NEW FULL DB (2.4M)
3 Amor Towles
3 Adam Nicolson
2 Robert Dessaix
2 Philip Pullman
2 Margaret Atwood
2 Lauren Willig
2 Jorge Luis Borges
2 Daniel Mendelsohn
2 C S Lewis
2 Carl Sagan
*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***
1:The Odyssey is constantly free and constantly inventive. ~ Adam Nicolson
2:The story as told in The Odyssey doesn't hold water. There are too many inconsistencies. ~ Margaret Atwood
3:O thou, whose certain eye foresees The fix'd event of fate's remote decrees. ~ Homer, The Odyssey, Book IV, line 627. Pope's translation
4:I was horrified in high school by the fate of the hanged maids at the end of the Odyssey; it seemed unfair to me, even then. ~ Margaret Atwood
5:The Odyssey is the story of motion both purposeful and purposeless, successful and futile. What else is the history of law? ~ Bernhard Schlink
6:There are 201 words in the Iliad and the Odyssey that occur only once in Homer and never again in the whole of Greek literature. ~ Adam Nicolson
7:I practiced on the greatest model of storytelling we've got, which is "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey." I told those stories many, many times. ~ Philip Pullman
8:The Iliad is only great because all life is a battle, The Odyssey because all life is a journey, The Book of Job because all life is a riddle. ~ G K Chesterton
9:The Odyssey and Iliad say things about the human condition in ways we should re-acquaint ourselves with, and use as a prism to interpret though. ~ Robert Dessaix
10:English poetic education should, really, not begin with The Canterbury Tales, not with the Odyssey, not even with Genesis, but with Song of Amergin. ~ Robert Graves
11:I suppose I'd have to say that my favourite author is Homer. After Homer's Ilaid, I'd name The Odyssey, and then I'd mention a number of plays of Euripides. ~ William Golding
12:Men who neglect philosophy while busying themselves with ordinary affairs are like the Suitors [in the Odyssey] who desired Penelope but went to bed with her maids. ~ Gorgias
13:Danny is on my bed and depressed because Ricky was picked up by a break dancer at the Odyssey on the night of the Duran Duran look-alike contest and murdered. ~ Bret Easton Ellis
14:I read the Odyssey because it was the story of a man who returned home after being absent for more than twenty years and was recognized only by his dog. ~ Guillermo Cabrera Infante
15:Poems are language turned into art; sound and sense matter; they can be as long or longer than The Odyssey or as short or shorter than a haiku. Not very helpful. ~ Campbell McGrath
16:The Odyssey puts us into a world that is a peculiar mixture of the strange and the familiar. The tension between strangeness and familiarity is in fact the poem’s central subject. ~ Homer
17:Be that blind bard who on the Chian strand, By those deep sounds possessed with inward light, Beheld the Iliad and the Odyssey Rise to the swelling of the voiceful sea. ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge
18:Forgetful youth! but know, the Power above With ease can save each object of his love; Wide as his will, extends his boundless grace. ~ Homer, The Odyssey, Book III, line 285. Pope's translation
19:He always made a point of mentioning that he was reading the Odyssey on his iPad. Books are an obsolete technology! he’d say. Get with the times. Homer on an iPad, now that’s an adventure. ~ Daniel Mendelsohn
20:Sometimes,” Nina clarified, “everybody tells you something because they are everybody. But why should one listen to everybody? Did everybody write the Odyssey? Did everybody write the Aeneid?” She ~ Amor Towles
21:In this way, the Odyssey’s hero embodies one of its central themes, which is that the capacity to defer satisfaction and endure suffering is as necessary for success as the ability to perform brilliant feats. ~ Homer
