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Dirk Johnson <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 3 Aug 2001 11:19:21 -0700
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I was likely too harsh in my previous message, but I've loved Homer since I
was in 7th grade and made a lot of arrangements and went a long way to be
able to read him in the original.  It's probably obvious that my patience is
as short for an easy dismissal of Homer as for an easy dismissal of Pound
(probably shorter).

Characterization is not the strength of Homer, but I don't care even a
little bit.  For characterization I'll read Hardy or James.  From the first
few lines of the Iliad, at least when read in Greek - if not even in Pope or
Chapman (Mandelbaum did a great Odyssey), one enters a world of time and
thought that is utterly different from our own, expressed in a supremely
powerful way.

On the other hand, I agree with you that a knowledge of Homer isn't
necessary for an appreciation of the Cantos.  Wouldn't hurt, though.

Won't even try to deal now with Dante except to say that the Troubadours are
probably more informative to the Cantos and the rest of Pounds verse.

-----Original Message-----
From: Tim Bray [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, August 03, 2001 10:36 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: how hermetic?

At 07:22 AM 03/08/01 -0400, Tim Romano wrote:
>You are frequenting too many technology newsgroups. You seem to have picked
>up a case of Troll's Disease.

I deny that on-line technology discussions have more trolls than
those dedicated to poetics, but I do apologize for my intemperate
tone.  I read classics heavily but genuinely fail to
understand the popularity of Homer - primarily as I said, because
most of his characters are people I wouldn't want to spend time
with.  Cf. T.E. Lawrence's irritated comments on them in his
collected letters, written while he was engaged in translating
the Odyessy.

I suspect that with Dante the translation is the problem.

And still don't buy the premise that you need to have delved
deeply in Homer & Dante to deal with the Cantos. -Tim