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So I'm taking this class called Gore and Glory: Early Heroic Literature. And, well, I shouldn't really be taking it, because we're reading the Iliad on such a shallow level, and I'm pretty sure most of the people in the class are just there to get their literature and the arts credit. But good things are born from the mediocre, I suppose: something sparked me thinking about what would have happened if Achilles had actually killed Agamemnon in Book I. And so I've decided to write it. (with some help from A.T. Murray's translation) Book I is basically summary, though.

So heres Book I )
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So I think I'm doing the 30 day book challenge*, only here instead of tumblr, because my tumblr is for pretty pictures, not words! And the first challenge is "your favorite book."

Now, like, I hope, anyone who reads a lot, I have a lot of trouble with this. There are books that I love, and books that I have loved, and books I've read to pieces. But I have trouble putting my finger on an absolute favorite. Setting aside what could be said about the display of choosing a favorite book - do I want to seem like a nerd (Lord of the Rings!) or slightly pretentious (Invisible Cities) or slightly unimaginative (Sherlock Holmes)- it's nearly impossible for me to actually decide. The three aforementioned books are the ones that spring to mind when asked for "my favorite book;" all three are from the recesses of my childhood. I read the last of them ten years ago. Of course, there's also The Once and Future King clamoring at my elbow, and The Bull from the Sea, and Eco's Baudolino. More recently, I loved Helen in Egypt: H. D. achieves the quality of a dream and evokes mystery, in the way that a priestess of Demeter at Elusis would call up the mystery of her site, all the while working with deep knowledge of the myths.

Such are the contenders for my heart and love, and I am hard-put to choose between them. Let us just say that my favorite book is one that keeps mystery at its heart, that takes place in a world not of today, and that has a certain beauty of language.

*May not actually happen
polutrope: (sleep is for pussies)
I'm halfway through The Darkness that Comes Before, which I'd been vaguely eying since it came out (in 2004!), and really, it's pretty decent. But I really wish he'd be less obvious about the Crusade parallel: so there's a really charismatic new leader of the "main religion"(which is at least polytheistic, thanks for not making it totally blatant) who announces a holy war against people who have control of the Holy City. Also there's an empire with really involved court protocols that used to be a lot bigger but they lost to the people against whom the war has been declared. And there was a groundswell among the common people, whom the leaders have now sent out to get killed. And they call it "taking the Tusk." In sum, have fun with the First Crusade, guys! Hint: it doesn't turn out well.

Oh also, random diacritical marks. This is a fairly obvious pet peeve, and one that needs to be ignored if you want to read fantasy, pretty much, but this guy went through the trouble of making language trees. Now that I look at it again, I think it's actually to show that vowels are pronounced separately, but "ao" is not a diphthong in English, so it's not really necessary. Also circumflexes. I think Tolkien pretty much admitted they were just there to look foreign in Dwarvish, which is cool - because it really does. But why is there a circumflex in "Anasûrimbor"?

On a completely different note, after a four month lapse, we're evidently doing the Hippolytus. I highly doubt it's going to happen: we haven't rehearsed or even seen each other for the previously-mentioned four months; we have no funds or costumes; no translation; and most importantly, no venue. And this is all going to come together by May. My pessimism aside, I am going to work hard on this, until it dies a lamentable death, and so I've started my translation! I have missed Greek, and I wish I'd been functional enough to work on it before. I went through the first thirty lines like a whirlwind, in part because I remember a startling amount of it from tenth grade.

And to switch again, I am pretty sure a witch has cursed my lime sorbet. It has now been in the freezer for almost two days and it is not even close to frozen.


Dec. 15th, 2008 01:00 am
polutrope: (sleep is for pussies)
My plan for break is to cook a new thing every day. Now, since I am much better at conceiving grandiose plans than at carrying them out, this may or may not happen. However, I've started out strong, and today (12-14-08; please disregard date of posting) I have made chocolate pepper cookies.

They're very easy and very rich, and although many people are skeptical about the pepper when first they hear of it, it makes a good counterpoint to the chocolate. This comes from someone who would willingly pick each fleck of pepper off her food, if she thought it could remove the stain of that spice.

(Also, having listened to your voicemail, I love you very much, [livejournal.com profile] dolique!)
polutrope: (sleep is for pussies)
I have clearly gone completely insane, but I think it's in a good way, or at least a way that's relevant to my major.

A couple of people and I are doing a production of Hippolytus in the original Ancient Greek: we've got most of our cast and have possibilities for the two people we don't have; we have professorial support for the idea and for the reading; we have texts; we have ideas for staging; and last but not least, we have funding!

When we went to the head of department (who is also our Vergil professor, Feeney) he said essentially that he'd been waiting for someone to do something like this the whole time he'd been head.

We're going to have a chorus and try to get music, and Professor Katz can help us with pronunciation, and it's going to be painfully awesome. And a lot of work, but I think it's manageable.

(We were waiting outside Professor Feeney's office, and we heard that he was talking with our prospective Theseus. We waited for him to come out and cornered him, then told him about the plan. He agreed. So now we only need Phaedra's nurse and Hippolytus himself.)

The only downside to this is that it means I can't take five classes next semester, but oh well. I've been told it's a bad idea in any case.
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I just bought my ticket to the Dessay/Florez Fille du Régiment, for May 8. Whee!

**And Lucia di Lammermoor! This season will be great!


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