sides to […]

Posted in Beowulf Poet, Homer | Also tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Rogers No Longer in Odysseus’ Shadow

Sports Saturday Something memorable occurred last Sunday in Dallas in addition to the Green Bay Packers bringing “Vince Lombardi home” in their Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Quarterback Aaron Rogers stepped out of the shadow of a legend. The literary equivalent that comes to mind is Homer’s Telemachus, but Rogers is Telemachus with […]

Posted in Homer, Tennyson (Alfred Lord), Uncategorized | Also tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Analyzing Loughner’s Booklist

Like much of America, I am still in a state of shock over Saturday’s shooting of a Congresswoman, a judge, and 16 others. Like many I wonder if this was an example of a disturbed mind encountering the inflamed political rhetoric that has come to characterize American political discourse. (Add Arizona’s permissive gun laws into […]

Posted in Aesop, Barrie (J. M.), Baum (L. Frank), Bradbury (Ray), Bukowski (Charles), Carroll (Lewis), Hemingway (Ernest), Hesse (Hermann), Hitler (Adolph), Homer, Huxley (Aldous), Juster (Norton(, Kesey (Ken), Lee (Harper), Marx (Karl), Orwell (George), Plato, Rand (Ayn) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Michael Vick, Escape Artist Extraordinaire

Why do I find myself rooting for someone guilty of an abominable crime? And yet this Sunday, when the Philadelphia Eagles play the Jacksonville Jaguars, I will find myself cheering for Michael Vick. The stories of the dog fighting ring run by Vick will turn any stomach. He went to jail for it and now […]

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Learning to Live with E-Readers

Gustave Dore, Don Quixote  An e-reader has entered our family. Here’s how it happened. My son Toby is studying for his English Ph.D preliminaries and wanted to spend a month reading 19th century British works in the family Maine cottage. He was accompanied by his girlfriend Candice, who is writing qualifying essays for her dissertation. […]

Posted in Cervantes (Miguel de), Uncategorized | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Epic vs. Ironic Heroes

On Monday I described my friend Alan as an Odysseus figure for the way he has coming back, time after time, in his battle with his cancer.  He appreciated the article but was taken aback by the comparison and asked why I hadn’t compared him instead with someone like Holden Caulfield.  He said he didn’t […]

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A Battle with Cancer: The Epic Version

From time to time I have written about my friend Alan, who has been assaulted by a series of cancerous tumors that the doctors keep on removing, either through surgery or through radiation/cyberknifing.  He has had tumors removed from his eyelid, his neck, both lungs (six in all from the lungs) and now, most recently, […]

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Maurine Holbert Hogaboom Exits Stage Left

Yesterday a good friend died. Her name was Maurine Holbert Hogaboom and she was 98. If you want to read about her amazing life—how she journeyed to New York from rural Texas as a member of a burlesque troupe, how she found a living in the theatre, how she was called up before the House […]

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