The Center for Hellenic Studies

Classical Inquiries

Studies on the Ancient World from the Center for Hellenic Studies

A view of the acropolis at sunset, Athens. Photo by AussieActive.

How Pindar’s Homer might save from harm the heroic glory of Ajax

2021.05.10 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In this essay I attempt to explain, though only in its barest outlines, Pindar’s poetic project of picturing ‘Homer’ as a potential savior of the glory deserved by Ajax, hero of Salamis—despite this Homer’s generally indiscriminate taste, it is claimed, for greedily savoring all the delicacies of all the myths cooked up for him by way of epic poetry—I use the word ‘myths’ here… Read more

On the idea of dead poets as imagined by T. S. Eliot, compared with ideas about reperformance, Part III

2021.04.30 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In Part III of this essay, continuing from Part I (Nagy 2021.04.17, linked here) and Part II (Nagy 2021.04.24, linked here), I return for the third and last time to what T. S. Eliot said (1919 [1975]:38) about the poet he was in his youth—and about any aspiring poet in general: “the most individual parts of his work,” he said, “may be those in… Read more

On the idea of dead poets as imagined by T. S. Eliot, compared with ideas about reperformance, Part II

§0. In Part II of this essay, continuing now from Part I (Nagy 2021.04.17), I return to what T. S. Eliot said (1919 [1975]:38) about the poet he was in his youth—and about any aspiring poet in general: “the most individual parts of his work,” he said, “may be those in which the dead poets, his ancestors, assert their immortality most vigorously.” In Part I, I applied this idea of… Read more

On the idea of dead poets as imagined by T. S. Eliot, compared with ideas about reperformance, Part I

2021.04.17 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In an essay first published in the year 1919, “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” T. S. Eliot made a bold statement about poets, dead or alive. Back then, he was thinking not only about the “individual talent” of young poets like himself but also about the collective legacy of all “dead poets” stemming from the “European tradition,” as he thought of it, starting with… Read more

On ‘connecting the dots’—metonymically—between a shield and a garland presented to Achilles

2021.04.03 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In a book titled Masterpieces of Metonymy (Nagy 2016|2015, hereafter abbreviated as MoM), I showed line drawings of black-figure pictures painted on two vases, both of Athenian manufacture and both dated to the earlier years of the sixth century BCE. In both line drawings, we see a picturing of the hero Achilles, who at this very moment is reaching out to receive his Shield—as… Read more