When I began this lit project, I was not sure which direction I would take. I had planned to pursue philosophy and drama, my original literature loves, but a sidestep into Ovid took me down the path of Ancient poetry. It quickly became a minor obsession. Having now read many of the Ancients, two ideas have crystallized in my mind: the cultural meaning of poetry as established by the Ancients; and the influence of Homer on Western Civilization. To culminate my compulsion for Ancient poetry, I read Homer.
This post will be brief. Rather than talking about the Iliad or the Odyssey, I offer a quick note on my relationship with his work:
Homer is a point of reference I share with nearly every literate person in the West. This is true not only of people today, but also of the Ancients. The Homer I read and know is the Homer they read and knew. Time, place, language give us a different understanding and perspective, but Homer still mediates our connection. This connection is culture, and it is overwhelming to think we have preserved culture for over two and a half thousand years.
I had a lot to say about Homer but gutted it all from this post. I am up for having a conversation about him, though, if anyone cares to throw in their own thoughts.
[My Update: I will be taking a break from blogging and my lit project. Two weeks, I think. You can email me in the meanwhile, or if you happen to be interested in what movies I am watching, you can stop by pear hut (my hitherto hidden tumblr).]