Homeric Ainoi in Latin Literature, Part I: Homer

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’.[1] But… Read more

On a ‘guessing song’ sung by Cherubino in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro

2018.10.04 | By Gregory Nagy §0. The devinalh, or ‘guessing song’, was a special kind of love song composed by troubadours in the song culture of medieval Provence and later adapted by master poets of the Renaissance, most notably by Petrarch. The devinalh is specially coded, so that only the one who is loved will understand—supposedly—the words of the lover who composes and then sings the song. The problem is,… Read more

Ch’unhyang—further typological comparisons from late-Chosŏn Korean song culture and modern Korean film culture

2018.09.05 | By Gregory Nagy §0.1. Continuing my commentary on the film Ch’unhyang as a point of typological comparison, I will compare here, more broadly, the visual art of film-making with the verbal art of poetry and song as we see that art at work in the epic and lyric traditions of ancient Greece. In making such a comparison, I will highlight two general features of verbal art, metaphor and… Read more

A sampling of comments on Odyssey Rhapsody 24

2017.08.31 / updated 2018.10.13 | By Gregory Nagy Before the Odyssey comes to an end, the Singer of Tales reaches back to what seems to be the beginning of the Iliad. It is as if the second epic, the Odyssey, could now restart before it ends by reaching back into the first epic, the Iliad. Still, there will be no restart here. The plot of that first epic had started… Read more

A sampling of comments on Odyssey Rhapsody 23

2017.08.23 / updated 2018.10.13 | By Gregory Nagy After the killing of the suitors, Eurykleia rushes to the bedroom of Penelope, waking her up. The queen has slept through it all—the first good night’s sleep she has had in the longest time, she admits. Eurykleia goes on to tell Penelope that Odysseus has really returned and has killed the suitors, but the patient wife will need one more test, to… Read more

A sampling of comments on Odyssey Rhapsody 22

2017.08.17 / updated 2018.10.13 | By Gregory Nagy At the end of Rhapsody 21, Odysseus has already passed, in rapid succession, two of three successive tests that needed to be endured by the true king of Ithaca. That is, he has already performed a stringing of his mighty bow and has already won an ultimate contest in archery by executing a perfect shot with the very first arrow that he… Read more