15 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2023
    1. Thurman, Judith. “How Emily Wilson Made Homer Modern.” The New Yorker, September 11, 2023. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2023/09/18/emily-wilson-profile.

      The story of the Wilson family set against the backdrop of The Iliad.

    2. Homer introduces him with the adjective polytropos—literally, “of many turns.” Previous translators have called him “shifty,” “cunning,” and a hundred other things. After grappling with the alternatives, Wilson chose “complicated,” hoping also to convey the sense of “problematic.” Her first sentence—“Tell me about a complicated man”—instantly makes him our familiar: that charismatic prince who’s too impossible to live with and too desirable to live without.
    3. The opening of Robert Fagles’s widely admired Odyssey, she points out, uses two English words for every Greek one.
  2. Jun 2023
    1. Ulisse

      Ulysses can be considered as an alter ego of Levi in ‘Il canto di Ulisse’ and other passages of the writer’s works. By considering the nature of the link between the author and the classical hero, we can also clarify the reasons behind Levi’s choice of presenting to Pikolo the core episode of canto 26 of Dante’s Inferno. Levi himself connects his experience to that of Ulysses in a 1973 interview, where he states: ‘[M]i ero reso conto che proprio il canto di Ulisse era abbastanza importante, perché è un’evasione anche quella: cioè ero evaso raccontando di un’altra evasione. Questo Ulisse che si strappa dalla vita quotidiana per fare un viaggio che non ha ritorno: mi sembrava che avesse una vaga analogia con la [mia realtà]’ (OC III, 988).

      First, Levi underlines the parallel between his condition of deportee and that of Ulysses, driven by his nature and fate (‘fortuna’?) to embark on a journey without return. On a smaller scale, in ‘Il canto di Ulisse’ we also find one of the few physical movements in SQ – Primo and Jean’s trip to collect the soup. The chapter also represents a textual journey, where, while reading about Primo translating and interpreting Dante’s canto for Jean, we follow the path towards knowledge of the two characters. Finally, we can read it as a sentimental journey: the chapter is a nostos, a (temporary) memorial homecoming of the two protagonists to their homes and pre-Auschwitz lives. In the chapter, there is a constant superimposition of the experience and memory of Dante’s Ulysses with those of Levi (and Pikolo). Far from his home and family, Dante’s character sees Mount Purgatory in the distance before the shipwreck; this episode triggers in Levi the memory of the Piedmontese Alps he used to see on the horizon while going back home by train: ‘E le montagne, quando si vedono di lontano…le montagne…oh Pikolo, Pikolo, di’ qualcosa, parla, non lasciarmi pensare alle mie montagne, che comparivano nel bruno della sera quando tornavo in treno da Milano a Torino!’

      When we consider the presence of Ulysses in Levi’s works, we should not only think of the Commedia. We must consider Homer’s Ulysses too, a character appreciated by Levi since his high-school years and often remembered in his writings and interviews. If we analyse Levi’s quotes from the Odyssey, we can find further points of contact emerging between Levi and his alter ego. We can start with the episode of Ulysses’ deception of Polyphemus, quoted explicitly in the chapter ‘L’ultimo’ in SQ. Here Levi narrates that as he was leaving the shower, ‘un fiduciario del Block si installa sulla porta, e tasta come Polifemo chi esce per sentire se è bagnato’. Primo and Alberto manage to trick the guard and even gain a generous amount of bread from their kombinacja. The common ground between the Greek hero and Levi are versatility and resourcefulness, the most famous traits of Homer’s Ulysses.

      Levi considered this episode of the Odyssey crucial and included it also in his auto-anthology La ricerca delle radici with the title ‘Un uomo da nulla’. First of all, the physical description of Ulysses in the passage quoted in La ricerca delle radici – the hero is described as ‘un uomo da nulla, slombato, piccino’ – recalls Levi’s aspect in SQ. More importantly, the whole passage quoted by Levi revolves around the double name and identity of Ulysses. Introducing the excerpt, the writer notices that, while talking to Polyphemus, Ulysses ‘è fiero del suo nome, che finora aveva taciuto’. The name Nobody, chosen by Ulysses to fool the cyclops, recalls the loss of individual identity and the attribution of a new name (the number tattooed on the forearm) to Auschwitz prisoners.

      In this sense, Ulysses can be seen not only as an alter ego of Levi, but also as an allegory of the Jews detained in Lagers. This is true also for some aspects of Dante’s Ulysses, as we can read in Levi’s comment to ‘Il canto di Ulisse’ in the notes to the school edition of SQ: ‘In quell’istante, all’autore pare di intravvedere una conturbante analogia fra il naufragio di Ulisse e il destino dei prigionieri: l’uno e gli altri sono stati paradossalmente “puniti”’. In his narration of Ulysses’ shipwreck, Dante tells us that everyone on the boat is punished and dies. If we go back to consider the story of Homer’s Ulysses instead, the character could instead be an example of being ‘saved’. Having wandered for ten years, he was finally able to return to Ithaca, just as Levi managed to go back to Turin. Ulysses’ fellows represent instead the ‘drowned’, just like the majority of the prisoners detained in Levi’s barrack.