22:APLUSTRE (APLU'STRE) n.s.[Latin.]The ancient ensign carried in sea vessels. The one holds a sword in her hand, to represent the Iliad, as the other has an aplustre, to represent the Odyssey, or voyage of Ulysses.Addison. ~ Samuel Johnson
23:There are no moral or intellectual merits. Homer composed the Odyssey; if we postulate an infinite period of time, with infinite circumstances and changes, the impossible thing is not to compose the Odyssey, at least once. ~ Jorge Luis Borges
24:In the words of classicist Jennifer Wise, “With little exaggeration, it could be said that the entirety of the Odyssey ultimately boils down to one simple technological problem: the epic hero’s inability to write home.”35 ~ William J Bernstein
25:In The Odyssey, we find instead the story of a man whose grand adventure is simply to go back to his own home, where he tries to turn everything back to the way it was before he went away. For this hero, mere survival is the most amazing feat of all. ~ Homer
26:I laid my lips against hers and smiled. “When I come home, I’m building you your dream library. With tall ladders and everything. And then I’m going to make love to you somewhere between The Odyssey and To Kill a Mockingbird. ~ Brittainy C Cherry
27:In the Odyssey, our craft hero demanded that his sailors tie him to the mast so that he wouldn't take a dive off the starboard side when he heard the alluring singing of the Sirens. You shouldn't trust your future self. Prepare for his or her weakness. ~ A J Jacobs
28:At the opening of the Odyssey, Telemachus, inspired by the male-born Athena, searches for his father by turning against his mother. Jesus too publicly spurns his mother to be about his father's business. Male adulthood begins with the breaking of female chains. ~ Camille Paglia
29:Homer’s language is markedly rhythmical, but it is not difficult or ostentatious. The Odyssey relies on coordinated, not subordinated syntax (“ and then this, and then this, and then this,” rather than “although this, because of that, when this, which was this, on account of that”). ~ Homer
30:What if The Odyssey has no more validity or authenticity than one of the other stories that you hear Odysseus telling? Whoever created The Odyssey was incredibly hip to stuff that we think, in our post-modernist, post-structuralist era, we're uncovering for the first time; but we aren't. ~ Daniel Mendelsohn
31:The title is Ulysses'
'Is it about the Odyssey?'
'No, it’s about how prosaic life is today.'
'That’s all. It says that our heads are full of nonsense. That we are flesh, blood, and bone. That one person has the same value as another. That we want only to eat, drink, fuck. ~ Elena Ferrante
32:Sometimes,” Nina clarified, “everybody tells you something because they are everybody. But why should one listen to everybody? Did everybody write the Odyssey? Did everybody write the Aeneid?” She shook her head then concluded definitively: “The only difference between everybody and nobody is all the shoes. ~ Amor Towles
33:Do you realize that all great literature — "Moby Dick," "Huckleberry Finn," "A Farewell to Arms," "The Scarlet Letter," "The Red Badge of Courage," "The Iliad and The Odyssey," "Crime and Punishment," the Bible, and "The Charge of the Light Brigade" — are all about what a bummer it is to be a ...human being? ~ Kurt Vonnegut
34:In Book VIII of the Odyssey we read that the gods weave misfortunes into the pattern of events to make a song for future generations to sing.
Στην Όγδοη Ραψωδία της Οδύσσειας διαβάζουμε ότι οι θεοί κλώθουν τις συμφορές για να μη λείπουν από τις μελλούμενες γενιές θέματα για τραγούδια. (μτφ Δ. Καλοκύρης) ~ Jorge Luis Borges
35:Amy read Ovid and Virgil and Aristophanes and Homer. She read dry histories and scandalous love poetry (her governesses, who had little Latin and less Greek, naïvely assumed that anything in a classical tongue must be respectable), but mostly she returned again and again to The Odyssey.
