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Thread: What else do you read??
September 25th, 2012, 04:42 PM #6181
Yay, the 'Iliad'! I read the Lattimore too; I tried two or three translations for the 'Odyssey' and liked his best, so I stayed with him for the 'Iliad'. And you're right - probably more than half of Greek tragedy is fanfic for the 'Iliad', and then it's just a matter of getting, via 'Troilus and Cressida' all the way to last year's 'The Song of Achilles'.
It's so gorgeous. I was lucky enough to study the ending in Greek last year, which is one of the most tragic things I've ever read.
September 25th, 2012, 06:31 PM #6182
Lattimore's probably the best if you know the structure and style of the original, even if only vaguely; I appreciate that Fagles et al have tried to create good English poetry, but as a Greek student I really do prefer something close to what I know is actually there.
ahaaaaa The Song of Achilles *melting* It had flaws, but it was so so so wonderful to see a book like it gain proper recognition, and Miller's style is beautiful. <3 My Greek teacher and I constantly talk about it in a state of awe, because it seemed so miraculous to us both to see the A/P relationship portrayed so honestly. (Now if only someone would find the lost Achilleis in their garden...)
Oooh, book 24, Priam & Achilles? Because that's the part I'm studying this year! It is so incredibly powerful. I was translating a little as homework one night last week, and as I was puzzling over some crazy Homeric grammar, I suddenly realised I was crying. It's very, very moving, in a way no translation can really grasp.
September 27th, 2012, 08:33 AM #6183
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House of Leaves is definitely...interesting. I'm not that far into it, maybe 30 pages or so, but I like it so far. It's really strange and I'm sure once I get to the weirder pages I'll be confused by it.
September 27th, 2012, 02:56 PM #6184
I've heard that it's even printed in strange patterns...
September 27th, 2012, 05:21 PM #6185
EoW - Yes, you're probably right. I hadn't thought about the way that being used to very literal translations might make more adapted versions seem jarring, but it really makes sense.
Interesting to hear that you liked 'The Song of Achilles'! I've heard very mixed reviews - two people said they hated it, but then both of them are a bit snooty about non-literary fiction, which, as you can tell from my presence here, I am ... not. It sounds like fun, anyway, and A/P is always good. I'll try and read it sometime. It must be nice that your Greek teacher appreciates it too - mine is ridiculously embarrassed about anything remotely sexual, which is annoying seeing as we are in sixth form, and this is Classics after all.
I hadn't realised, but I suppose you must be doing the same syllabus as we did last year! Are you doing Xenophon too? Anyway, yes, it's just sublime; heartbreaking for so many reasons.
Haven't read 'House of Leaves' - is it worth a look?
October 1st, 2012, 03:57 PM #6186
I picked it up because a co-Greekist had enjoyed it, and because it won the Orange Prize (oh dear...), and read it very quickly because it's quite an easy read. And, of course, if you know the story you can't wait to see how she'll end it. It captures that awful feeling of inevitability you get in Homer, which I thought was really important! Some have criticised it for including the prophecies early on and thus "spoiling" the plot, but that's...missing the point.
I've got to say, while it's not quite litfic, it's not as light-and-beach-read-y as everyone makes it out to be. Sure, it's not too challenging to read, but it's a) based on the Iliad, how light could it really be? and b) not actually that explicit. It's certainly not a cheap romantic thriller. I feel a lot of reviewers just aren't used to seeing a teenage, rose-tinted romance that also happens to involve two men. It's not that we don't have books about gay relationships; it's just that they don't tend to focus on simple love stories involving people who are very immature. So Miller gets attacked for her "woozy, immature prose" which I feel is unfair - it's meant to read that way because it's being narrated by a teenager who is in love for the first time and with someone who is literally godlike.
Mine is the opposite and goes out of his way to make sexual jokes. Exactly, we're Classics students! We get all the sex in the school, and no one realises it! I wonder how your teacher could bear to teach Ovid, which is on the current Latin syllabus if I'm not mistaken. Yes, yes, Xenophon. My darling. He tries. He really does.
October 4th, 2012, 05:03 PM #6187
The inevitablility is so important in the tragedy of it, yes. Your analysis of why it's had such a mixed reception is interesting - I'll have to read it now and see what I think.
Haha, the head of Classics - the one I was talking about - gives all the dodgy love elegy to the other teacher! She's actually better though, so it's fine. Ovid is absolutely fantastic, if inappropriate. It's true that no one ever thinks of Classics like that and sad that it has such a reputation - puts me in mind of this uncomfortably familiar poem.
Oh, Xenophon ... I think the problem with it is that we're meant to look at it based on poetic and rhetorical devices, and actually he doesn't use that many! You sort of have to see it as an autobiographical adventure story instead. And it does get better once he stops talking about incomprehensible military tactics. But we found it pretty tiresome too.
October 8th, 2012, 02:47 PM #6188
Whoo, I'm always happy when more people read it! It's interesting that some people who actually really enjoyed the book and wept buckets at the end feel they shouldn't have because it's so "sentimental"...