      A final, crucial shared aspect linking Levi to Homer’s Ulysses is the narrative ability and the urge to relate his misadventures to others. The ethical need to share with others the trauma of Auschwitz is strong in Levi already during his detention and impelled him to write SQ. In the 1976 Appendix to the book, he remembers that ‘era talmente forte in noi il bisogno di raccontare, che il libro avevo incominciato a scriverlo là’ (OC I, 281). Levi will reconsider his previous accounts of the Lager from a new perspective in the 1970s. On several occasions, he compares the urge to communicate his experience of the concentration camp to Ulysses’ narration of his decade-long wanderings at the court of Alcinous. In I sommersi e i salvati, Levi adopts this comparison as the opening of the chapter ‘Stereotipi’, writing: ‘[È] bello sedere al caldo, davanti al cibo ed al vino, e ricordare a sé ed agli altri la fatica, il freddo e la fame: così subito cede all’urgenza del raccontare, davanti alla mensa imbandita, Ulisse alla corte del re dei Feaci’. Ulysses is seen here as a prototypical model of the oral narrator and the founder of the genre of the memorial accounts of the survivor (‘reduce’) of traumatic events. Thus, an alter ego not only of Levi as a character but also of Levi as writer.


  3. Aug 2022
    1. Class discussion reflected onthe emphasis on “family values” in recent news coverageof politicians looking for issues near election time.Perhaps you were stimulated by what the pundits had tosay. Or maybe you were offended by the superficiality ofthe “soundbites” – after all, you had just read Odysseustelling Agamemnon in Book Eleven that “empty wordsare evil.”

      What a fantastic juxtaposition!

  4. Jun 2022
  5. May 2022
  6. Nov 2021
    1. e spoke, and the river stayed his current, stopped the waves breaking,and made all quiet in front of him and let him get safelyinto the outlet of the river.

      An example of a figure calming waters in myth.

      cross reference: Moses and the parting of the Red Sea

      To what dates might we attribute these two texts? Which preceded the other? What sort of potential cultural influences would the original had on the subsequent?

      Also cross reference the many deluge/flood stories in ancient literatures including Genesis 6-9, The Epic of Gilgamesh, etc.

    1. The Odyssey of Homer A Close Reading - Week 1

      Video: https://vimeo.com/642829312/245fb2b6a5

      The Odyssey of Homer: a Close Reading

      • Will Quinn
      • Dr. Elizabeth Patton

      Looking at Chapters 1-4

      • Council of Gods on Mount Olympus
      • Journey of Telemachus (Telemachy)


      Using Richmond Lattimore's translation of The Odyssey in part because he keeps the sens of the formulaic epithets.

      Dactylic hexameter

      "This is the forest primeval."


      • "The man of many ways" (Odysseus)
      • much enduring Odysseus
      • rosy fingered dawn

      These sorts of epithets are designed to fit the epic into the dactylic hexameter.

      Background of story


      in Greek suffering can mean "learning"

      Q: When does the council on the gods take place?

      "Council of the Gods" in Galleria Borghese (Rome) ceiling_ceiling.jpg)

      Penelope with the Suitors by Pinturicchio

      Circumspect Penelope

    1. The Greek historian Plutarch, who lived in the first century A.D., wrote that the epics owed their existence as complete poems to Lycurgus, an early ruler of Sparta, who encountered them during his travels in Asia Minor
  7. May 2021
  8. Mar 2021
    1. Muse

      Reminded of Chapter 11 in The Odyssey:

      I am likely going to retire this year and I find resonance in this as it appears that I will be accepting a "voluntary" buyout at the end of this fiscal year. My long sea journey, 25 years worth in teaching, will be officially over. Hence...the appeal to propitiate the gods, to let all the pain go, to ask forgiveness of the implacable Poseidon.

  9. Dec 2020
  10. Aug 2017
  11. books.googleusercontent.com books.googleusercontent.com
    1. -tYouhavenownoneedofatrade."

      Booker T. Washington was a big proponent for African Americans learning trades. When Booker T. Washington founded Tuskegee University, the student built the buildings themselves, harvested their own food, and provided for their basic necessities. He thought learning skills would lead to the advancement of African Americans.

  12. Feb 2017
    1. They retain enough references to the heroes of the classical tradition and enough illustrations translated from great Greek and Latin works to provide an overview for scholars not versed in the originals

      Like watching the Wishbone version?