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Posts Tagged ‘Homer’

Gatsby-Jazz, and Other News

August 6, 2013 | by

chapters_04gatsbyjazz

  • “Over the years, I’d purchased books on Indian philosophy, Nepali architecture, alpine flowers, Hatha yoga, spirit possession, as well as old copies of The Paris Review, and I frequented the store long enough to see my own collection of short stories appear in the section for Nepali authors.” Kathmandu’s Pilgrims Book House rebounds, slowly, from a devastating fire. 
  • The Generative Gatsby lays out the text of Fitzgerald’s novel like music scores, designed along the lines of twenties-era jazz.
  • Scholastic Book Club is dead; long live Scholastic Reading Club!
  • “The phrase is alluring, stirring, and indistinctly evocative. It is also, strictly speaking, incomprehensible, and for all the time the phrase has been relished, readers and scholars have debated what the term actually means.” What, exactly, did Homer mean by “wine-dark sea” … if that’s even what he said?
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    Dating the Iliad, and Other News

    March 1, 2013 | by

    geneticists-estimate-publication-date-of-the-illiad_1

    • Geneticists estimate that the Iliad was written in 762 B.C., “give or take fifty years.” This squares with what classicists believe, too.
    • Barnes & Noble says that rumors of its death are greatly exaggerated.
    • Today in fearless luxury, these bespoke bindings are very beautiful.
    • And speaking of books as status symbols: the book in medieval portraiture.
    • The critics have spoken! The winners of the 2012 National Book Critics Circle awards are: Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (fiction);  Andrew Solomon, Far from the Tree (nonfiction); Leanne Shapton, Swimming Studies (autobiography);  Marina Warner, Stranger Magic (criticism); Robert Caro, The Passage of Power (biography); and D. A. Powell, Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys (poetry).

     

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    The Iliad, Improved: An Illustrated Panorama

    August 23, 2012 | by

    These panels tell the story of Ajax, as related in the Iliad and by Sophocles. I’d originally intended to treat the story without embellishment but just couldn’t allow poor Ajax to fall on his own sword at the end. Homer’s world is populated with people driven by mad and almost childlike uncontrollable passions. They did not reflect deeply on their actions. When I think social media has just about driven me bonkers and start lamenting modern times, I need only consider the senseless, sensation-drunk world of the Iliad and Odyssey to realize that every age on record has been frantically moving toward self-destruction.

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    Conrad Signals, Server Signs

    August 10, 2012 | by

     

  • Because it is Friday, a Joseph Conrad bat signal.
  • A pair of Irish researchers have determined that Homer’s epics are (partially) based in fact. “We’re not saying that this or that actually happened, or even that the individual people portrayed in the stories are real ... We are saying that the overall society (that emerges from the stories) and interactions between characters seem realistic.”
  • The son of John Steinbeck has publicly objected to the invocation of Of Mice and Men to justify the Texas execution of a mentally handicapped man.
  • Celebrate Julia Child’s centenary with these ten titles.
  • If you  wish to rakishly mix your media, here is how to make a screen saver from your favorite book cover.
  • The secret language of restaurants; or, how your waiter knows who gets what.
  • And how did you celebrate Book Lover’s Day?

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    Literary Paint Chips: Gallery 3

    May 14, 2012 | by

    Paint Samples, suitable for the home, sourced from colors in literature. As seen in our two-hundredth issue.

    Fox Stain1 Graham Greene2 Iteration Pudding3 Hood4
    Fence5 Skipper’s Whiff6 Pizza7 Noise White8
    Martyr’s Tongue9 League10 Funeral Suit11 Dead Sea12
    Doze13 Dishwater Blonde14 Stupid Blue15 Dorsal16
    Bible Black17 Lo’s Socks18 Poop Poop19 American Autumn20
    Damned Spot21 Spit Black22 Georgie’s Pins23 Oatmeal Tweed24
    Treasure Blue25 Nimbus Card26 Felon Yellow27 Wine-dark28