Odysseus had fought to go home, and so would Amy. ~ Lauren Willig
36:Well, sometimes everybody tells you something because it is true.” “Sometimes,” Nina clarified, “everybody tells you something because they are everybody. But why should one listen to everybody? Did everybody write the Odyssey? Did everybody write the Aeneid?” She shook her head then concluded definitively: “The only difference between everybody and nobody is all the shoes. ~ Amor Towles
37:What I often do in my work is to take a great story, such as the Odyssey, the search for the Grail, the story of Jesus, or the story of the great peacemaker who helped create the Iroquois Confederacy in the 15th century. I then use these tales as templates upon which to weave psychological and spiritual exercises which allow us to open ourselves up to the larger venue of a story. ~ Jean Houston
38:No encounter occured that day, and I was glad of it; I took out of my pocket a little Homer I had not opened since leaving Marseilles, reread three lines of the Odyssey, learned them by heart; then, finding sufficient sustenance in their rhythm and reveling in them at leisure, I closed the book and remained, trembling, more alive than I had thought possible, my mind numb with happiness. ~ Andr Gide
39:No encounter occured that day, and I was glad of it; I took out of my pocket a little Homer I had not opened since leaving Marseilles, reread three lines of the Odyssey, learned them by heart; then, finding sufficient sustenance in their rhythm and reveling in them at leisure, I closed the book and remained, trembling, more alive than I had thought possible, my mind numb with happiness. ~ Andre Gide
40:...we have a right to narrow down our universe ever further and further; until like the world of the Iliad and the Odyssey it is made up of certain simple endurances, enjoyments, mental and physical struggles, surrounded by the washing of the sea, the blowing of the wind, the swaying of the wheat, the falling of the rain, the voyaging of the clouds, and the motions of the sun and moon and dawn and twilight. ~ John Cowper Powys
41:When I re-read the Odyssey, it felt like I was reading PD James or Minette Walters - you feel that you are sharing in something that hundreds of millions of people have read with love, and I think that this is worth holding onto. It is not a matter of canonical texts or elitism, which the universities are trying to make us wary about. It is about shared language and metaphor and experience and imagery and that is all good. ~ Robert Dessaix
42:My real purpose in telling middle-school students stories was to practice telling stories. And I practiced on the greatest model of storytelling we've got, which is "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey." I told those stories many, many times. And the way I would justify it to the head teacher if he came in or to any parents who complained was, look, I'm telling these great stories because they're part of our cultural heritage. I did believe that. ~ Philip Pullman
43:A loose generalization would have it that creation and destruction go hand in hand. But my destruction takes the form of trying to make an old story work, for instance having almost to destroy the old story to tell it anew. The Odyssey is an oldie. Which I try to tell on dry land, so to speak, in The Studhorse Man. You see, the old stories, instead of illuminating the world, sometimes stop us from seeing it. It's like a pair of glasses that don't quite fit any longer. ~ Robert Kroetsch
44:Whereas the Odyssey represents the maturity of the moral consciousness of a whole people, Huckleberry Finn shows only its beginnings in the mind of a child. And with a self-protective dexterity that would not have surprised Mark Twain in the least, the adult racist mentality of America has dealt with the threat of that beginning by decreeing that Huckleberry Finn is not a book for the chastening of adults, which to a large extent it certainly is, but a book for the entertainment of children. ~ Wendell Berry
45:The Bible is forbidding when you start to read it. The language is odd. The stories start and stop herkily-jerkily. The characters behave in inexplicable ways. It takes a little bit of time to get into the rhythm of the book. I found reading the first 15 chapters of Genesis very very difficult. Once I got past there, I loved reading, and found it very easy. When you get used to the Bible, it becomes thrilling to read (like any great book - I just had exactly the same experience with the Odyssey). ~ David Plotz
46:back then, fairy tales were for adults. Children listened to them and enjoyed them, but children were not the primary audience, no more than they were the intended audience of Beowulf, or The Odyssey. J. R. R. Tolkien said, in a robust and fusty analogy, that fairy tales were like the furniture in the nursery – it was not that the furniture had originally been made for children: it had once been for adults and was consigned to the nursery only when the adults grew tired of it and it became unfashionable. ~ Neil Gaiman
47:Work hard, then, on the disappointment or anticlimax which is certainly coming to the patient during his first few weeks as a churchman. The Enemy allows this disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavour. It occurs when the boy who has been enchanted in the nursery by Stories from the Odyssey buckles down to really learning Greek. It occurs when lovers have got married and begin the real task of learning to live together. In every department of life it marks the transition from dreaming aspiration to laborious doing. ~ C S Lewis
