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- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 4 Aug 2001 11:16:50 -0400
- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
David Murray <[log in to unmask]>
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Who was it that said, "Hey, I ain't a scholar,"? Let's at least use correct
language here. The correct statement is "Hey, I ain't NO scholar!" and I
ain't! However I do enjoy Pound.
Sorry I am tired and just trying to have a little fun.
-----Original Message-----
From: - Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Dirk Johnson
Sent: August 4, 2001 12:07 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: In Praise of Achilles, was Re: how hermetic?

I'm at work (still... somewhat longer for responding to this list), so I
don't have a text (of either Homer or Pound) at hand.  What comes to mind
immediately is the middle-voiced, please excuse my inaccuracy, in about the
10th line which is usually translated something like "and the will of Zeus
was being accomplished" while in Greek, due to the middle voice, it is more
like "and the will of Zeus was accomplishing itself," there being a sequence
in the verbs that takes one from the specific anger of Achilles through to
the cosmic order of things indifferent to his Anger, easily missed in ANY
translation however great, and a few of them (though none is Homer) ARE

Too long winded, though I'll let it stand.

Let's make it simple.

"Then we went crying down to the ship with heavy sheep and bodies and set
sail on the ocean."  What the hell, might as well read Pound that way, eh?
And having read it that way, I can certainly see nothing so great about the
Canto I.  Or how about Chaucer?  "When April with sweet showers has pierced
March's drought to the root, and bathed every vine in a liquid whose virtu
engenders flowers, folks long to go on pilgrimages etc etc.  Or Rilke "Who,
if I cried, would hear me among the Angelic orders?"

The point is that the Iliad is a poem, not a novel, as was pointed out by
the Greekless Carrol Cox in an excellent response to an easy dismissal of
Achilles as someone one wouldn't want to know.  It's language is what it is.
The only way to actually judge it is to read it as it is.

Hey, I ain't a scholar, having neither claim nor pretense to being one.  I'm
a computer systems administrator for a bank and I didn't even go to school
for that.  But I love Homer and nobody dis's my daddy.

-----Original Message-----
From: charles moyer [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, August 03, 2001 8:23 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: In Praise of Achilles, was Re: how hermetic?

Dear Pounders,

>From: Tim Bray <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: In Praise of Achilles, was Re: how hermetic?
>Date: Fri, Aug 3, 2001, 4:50 PM

> At 12:58 PM 03/08/01 -0700, Dirk Johnson wrote:
>>If Tim expects the Greek heroes to be middle class Americans, he should
>>probably just go back to reading the New York Times, if he can handle it.
> My, we're a bit tetchy aren't we?  While I'm neither American nor
> middle-class, many people who are just fine by me are both.  Given
> that the Times' canonical readers is hardly your basic M.C.American,
> you should pay more attention to rhetorical consistency in future
> polemics.  My problem with most of Homer's characters is that
> they're vicious, self-important, thin-skinned, and dishonest.
> I acknowledge that many have loved these books and that probably
> there's something there, just (unlike the Cantos) not for me.
> And let me reiterate my recommendation of T.E. Lawrence's
> letters, and not just for their remarks on Homer (and one or
> two on EP if I recall correctly) - really great stuff.
>>Or if he really wants to make decisions about Homer he should take the
>>and put out the effort to read the Iliad in Greek.
> That may well be it.  -Tim

And then there are not so many who can do that, i.e. read Homeric Greek. And
I have seen this intimidation work many times before. I read some Classical
Greek. Could Dirk please specifically tell us how the works of Homer appear
so different when examined in their original language that it would
constitute a more just decision in one's appreciation?
    Hahem, did Pound know a little Latin and less Greek himself? Not to
unstuff any Popinjays.

Charles Moyer