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.

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—I show as illustration for this essay a picture taken of him around that time—he was thinking not only about the “individual talent” of young poets like himself but also about the collective legacy of all “dead… Read more

Envisioning Aphrodite inside the living wood of a myrtle tree

2021.04.10 | By Gregory Nagy §0. The illustration that I have chosen to introduce this essay is inspired by ancient Greek myths about dryads—that is, about nymphs or local goddesses who inhabit the wooden insides of trees, primarily oak trees, thus animating such trees. But my essay is not about dryads or would-be dryads. It is more specifically about the goddess Aphrodite, who could be envisioned as animating myrtle trees… 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

On visualizing heavenly origins for particularized icons in the Greek-speaking world of today

2021.03.27 | By Gregory Nagy §0. I recall here the happy occasion of my most recent viewing, in the year 2014, of the famous ancient Myrtiá (Μυρτιά) or ‘Myrtle Tree’ growing on the hallowed grounds of an old monastery, now a nunnery, in Palianí (Παλιανή), not much more than 20 kilometers southwest of Iráklio (῾Ηράκλειον), the ‘City of Herakles’, on the island of Crete. This enormous old tree, the myriad… Read more

Flow, by Jonathan Galassi

Down the path between the apples through the maple grove of suicides then left at the old wall along the wire fence to the brook- bank where narcissus noses into skunk cabbage and hepatica: Call me Apollo, crashing in the underbrush    with my arrows, my bow saw and clippers    out for your flash of white tail and alert to hack me a path to your lair, to your cult’s den,   … Read more


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