48:I thank God I met Homer again that summer. He was suddenly alongside me, a companion and an ally, the most truly reliable voice I had ever known. It was like discovering poetry itself, or the dead speaking. As I read and reread the Odyssey in translation, I suddenly felt that here was the unaffected truth, here was someone speaking about fate and the human condition in ways that other people only seem to approach obliquely; and that directness, that sense of nothing between me and the source, is what gripped me. I felt like asking, “Why has no one told me about this before? ~ Adam Nicolson
49:Once I began developing an appreciation for fantasy and imaginative literature like Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey, C. S. Lewis’s series The Chronicles of Narnia, and of course J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, I discovered that my appreciation for Revelation has grown and the weight of its images have pressed heavier on my soul. As I have read imaginative literature, my imagination has developed. As my imagination has developed, I have found myself reading Revelation more patiently, allowing the images to emerge in my mind until I feel the full spiritual shock of their intended voltage. ~ Tony Reinke
50:no one will have any doubt that those are laborious triflers who spend their time on useless literary problems, of whom even among the Romans there is now a great number. It was once a foible confined to the Greeks to inquire into what number of rowers Ulysses had, whether the Iliad or the Odyssey was written first, whether moreover they belong to the same author, and various other matters of this stamp, which, if you keep them to yourself, in no way pleasure your secret soul, and, if you publish them, make you seem more of a bore than a scholar. But now this vain passion for learning useless things has assailed the Romans also. ~ Seneca
AS one that for a weary space has lain
Lull'd by the song of Circe and her wine
In gardens near the pale of Proserpine,
Where that Aeaean isle forgets the main,
And only the low lutes of love complain,
And only shadows of wan lovers pine-As such an one were glad to know the brine
Salt on his lips, and the large air again-So gladly from the songs of modern speech
Men turn, and see the stars, and feel the free
Shrill wind beyond the close of heavy flowers,
And through the music of the languid hours
They hear like Ocean on a western beach
The surge and thunder of the Odyssey.
~ Andrew Lang
52:Only six books from the age of the Roadmakers were known to exist: The Odyssey; Brave New World; The Brothers Karamazov; The Collected Short Stories of Washington Irving; Eliot Klein’s book of puzzles and logic. Beats Me; and Goethe’s Faust. They also had substantial sections of The Oxford Companion to World Literature and several plays by Bernard Shaw. There were bits and pieces of other material. Of Mark Twain, two fragments remained, the first half of “The Facts in the Case of the Great Beef Contract,” and chapter sixteen from Life on the Mississippi, which describes piloting and racing steamboats, although the precise nature of the steamboat tantalizingly eluded Illyria’s best scholars. ~ Jack McDevitt
53:The development of objective thinking by the Greeks appears to have required a number of specific cultural factors. First was the assembly, where men first learned to persuade one another by means of rational debate. Second was a maritime economy that prevented isolation and parochialism. Third was the existence of a widespread Greek-speaking world around which travelers and scholars could wander. Fourth was the existence of an independent merchant class that could hire its own teachers. Fifth was the Iliad and the Odyssey, literary masterpieces that are themselves the epitome of liberal rational thinking. Sixth was a literary religion not dominated by priests. And seventh was the persistence of these factors for 1,000 years. ~ Carl Sagan
54:And it has stayed there, calmly in its spot, growing slowly, producing leaves, losing leaves, producing more, as those mammoths became extinct, as Homer wrote The Odyssey, as Cleopatra reigned, as Jesus was nailed to a cross, as Siddhartha Gautama left his palace to weep for his suffering subjects, as the Roman Empire declined and fell, as Carthage was captured, as water buffalo were domesticated in China, as the Incas built cities, as I leaned over the well with Rose, as America fought with itself, as world wars happened, as Facebook was invented, as millions of humans and other animals lived and fought and procreated and went, bewildered, to their fast graves, the tree had always been the tree. That was the familiar lesson of time. ~ Matt Haig
55:The Greeks were so committed to ideas as supernatural forces that they created an entire group of goddesses (not one but nine) to represent creative power; the opening lines of both The Iliad and The Odyssey begin with calls to them. These nine goddesses, or muses, were the recipients of prayers from writers, engineers, and musicians. Even the great minds of the time, like Socrates and Plato, built shrines and visited temples dedicated to their particular muse (or muses, for those who hedged their bets). Right now, under our very secular noses, we honor these beliefs in our language, as the etymology of words like museum ("place of the muses") and music ("art of the muses") come from the Greek heritage of ideas as superhuman forces. ~ Scott Berkun
That is what the Odyssey means.
