Anagnorisis

Anagnorisis

Normally referring to the moment in a play or other work when a character makes a critical discovery, perhaps understanding the real situation for the first time.   I liked Nicolson’s use of it in describing Keats’ discovery of Homer: ‘Keats had read and stared in...
A luminous spot in Chicago

A luminous spot in Chicago

What makes a city great?  What makes a civilization? How about a bright, quiet, dazzling new building in the heart of a town, housing 30,000 volumes of poetry?  A place where you can step off the street into poetry through a single glass door. Before going to Chicago,...
Storm-driven sea

Storm-driven sea

Odysseus grappled with Poseidon’s fury and his storm-driven seas.  Its unrelenting onslaught is one of the most terrifying aspects Homer conveyed graphically. ‘A storm-driven sea appears to acquire a vitality and viciousness, a desire to do damage, which...
Monstrous-beautiful Sirens

Monstrous-beautiful Sirens

The prelude to the monstrous-destructive obstacles Odysseus has to overcome, or bypass, to reach home. ‘After the monstrous-beautiful Sirens, Odysseus comes to the limb-consuming Scylla and her friend the body-gulping Charybdis.  Scylla is a six-headed,...
Limb-consuming Scylla

Limb-consuming Scylla

I appreciated Nicolson’s summing up the twin terrors as two aspects of the female threat. ‘After the monstrous-beautiful Sirens, Odysseus comes to the limb-consuming Scylla and her friend the body-gulping Charybdis.  Scylla is a six-headed, rock-bound,...
Flat-footed view

Flat-footed view

Nicolson’s writing helped cure me of any ‘flat-footed view’ I may have had of the Bronze Age, spinning its warriors from text-book two-dimensionality to full-blooded 3-D. ‘It is what comes next that re-orientates any flat-footed view of Bronze...
City-ravaging Odysseus

City-ravaging Odysseus

The dark side of Odysseus, the luminous hero. Capable of such delicacy, sincerity, loyalty, he is also often merciless and brutal. ‘They don’t like him much, nor he them.  Even here, as he is accepting their hospitality, Homer gives him the traditional...
Body-gulping Charybdis

Body-gulping Charybdis

If ever there was an argument for steering a middle course, it is the horrific pair of sailor slayers, Scylla and Charybdis. Nicolson contrasts them perfectly. ‘After the monstrous-beautiful Sirens, Odysseus comes to the limb-consuming Scylla and her friend the...
As distinct as…

As distinct as…

I like this geometric juxtaposition, though I might have made the distinction sharper: as distinct as circle and square?  As distinct as line and circle? ‘Distinct as polygon and square.’ Source: Christopher Logue, War Music: An account of Books 1-4 and...

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