Posts Tagged by Achilles
|October 28, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, H24H||
2018.10.28 | By Gregory Nagy
§0. It is summer. A young woman and a young man are sitting side by side at a beachfront, looking out toward the vast sea that is facing them. They aim their gaze westward, viewing what seems like an infinite stretch of water that reaches all the way to the darkening horizon where the sea finally meets an infinite sky. As they watch the sun sink slowly into the sea, the young woman starts weeping. Then, suddenly, at the very moment when the glowing orb finally goes under, it gives off a subtle green flash. This is the green ray, which is a literal translation of the French words le rayon vert. The moment I am describing takes place in a film directed by Éric Rohmer, which actually bears the title Le Rayon Vert. It originally appeared in 1986. But Le Rayon Vert is also the title of a romantic novel by Jules Verne, which appeared over a century earlier, in 1882. The novel was in fact the original inspiration for the film, though the stories differ radically. In the film, the story ends on a seemingly happy note: once she sees the green ray, the young woman who was weeping a moment earlier is now smiling as she cries out: oui ! But the happiness of this moment marked by the outcry of ‘yes!’ is not what interests me the most in this film: rather, I will highlight the earlier moment of weeping.
|October 19, 2018||By Miriam Kamil listed under Guest Post, H24H||
2018.10.19 | By Miriam Kamil
§1. I was a Teaching Fellow in the 2017 run of Greg Nagy’s annual course at Harvard, The Ancient Greek Hero. In this class, we examined the use of riddles in Homeric epic. The students learned about a sort of riddle called αἶνος, transliterated as ainos. Related to the verb αἰνέω (aineō) ‘to praise’, the word means, ‘praising speech’, or more basically, ‘speech act’. But not all ainoi appear as praise. They can also manifest as instruction, a warning, or a fable. What unites these as ainoi is their possession of an encoded message. Thus a speech act with an encoded message can be viewed as an ainos in the sense of ‘riddle’. In class, we also drew a distinction between ainos as a genre, under which heading we find, for example, the praise poetry of Pindar, and ainos as a literary device. The Ancient Greek Hero course and this essay are both concerned with the latter, with how speeches with hidden messages appear in a genre outside of praise poetry, Homeric epic.
|September 22, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, H24H||
2018.09.22 | By Gregory Nagy
§0. One of the most popular songs in the vast history of opera is a two-man aria sung by a tenor and a baritone in Les pêcheurs de perles, or The Pearl Fishers, by Georges Bizet, with libretto by Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré. The formal title of this aria, commonly known in English as “The Pearl Fishers Duet,” is “Au fond du temple saint”, which I translate as “In the inner sanctum of the holy temple.” The première of Pearl Fishers took place on 30 September 1863 in Paris. Bizet had not yet even reached the age of 25. Only ten years later, there will be Carmen. And it will be only even later that the popularity of the “Duet” eventually takes hold. Nowadays, in any case, this aria is universally celebrated for its singular beauty as a self-standing piece of music. I focus here on one special feature of the musicality that is built into the “Duet”: the music of this aria, words and all, compresses the entire story of the opera into a single song. What I find most remarkable about such compression is an artistic effect that I will describe here as lyrical. And the lyric compression of this aria, I will argue, can be enhanced visually in the art of film making.
|August 29, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, H24H||
2018.08.29 | By Gregory Nagy
§0. For studying the ancient Greek hero, I think that the kinds of things we see in the storytelling of films and other such contemporary media can be “good to think with.” The expression I have just used here derives from a commonly-used paraphrase of wording once used by the French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss in his book Le Totémisme aujourd’hui (1962). He was referring to the many different espèces or ‘species’ of animals in our world as bonnes à penser. His point was, animals are “good to think with” in mythmaking. I apply here this same expression to the “replicants” that populate the story being told in the film Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott (1982; there was also a sequel in 2017, Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve). These replicants, as we will see, are comparable to the heroes that populate the myths that were being told and retold in ancient Greek civilization.
|March 26, 2018||By Thomas Scanlon listed under Guest Post||
2018.03.26 | By Thomas Scanlon
An exploration of the figure of Achilles in Euripides’ Iphigeneia in Aulis in relation to its historical context, particularly the Peloponnesian War.
|October 5, 2017||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Pindar commentary|
2017.10.05 | By Gregory Nagy
Pindar’s Isthmian 8 highlights the hero Achilles, who is for us defined primarily by the Homeric Iliad—though he had been a prominent figure also in other epic traditions, as we see for example in the surviving plot-outline of the Aithiopis, ‘the song of the Ethiopians’, which was an epic belonging to a body of poetry commonly known as the epic Cycle. Also highlighted in Isthmian 8 are two epic opponents of Achilles: they are (1) Hector, the hero who is for us defined primarily by the Iliad, and (2) Memnon, a prominent hero in the Aithiopis, whose ‘Ethiopian’ identity is conventionally signaled in ancient Greek vase-paintings by portraying him or his attendants as “African” or “black” in appearance. The use of these two descriptive words is problematic, however, since they may suggest a racial reading in contexts where no racism had been intended.