Love can leave you nowhere in New Mexico
raising peacocks for the rest of your life.
The seriously happy heart is a problem.
Not the easy excitement, but summer
in the Mediterranean mixed with
the rain and bitter cold of February
on the Riviera, everything on fire
in the violent winds. The pregnant heart
is driven to hopes that are the wrong
size for this world. Love is always
disturbing in the heavenly kingdom.
Eden cannot manage so much ambition.
The kids ran from all over the piazza
yelling and pointing and jeering
at the young Saint Chrysostom
standing dazed in the church doorway
with the shining around his mouth
where the Madonna had kissed him. ~ Jack Gilbert
57:When Richard created the Purple Gentian, the talent for ancient languages that had stunned his schoolmasters at Eton had come to his aid once again. While Sir Percy had pretended to be a fop, Richard bored the French into complacency with long lectures about antiquity. When Frenchmen demanded to know what he was doing in France, and Englishmen reproached him for fraternising with the enemy, Richard opened his eyes wide and proclaimed, ‘But a scholar is a citizen of the world!’ Then he quoted Greek at them. They usually didn’t ask again. Even Gaston Delaroche, the Assistant Minister of Police, who had sworn in blood to be avenged on the Purple Gentian and had the tenacity of…well, of Richard’s mother, had stopped snooping around Richard after being subjected to two particularly knotty passages from the Odyssey. ~ Lauren Willig
58:The development of objective thinking by the Greeks appears to have required a number of specific cultural factors. First was the assembly, where men first learned to persuade one another by means of rational debate. Second was a maritime economy that prevented isolation and parochialism. Third was the existence of a widespread Greek-speaking world around which travelers and scholars could wander. Fourth was the existence of an independent merchant class that could hire its own teachers. Fifth was the Iliad and the Odyssey, literary masterpieces that are themselves the epitome of liberal rational thinking. Sixth was a literary religion not dominated by priests. And seventh was the persistence of these factors for 1,000 years. That all these factors came together in one great civilization is quite fortuitous; it didn’t happen twice. ~ Carl Sagan
59:Achilles’ rebuke of Odysseus, in its pride and despair, resonates throughout the Odyssey. Yet rather than spreading a gloom over the rest of the poem, it is a constant background reminder. We are moved, as the poet describes them, by the simplest of things human life has to offer: a bath, a meal, a courteous welcome to a stranger, a conversation by the fire. There is a radiance that surrounds our brief human actions, a beauty that makes even the life of a beggar or a slave, from Achilles’ perspective, seem like a privilege. These simple things are the givens longed for by him and the other ghosts, those that would have wept to step barefoot into reality, That would have wept and been happy, have shivered in the frost And cried out to feel it again, have run fingers over leaves And against the most coiled thorn, have seized on what was ugly And laughed . . . ~ Homer
60:These half-lines, or verses, with their clearly defined rhythmic forms, are the primary building blocks of Old English poetry and derive from a strictly oral tradition of pagan Germanic poetry at a time when there were no manuscripts, when minstrels carried tales in their heads and recited long poems, partly from memory and partly through the use of an oral-formulaic system which permitted them to compose as they went along, drawing upon a large store of “prefabricated” half-lines or entire lines and mixing them with fresh inventions. Some entire lines are pale clichés, adding nothing to the poem, like “on that day of this life” (which occurs three times in Beowulf ), but they give the minstrel time to think ahead. This is not peculiar to Germanic poetry—such lines are more frequent in the Odyssey, another poem derived from an ancient oral tradition, than in Beowulf. ~ Unknown
61:All of the great mythologies and much of the mythic story-telling of the world are from the male point of view. When I was writing The Hero with a Thousand Faces and wanted to bring female heroes in, I had to go to the fairy tales. These were told by women to children, you know, and you get a different perspective. It was the men who got involved in spinning most of the great myths. The women were too busy; they had too damn much to do to sit around thinking about stories. [...]