    Annotations

    1. “The season’s ill— / we’ve lost our summer millionaire, / who seemed to leap from an L. L. Bean / catalogue. His nine-knot yawl / was auctioned off to lobstermen. / A red fox stain covers Blue Hill.” “Skunk Hour,” Robert Lowell.
    2. Graham Greene
    3. “But if you stir backward, the jam will not come together again. Indeed, the pudding does not notice and continues to turn pink just as before. Do you think this is odd?” ‘Arcadia,’ Tom Stoppard.
    4. “Her mother was excessively fond of her; and her grandmother doted on her still more. This good woman got made for her a little red riding hood.” “Little Red Riding Hood,” Charles Perrault.
    5. “Sighing, he dipped his brush and passed it along the topmost plank; repeated the operation; did it again; compared the insignificant whitewashed streak with the far-reaching continent of unwhitewashed fence, and sat down on a tree-box discouraged.” ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,’ Mark Twain.
    6. “Wendell takes a whiff of Skipper, who is wearing what used to be a pair of pink flowered pajamas. A small bit of satin ribbon is still visible around her neck, but the rest, including her smiling face, is wet brown mud and something else. ‘Part of this is poop,’ Wendell hollers.” “Cousins,” Jo Ann Beard.
    7. “She noticed a piece of bright orange pizza stuck between his teeth, and it endeared him to her.” “A Romantic Weekend,” Mary Gaitskill.
    8. “I heard a noise, faint, monotonous, white.” ‘White Noise,’ Don DeLillo.
    9. “St. John Nepomucene was martyred in Prague in 1393 for refusing to reveal a secret of the confessional. His tongue has been entirely preserved. Experts examined it 332 years later in 1725, and testified that it was the shape, color, and length of the tongue of a living person, and that it was also soft and flexible.” ‘Beautiful Losers,’ Leonard Cohen.
    10. “Then, again, I have heard it is no use your applying if your hair is light red, or dark red, or anything but real bright, blazing, fiery red.” “The Red-Headed League,” Arthur Conan Doyle.
    11. “In the meantime I unpacked my bag, opened the wardrobe and hung up the dark gray suit I had taken along to Chur as my funeral suit, so to speak.” ‘The Loser,’ Thomas Bernhard.
    12. “I remember the maps of the Holy Land. Colored they were. Very pretty. The Dead Sea was pale blue. The very look of it made me thirsty. That’s where we’ll go, I used to say, that’s where we’ll go for our honeymoon. We’ll swim. We’ll be happy.” ‘Waiting for Godot,’ Samuel Beckett.
    13. “And then I went off into a blue doze, sitting there in the car next to William. I was thinking about Josephine who is also this very dear friend of mine.” ‘Novel on Yellow Paper,’ Stevie Smith.
    14. “... a jewelry box in which a strand of Mary’s dishwater-blonde hair lay bedded on cotton.” ‘The Virgin Suicides,’ Jeffrey Eugenides.
    15. “I had forgotten about his eyes. They were as blue as the sides of a certain type of box of matches. When you looked at them carefully you saw that they were perfectly honest, perfectly straightforward, perfectly, perfectly stupid.” ‘The Good Soldier,’ Ford Madox Ford.
    16. “It took Brody’s eyes a moment to adjust, but then he saw the fin—a ragged brownish-gray triangle that sliced through the water, followed by the scythed tail sweeping left and right with short, spasmodic thrusts.” ‘Jaws,’ Peter Benchley.
    17. “It is Spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters’-and-rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crow-black, fishingboat-bobbing sea.” ‘Under Milk Wood,’ Dylan Thomas.
    18. “Officer, officer there they go— / In the rain, where that lighted store is! / And her socks are white, and I love her so, / And her name is Haze, Dolores.” ‘Lolita,’ Vladimir Nabokov.
    19. “They reached the carriage-drive of Toad Hall to find, as the Badger had anticipated, a shiny new motor-car, of great size, painted a bright red (Toad’s favorite color), standing in front of the house.” ‘The Wind in the Willows,’ Kenneth Grahame.
    20. “The afternoon was perfect. A deeper stillness possessed the air, and the glitter of the American autumn was tempered by a haze which diffused the brightness without dulling it.” ‘The House of Mirth,’ Edith Wharton.
    21. “Out, damned spot! out, I say!” ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth,’ William Shakespeare.
    22. “The restaurant to which he took us was a theater people’s one, not very far away, and filled with gentlemen in fancy waistcoats just like himself, and with girls and boys like Kitty, with streaks of greasepaint on their cuffs and crumbs of spit-black in the corners of their eyes.” ‘Tipping the Velvet,’ Sarah Waters.
    23. “Then she hitched up her skirt and some layers of stiff white petticoat and began to draw on a pair of peacock-blue stockings which I had given her.” ‘A Severed Head,’ Iris Murdoch.
    24. “You wouldn’t be able to decorate out a table in afromosia teak veneer, an armchair in oatmeal tweed and a beech frame settee with a woven sea-grass seat? ” ‘The Caretaker,’ Harold Pinter.
    25. “He then explained to me that it was commonly believed that on a certain night of the year—last night, in fact, when all evil spirits are supposed to have unchecked sway—a blue flame is seen over any place where treasure has been concealed.” ‘Dracula,’ Bram Stoker.
    26. “Suddenly the restaurant seems far away, hushed, the noise distant, a meaningless hum, compared to this card, and we all hear Price’s words: ‘Raised lettering, pale nimbus white...’” ‘American Psycho,’ Bret Easton Ellis.
    27. “Conrad now surveyed the pod room with a horrible clarity. It was a foul gray chamber inhabited by grim organisms in yellow felony pajamas who arranged themselves in primitive territorial packs.” ‘A Man in Full,’ Tom Wolfe.
    28. “As far as a man seeth with his eyes into the haze of distance as he sitteth on a place of outlook and gazeth over the wine-dark sea, so far leap the loudly neighing horses of the gods.” ‘The Iliad,’ Homer.

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    On the Shelf

    February 15, 2012 | by

    A cultural news roundup.

  • #litpickuplines.
  • Literary speed dating.
  • Literary love letters.
  • “Some people have made seduction a way of life. Incapable of resisting opportunities, they give priority to the nascent state; they are collectors of beginnings.”
  • The museum of failed relationships.
  • “It's easy to forget that the world wide web as we know it today evolved from an early attempt to put books on the internet.”
  • Matilda comes to Broadway.
  • Homer, Inc.
  • Is this how you imagined Sam Spade?
  • Drive-by poetry.
  • García Márquez-inspired fashion.
  • Houston-inspired books.
  • “I used to avoid talking about audio books.”
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