Tag Archives: epic

gearing down for Homer

I’ve changed my approach to reading. I read from several books each day, in an informally structured way. I start my afternoon reading session (usually around 4:00 p.m.) with a “dharma” book—that is, a book on the Buddhist teachings or … Continue reading

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a literary Casanova

When I was about 16 I read You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe. The protagonist, George Webber, is a writer whose working method, if you can call it that, is to become seized with intense bouts of inspiration … Continue reading

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the Iliad of Homer: first epic of the West

The Iliad by Homer My rating: 5 of 5 stars Western literature kicks off with the clash of civilizations. Crafting an epic of my own, I got the idea of exploring the great epics of Western literature in more detail. … Continue reading

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the inventiveness of creators, from Homer to my aunt Jackie

As I’ve mentioned, I’m currently rereading Robert Fagles’ translation of Homer’s Iliad. In my last post, I talked about some thoughts sparked by a recent article in Archaeology magazine, in which the archaeologist Barry Powell conjectures that Homer himself may … Continue reading

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why vowels cost money on The Wheel of Fortune

Since I’m creating an epic (The Age of Pisces), I want to learn all I can about the epic form. What is an epic, exactly? What features turn a non-epic or sub-epic into an epic? This is a matter of … Continue reading

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Watership Down by Richard Adams: the rabbit Aeneid

Watership Down by Richard Adams My rating: 5 of 5 stars Two square miles of English countryside become a zone of adventure, combat, and statecraft for a band of refugee rabbits. My path to this book was via The Seven … Continue reading

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Calliope? Is that you?

Rage—Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses, hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls, great fighters’ souls, but made their bodies carrion, feasts for the dogs and … Continue reading

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Arundel by Kenneth Roberts: human passion in a merciless landscape

Arundel by Kenneth Roberts My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is how novels are supposed to be. I came across this book by way of the Goodreads recommendation engine, which presented it to me when I was searching for … Continue reading

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Fall of Giants by Ken Follett: the pulse of life amid global conflagration

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett My rating: 4 of 5 stars Some angles on World War I, told in a simple and human way. This is the first Follett book I’ve read since I read The Key to Rebecca … Continue reading

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The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell: the bloody birth of England

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell My rating: 4 of 5 stars Like its fledgling-warrior hero, this book is easygoing—until battle is joined, and then it packs a punch. My introduction to the writing of Bernard Cornwell was via the … Continue reading

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