In the Odyssey, you'll see three journeys. One is that of Telemachus, the son, going in quest of his father. The second is that of the father, Odysseus, becoming reconciled and related to the female principle in the sense of male-female relationship, rather than the male mastery of the female that was at the center of the Iliad. And the third is of Penelope herself, whose journey is [...] endurance. Out in Nantucket, you see all those cottages with the widow's walk up on the roof: when my husband comes back from the sea. Two journeys through space and one through time. ~ Joseph Campbell
62:Earlier times may not have understood it any better than we do, but they weren't as embarrassed to name it: the life force or spark thought close to divine. It is not. Instead, it's something that makes those who have it fully human, and those who don't look like sleep walkers...It isn't enough to make someone heroic, but without it any hero will be forgotten. Rousseau called it force of soul; Arendt called it love of the world. It's the foundation of eros; you may call it charisma. Is it a gift of the gods, or something that has to be earned? Watching such people, you will sense that it's both: given like perfect pitch, or grace, that no one can deserve or strive for, and captured like the greatest of prizes it is. Having it makes people think more, see more, feel more. More intensely, more keenly, more loudly if you like; but not more in the way of the gods. On the contrary, next to heroes like Odysseus and Penelope, the gods seem oddly flat. They are bigger, of course, and they live forever, but their presence seems diminished...The gods of The Odyssey aren't alive, just immortal; and with immortality most of the qualities we cherish become pointless. With nothing to risk, the gods need no courage. ~ Susan Neiman
63:The fairy tale is accused of giving children a false impression of the world they live in. But I think no literature that children could read gives them less of a false impression. I think what profess to be realistic stories for children are far more likely to deceive them. I never expected the real world to be like the fairy tales. I think that I did expect school to be like the school stories. The fantasies did not deceive me: the school stories did. All stories in which children have adventures and successes which are possible, in the sense that they do not break the laws of nature, but almost infinitely improbable, are in more danger than the fairy tales of raising false expectations…
This distinction holds for adult reading too. The dangerous fantasy is always superficially realistic. The real victim of wishful reverie does not batten on the Odyssey, The Tempest, or The Worm Ouroboros: he (or she) prefers stories about millionaires, irresistible beauties, posh hotels, palm beaches and bedroom scenes—things that really might happen, that ought to happen, that would have happened if the reader had had a fair chance. For, as I say, there are two kinds of longing. The one is an askesis, a spiritual exercise, and the other is a disease. ~ C S Lewis
64:Heilner went on: "Yes, things were certainly different then. Who knows anything about things like that around here? All these bores and cowards who grind away and work their fingers to the bone and don't realize that there's something higher than the Hebrew alphabet. You're no different."
Hans kept silent. This Heilner fellow certainly was a strange one. A romantic, a poet. As everyone knew, he worked hardly at all and still he knew quite a bit, he knew how to give good answers, and at the same time despised his learning.
“We're reading Homer," he went on in the same mocking tone, "as though the Odyssey were a cookbook. Two verses an hour and then the whole thing is masticated word by word and inspected until you're ready to throw up. But at the end of the hour the professor will say: 'Notice how nicely the poet has turned this phrase! This has afforded you an insight into the secret of poetic creativity!' Just like a little icing around the aorists and particles so you won't choke on them completely. I don't have any use for that kind of Homer. Anyway, what does all this old Greek stuff matter to us? If one of us ever tried to live a little like a Greek, he'd be out on his tail. And our room is called 'Hellas'! Pure mockery! Why isn't it called 'wastepaper basket' or 'monkey cage' or 'sweatshop'? All this classical stuff is a big fake. ~ Hermann Hesse
65:We have been dreaming of robots since Homer. In Book 18 of the Iliad , Achilles’ mother, the nymph Thetis, wants to order a new suit of armor for her son, and so she pays a visit to the Olympian atelier of the blacksmith-god Hephaestus, whom she finds hard at work on a series of automata: . . . He was crafting twenty tripods to stand along the walls of his well-built manse, affixing golden wheels to the bottom of each one so they might wheel down on their own [automatoi] to the gods’ assembly and then return to his house anon: an amazing sight to see. These are not the only animate household objects to appear in the Homeric epics. In Book 5 of the Iliad we hear that the gates of Olympus swivel on their hinges of their own accord, automatai , to let gods in their chariots in or out, thus anticipating by nearly thirty centuries the automatic garage door. In Book 7 of the Odyssey , Odysseus finds himself the guest of a fabulously wealthy king whose palace includes such conveniences as gold and silver watchdogs, ever alert, never aging. To this class of lifelike but intellectually inert household helpers we might ascribe other automata in the classical tradition. In the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, a third-century-BC epic about Jason and the Argonauts, a bronze giant called Talos runs three times around the island of Crete each day, protecting Zeus’s beloved Europa: a primitive home alarm system. ~ Anonymous