Ovid Ovid Ovid...yep, I've been talking to the two Latinists in my year and becoming gradually more jealous about their Ovid! The link wasn't working, and my thoughts immediately jumped to Catullus 16 of not-so-little-fame...says something about me, perhaps. Now it is, so yeah, The Scholars. What can I say but ouch? I do think, though, that Classics is actually enjoying a revival, as under-the-radar as it may be. Every new teacher we get at my school (and we have had four new Classics teachers in the past 3 years) is very young, in their 20s. Which implies an increase in people taking it at uni.
"The awkward moment when you have to make style notes on Xenophon."
Teach: "What can you find?"
Me: "...vivid present............."
Poor Xenophon, we give him a hard time. I do actually really love certain parts of it, to be honest; and it's so important to understanding Greek history from that point onwards. But when you're doing Iliad 24 at the same time, it...pales a little.
Last edited by Eyes of Wolf; October 8th, 2012 at 02:51 PM.
October 8th, 2012, 04:00 PM #6189
Nothing wrong with liking what you read, even if it is 'sentimental'
Ovid is amazing. You can never quite tell how much of it is tongue-in-cheek, but either way it's hilarious and thought-provoking, for different reasons. I would definitely recommend reading some of the 'Amores' in translation - there's so much sexual politics to get nerdy about! 'Metamorphoses' is great too but quite different.
Haha, I'd probably get banned from this site forever if I linked to Catullus 16... You may be right that Classics gaining in popularity a bit - we've got Mary Beard, after all. I think there's, from some quarters at least, a conscious movement to shake off Yeats' image.
I know, Xenophon and Homer are incomparable. It seems ridiculous - and unfair on Xenophon - that we're asked to judge them on the same terms.
October 9th, 2012, 05:28 PM #6190
My closest Latinist friend enjoys reading me her awkward translations, so in a way I am reading them at the moment! Just...second-hand, and in an awkward manner. Metamorphoses is brilliant. And often very weird, which I enjoy...
When my Latin class first discovered Cat16, we thought we were so indie. Now, of course, I know that Latin students who don't have it seared into their memory are very rare...Mary Beard is a darling. <3 Her blog is so entertaining even outside the Classics-sphere, and if you do do Classics there's double the fun. I'm not sure quite why all this is, but perhaps the debate over "Why teach Classics?" has moved away a little from the old status quo wherein everyone was fully aware that only public school kids learnt Classics. Now those memories are receding a little and the focus is on what schools can gain out of teaching it rather than the assumption that Classics= "cultured", enlightened human. That's just a silly thesis of mine.
They're clearly very different types of writing (...understatement). It's strange, then, that the exam questions are pretty much exactly the same for each.
October 13th, 2012, 04:17 PM #6191
Oh good! And yes, the Metamorphoses are so brilliantly weird - I recently translated a section describing the chariot of Dionysus as decked with grapes and drawn by tigers, which is just a fantastic image!
Until just now, when I looked it up again, I thought Mary Beard's blog was behind the Times' paywall, for some reason! Glad to see it's not - I'll definitely be starting to read it. She's brilliant. You may be right about why Classics is getting a bit less elitist, but there's still a long way to go, and the association of the likes of Boris Johnson with the subject is not wholly helpful in this sense.
It is strange ... I can only assume that the exam board thinks the only way not to be attacked by people with opinions is to make their questions as bland and generic as possible.
October 16th, 2012, 03:13 PM #6192
I might need a chariot decked with grapes and drawn by tigers. To make a grand entrance at a party. I think everyone needs one, let's be honest.
The parts that are explicitly for the Times are, I think, but I'm pretty sure she posts those on her main blog as well eventually. Though I might be lying. She's just so classy - her responses to A A Gill's criticism of her appearance made me want to be as effortlessly badass as her. Oh no, Boris. It's true, if you ask someone to think of a well-known person who knows Classics, they will probably reply with "um, Boris!" Which is wrong on so many levels.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF CYRUS AS A LEADER? WHAT?!Q!!
October 26th, 2012, 05:38 PM #6193
Well, of course. It would be most fetching.
Oh, that's good then. And go her for standing up to such sexist attitudes! A much better advertisement for the subject than Boris, all in all.
Haha oh dear. You should answer it like you're analysing his management skills, essential for any would-be usurper ... Cyrus might be a fair general, but when it comes down to it, does he have the interpersonal skills for the job? Not really a team player, is he? (My sympathies.)
Last edited by Sirkana; October 27th, 2012 at 08:46 AM.
November 5th, 2012, 02:15 PM #6194
Cyrus' money management skills are a little disorganized too, and personally I'm suspicious about how he came by his work experience - satrapies aren't that easy to come by, and how come he's got no references from his employer at the time?
November 7th, 2012, 02:27 PM #6195
All very suspicious, really. The paperwork appears to be somewhat confused.