Monday, October 31, 2011

The Best and the Bravest Fighting Men

Assignments for October 31--November 4

"Homer is the poet of all ages, all races, and all moods. To the Greeks, the epics were not only the best romances, the richest poetry; not only their oldest documents about their own history--they were also their Bible, their treasury of religious traditions and moral teaching.   With the Bible and Shakespeare, the Homeric poems are the best training for life."
from Andrew Lang's essay, "Homeric and the Study of Greek"

Thoughts taken from Homeric Greek: A Book for Beginners by Clyde Pharr
Characteristics of Epic Poetry
Questions and Discussion Points about Book 2
Discussion of Thersites

Continuation of the Discussion of Book 2
Discussion of Book 3
By Now, You Should Know Nearly All the Main Characters
Characteristics of Epic Poetry Quiz

Book 4

Book 5

Book 6


Friday, October 21, 2011

When First There Stood in Division of Conflict...Achilles and Agamemnon

Assignments for the Week of October 24-28

And the will of Zeus was accomplished since that time when first there stood in division of conflict Atreus' son the lord of men and brilliant Achilleus.

 Painting above is by William Page, 1811-1885

"By the general consent of criticks, the first praise of genius is due to the writer of an epick poem, as it reqireds an assemblage of all the powers which are singly sufficient for other compositions."
Dr. Samuel Johnson

Monday:  Scholarly insights from an insightful scholar.
The Trojan War as a Whole--As Told by Edith Hamilton and Others
Glenn Arbery on The Iliad

Close Reading of Book One

Tuesday:  Scholarly insights from an insightful scholar.
Continue with the Trojan War

Finish with Book One and yet....

Wednesday:  Scholarly insights from an insightful scholar.
Test over Book One

Begin Discussion and Close Reading of Book Two

Thursday:  Scholarly insights from an insightful scholar.
Further exploration of Book Two

Preview of Book Three

Friday:  Scholarly insights from an insightful scholar.
Short, but formal and brilliant, paper containing a character sketch from Book One.

Readings for the Week:
Homer's Iliad--Books 2--3
Edith Hamilton's Mythology--Part Four--The Trojan War
Peter Leithart--Heroes of the City of Man--Ancient Epic, pages 43--51

How to Experience Poetic Beauty
Flee techno-gimickry and distraction.
Find a setting both aesthetic and comfortable.
Find a beverage that is robust and caffeinated.
Read with a desire to find what Allen Tate called "Knowledge carried to the heart."
Read aloud, re-read.
Supplement the assignments with other readings.

Notable and Quotable
The French poet and novelist Raymond Queneau (1903-1978) opined, "Every great work of literature is either The Iliad, that is, a story of conflict, strife, battle and war,  or The Odyssey, that is, a story of a journey or exile and, after much wandering, a homecoming."

The extraordinary power of The Iliad, Alberto Manguel says, comes from the fact that it holds in tension two truths: our fascination with war and our abhorrence of its cruelty: "Homer fully understood our ambiguous relationship to violence, our desire for it and our hatred of it, the beauty we ascribe to it and the horror it makes us feel."
From an Amazon reviewer on Alberto Manguel's Homer's the Iliad and the Odyssey: A Biography.

Robert Fagels' translations of Homer's epics.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Meet Homer...and Tremble

Assignments for the Week of October 17-21

The Father of Epic Poetry
Seven cities warred for Homer, being dead,
Who, living, had no roof to shroud his head.
Thomas Heywood in The Hierarchy of the Blessed Angels, 1635.

Book Reviews and Updates
Leitharts and Heavy Thoughts on Hesiod's Theogony
The Search for the Trojan War
A Visitor from our extension campus--Wheaton College

Student's Guide and Hesiod are now past due.
Get Leithart's introduction finished tonight.
Background materials for The Iliad

Guest Lecturer:  Martin Rizley
Genesis 10 and Background to the Nations
Read Book 1 of The Iliad for Thursday

No School Today in Honor of Veritas 2000 Graduate Zachary Ramsey
"Mr. House, how are you going to teach literature after we graduate?"
I have been trying to answer that question since 2000.

Book One of The Iliad


Further efforts to unpack Book One of The Iliad
Trojan War Heroes
Read Books Two and Three by Tuesday of Next Week

But how did you come to have this skill about Homer only, and not about Hesiod or the other poets? Does not Homer speak of the same themes which all other poets handle? Is not war his great argument? and does he not speak of human society and of intercourse of men, good and bad, skilled and unskilled, and of the gods conversing with one another and with mankind, and about what happens in heaven and in the world below, and the generations of gods and heroes? Are not these the themes of which Homer sings?
Socrates, quoted in The Dialoges of Plato

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Works and Days--Past and Present

Digging into the archeology of Books

Monday:  Columbus discovered what the Ancient Phoenicians already knew quite well: The Huge Continents between Europe and Asia.

Tuesday:  Brief discussion of Hesiod and Bruce Thornton

Read from Spielvogel, Chapter 1, regarding Egypt; write 10 facts or questions about Egypt.

Wednesday:  Test over Egypt

Discussion of readings.

Helpful Overview of the Writings from Antiquity

A Poet Who Preceded Homer

Thursday:  Journal Entry:  What I realized after reading...Hesiod or Thornton.

Looking closer at Hesiod. 

Prepare for a test over Mesopotamia and Egypt

Friday:  A Test over Mesopotamia and Egypt

Gleaning from Peter Leithart.

With ideas and literature, the confrontation between the Bible and paganism will be more intense, but with great care and wisdom, we can plunder even pagan literature and make it work for us.  As Proverbs says, the wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous  (Proverbs 13:22). 
From Heroes in the City of Man, pages 19-20.