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

Can we think of Centaurs as a species?

2019.05.03 | By Gregory Nagy §0. Ιn three previous essays posted in Classical Inquiries, 2019.04.26, 2019.04.19 and 2019.03.22, I analyzed myths about Centaurs. Since they were pictured as half-man and half-horse, we could nowadays think of them as monsters. And, in terms of what we see in pre-classical and classical representations of Centaurs, such monsters were exclusively male, exhibiting the shaggy hormonal characteristics of exaggerated human maleness. Accordingly, Centaurs could… Read more

Sappho in the role of leader

2017.02.17 | By Gregory Nagy On the island of Lesbos, the voice of Sappho once had the authority to speak for the whole community in her role as leader of a chorus that sings and dances in the act of worshipping the goddess Hera. Read more

A political term in a paraphrase of Homer by Plato

2016.09.21 | By David Elmer The verb ep-eu-phēmeîn (ἐπευφημεῖν) at I.01.022 is virtually a hapax legomenon in the Homeric corpus: it occurs only here and in Achilles’ repetition of the line when he recounts for Thetis the poem’s opening scene, I.01.376. It is an exceptional, one-off substitute for ep-aineîn (ἐπαινεῖν) ‘approve’, the expected term, within the Iliad’s “grammar of reception,” for the collective approval of an audience in scenes of… Read more