Monday, February 4, 2008

The Iliad and Moi Again: Odd Musings for your own personal enjoyment.

Well, I've been reading in the Iliad a lot lately, so I thought I would share some fast thoughts on it.

First, I can say that it isn't an easy read. It's written in verse and the language is so different from modern day, so it's a really different mindset.

Second, I enjoy it well enough. After I finish it I can say that the Odyssey will not be at the top of my priority reading list. I'll probably tackle that next year or in a couple isn't important to me right now. I don't like the Iliad well enough to pursue it right away, even though I am enjoying it!

Third, I think it's a good book to read. It's some of the greatest lit there is, obviously. The story is full of Greek Culture and Mythology....some of the characters are Greek gods. I'm going to read seven books in it this month and finish it in March. Right now it is one of my priorities....I bought it nearly a year ago, and left it lying around for a while, and then I got interested enough to start it in September. I have enjoyed it a lot. The footnotes also include lots of insights as to what Homer might have been thinking or eluding to. I think I'll enjoy reading it a second time better because all of my highlighted passages and phrases will be there to see. It makes books more interesting and special if they are highlighted, I think. I don't highlight modern literature and novels (meaning I don't highlight things like Leven Thumps or Warriors) even though I will probably stamp the Warrior books.

The Iliad is interesting but also very hard to follow. A lot of the names are hard to pronounce and they are so similar that when you see one name you don't know if you have seen it before or not (except for main characters like Paris and Hector and Achilles and Helen and Zeus....and all of the goddesses that get involved. Their names are easier to remember.)
Obviously a great work all mature ages to read. I do enjoy reading it, but I'm also pushing some whenever I pick it up. I always look forward to any mentions of immortal horses though! Those are fun and interesting. Also at one point in a recent book....I want to say book 10....a group of guys (Achilles included) went on some sort of mission (see it's already left me) and each one wore the skin of a different animal. The translator suggested that this was a clue to each of their personalities. Notes like that bring so much more meaning and depth to the actions and feelings of the characters.
I think that when I'm finished, I will have enjoyed it, but it won't be on my favorite books list. It isn't quite my personal taste, even though I'm getting more interested in epic-like things, and this was one of the beginnings of Epics! (The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Bible came first.) I have the Barnes and Noble translation. I remember buying it last April on a trip to Barnes and Noble with Abby, my cousin, and how I picked it out just before I was dragged out. The grownups were ready to go....anyway I bought the book on a spur of the moment impulse along with a floral denim journal that I never use. You never know with journals. You may write in it all the time, or you may let it sit on the shelf and never touch it. The denim journal has very little pages filled out.


John L. said...

Oh, poor por Anna. She had to read ONE WHOLE CLASSIC. You take a nice long 3 year break. jk
Im glad you read that. Its probably to much to ask you to read another classic. But oh well. Make yourself allways have a classic close at hand. And force yourself to read it sometimes. You need to allways read more classic than pop. You will benefit from forceing yourself.
trust me.

Anna said...

Ahem. I thought you said that you knew that I didn't read only pop. I happen to be reading another classic besides the Iliad (actually....1, 2...) at least two, if you consider Tolkien's books classics, which I do in some ways. I haven't finished the Iliad yet John Lewis, and I have more than one classic on my reading list. Seriously. I'm going to start a very thick classic in March!