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review 2016-11-25 03:39
The Oresteia
The Oresteia: Agamemnon / The Libation Bearers / The Eumenides - Aeschylus,Robert Fagles,William Bedell Stanford

This was one of those works where I really wish my professor had covered it better in class so that I could fully appreciate it. We had a two hour quick summary-like breeze through all three plays, with more focus being given to "Agamemnon" than the other two, so my judgement of the work was based more on how engaging I found it to be as an individual reading experience rather than as a classical work of literature that has been studied and discussed. There is quite a lot to pick out of "The Oresteia" that might be a bit overwhelming, as I found it to be, and the lack of guidance and confusion of what to pay attention to and what to make of some of the passages can be an obstacle. Probably with some more time and rereads that won't be necessary, but if one looks and evaluates this just as a piece of literature to sit down with and read, "The Oresteia" is quite the rollercoaster in terms of plot, and leaves a rather mixed impression on what to make of it.

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review 2016-11-10 22:43
The Aeneid
The Aeneid - Virgil,Bernard Knox,Robert Fagles

Virgil, you shameless shameless flatterer who clearly paid VERY close attention to Homer's writing (a bit TOO close, in some places). "The Aeneid", in its sadly incomplete form of only 12 books out of the 40 Virgil planned on writing, is very much a sandwich, dare I say even "fan fiction"-like, version of the Odyssey and the Illiad. Considering that I enjoyed only one of those two (I'm still trying to force my way through the Illiad), it's no surprise that the first six books I thought were wonderful, whereas the remaining six were almost painful to get through.

Our TA asked us today during class how we can interpret "The Aeneid" in relation to what's going on right now politically, and when no one said anything she rephrased it by asking us what we think the point is in reading literature at a time when fascism is rising all around us. It was disheartening to see almost all my classmates laugh at this question, for there is quite a bit that can be taken out and looked at in this book, particularly the trope of destiny and glory of future Rome which Aeneas pursues, and the role which women occupy in this general narrative. It's amazing to see how cyclical history really is, and how things may change slightly in terms of details while the overarching ideas and themes remain the same. It's why reading classics is still pertinent, to remind us that just like we still don't know how to necessarily interpret a text that's been written centuries ago, we also don't know how to react to the present in its immediacy.

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url 2014-06-06 06:21
A spectrum of Iliad
The Iliad - Homer,Barry B. Powell
The Iliad - Homer,Bernard Knox,Robert Fagles

If reading Iliad once is not enough, here's a review of different translations. I've read Robert Fagles' but somehow I'm tempted to try reading the others. I'm especially tempted to search for Barry B. Powell which was reviewed here

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review 2014-05-14 00:00
The Iliad
The Iliad - Homer,Bernard Knox,Robert Fagles A really worthy four stars story.

I'm not really sure how I wound up reading this book and loving it. Epic battle story with gory details of spears going through the gaps between your armour or straight through it. Sons going down in battle leaving fathers grieving back home. How a large portion of them earned their name and background mentioned by the fact that they're losing their life. Not my usual cup of tea? You bet. But it also support the fact that sometimes books just surprised you, taking you through a road you didn't know you wanted to take.

So what is it really that enchanted me?

Maybe because the story was told majestically, grandious words worthy of Gods and giant-like-mortals?

Maybe because it's not only a war but also God's war; meddling petty quarrelsome Gods but they were the beginning and the end, the alpha and omega; and no mortals can doubt it. How does it feel, to have this giant enormous shadow of Gods existance hovering above you, constantly sending messages you have to follow, forever getting under your skin moving you like a puppet.

Maybe because I was half in love with Achilles? For most of the story anyway, the part where most people probably despise him. The part where he balked from going to the battle. Is it ironic that in his anger with Agamemmon, I found him having the clearest thought on the futility of war and conquest. This, of course, is a modern mind reading of the situation. We're supposed to see Achilles as betraying his life purpose and his friends. But I couldn't help loving it when he rejected the reconciliatory offer. Eat your gold and go away, I wanted to say. The sin of pride was talking. Then of course a bigger thing than pride came along, grief; and the anger that comes with grief is thousand times more frightening. This is where the half of my love for Achilles just fall apart and crumble.

Maybe because there are so many contrasting things in the story that demanded some figurative chewing and brooding. Mortal and immortal of course, and also how bodies are treated. Those of worthy men's are treated with care, defended even with other life on the stake, fetched away by Gods to be given honour and proper burial. While all around them, bodies bodies and bodies that nobody cares about.

Maybe because I was reading it on holiday, with the sun shining, the sea glittering, and hours of freed mind needed something of this scale to ponder.
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review 2014-02-02 00:00
The Odyssey
The Odyssey - Homer,Robert Fagles,Bernard Knox A great classic. Another epic tale by Homer.
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