66:War and Peace has to be put in a group not with Madame Bovary, Vanity Fair, or The Mill on the Floss, but with the Iliad, in the sense that when the novel is finished nothing is finished—the stream of life flows on, and with the appearance of Prince Andrew’s son the novel ends on the beginning of a new life. All the time there are openings out of the story into the world beyond. This is a thing that had never been attempted by historical novelists before Tolstóy. As for the open form, it has often been attempted, but never so successfully. In a very different way the open form was achieved by James Joyce in Ulysses. As Tolstóy is compared with the Iliad and the Odyssey, so critics say that Joyce’s novel is of a mythological nature. John Galsworthy’s Forsyte Saga and Arnold Bennett’s The Old Wives’ Tale may also claim to belong to the category of “open” novels. No novel has received more enthusiastic praise both in Russia and England than War and Peace. John Galsworthy spoke of it as “the greatest novel ever written,” and those fine critics Percy Lubbock and E. M. Forster have been no less emphatic. In The Craft of Fiction Lubbock says that War and Peace is: “a picture of life that has never been surpassed for its grandeur and its beauty. . . . The business of the novelist is to create life, and here is life created indeed! In the whole of fiction no scene is so continually washed by the common air, free to us all, as the scene of Tolstóy, the supreme genius among novelists. “Pierre and Andrew and Natásha and the rest of them are the children of yesterday and today and tomorrow; there is nothing in any of them that is not of all time. To an English reader of today it is curious—and more, it is strangely moving—to note how faithfully the creations of Tolstóy, the nineteenth-century Russian, copy the young people of the twentieth century and of England: it is all one, life in Moscow then, life in London now, provided only that it is young enough.” E. M. Forster in Aspects of the Novel says: “No English novelist is as great ~ Leo Tolstoy
67:Once I was asked by a seatmate on a trans-Pacific flight, a man who took the liberty of glancing repeatedly at the correspondence in my lap, what instruction he should give his fifteen-year-old daughter, who wanted to be a writer. I didn't know how to answer him, but before I could think I heard myself saying, 'Tell your daughter three things.'
"Tell her to read, I said. Tell her to read whatever interests her, and protect her if someone declares what she's reading to be trash. No one can fathom what happens between a human being and written language. She may be paying attention to things in the world beyond anyone else's comprehension, things that feed her curiosity, her singular heart and mind. Tell her to read classics like The Odyssey. They've been around a long time because the patterns in them have proved endlessly useful, and, to borrow Evan Connell's observation, with a good book you never touch bottom. But warn your daughter that ideas of heroism, of love, of human duty and devotion that women have been writing about for centuries will not be available to her in this form. To find these voices she will have to search. When, on her own, she begins to ask, make her a present of George Eliot, or the travel writing of Alexandra David-Neel, or To the Lighthouse.
"Second, I said, tell your daughter that she can learn a great deal about writing by reading and by studying books about grammar and the organization of ideas, but that if she wishes to write well she will have to become someone. She will have to discover her beliefs, and then speak to us from within those beliefs. If her prose doesn't come out of her belief, whatever that proves to be, she will only be passing on information, of which we are in no great need. So help her discover what she means.
"Finally, I said, tell your daughter to get out of town, and help her do that. I don't necessarily mean to travel to Kazakhstan, or wherever, but to learn another language, to live with people other than her own, to separate herself from the familiar. Then, when she returns, she will be better able to understand why she loves the familiar, and will give us a fresh sense of how fortunate we are to share these things.
"Read. Find out what you truly are. Get away from the familiar. Every writer, I told him, will offer you thoughts about writing that are different, but these three I trust. ~ Barry Lopez
68:...while epic fantasy is based on the fairy tale of the just war, that’s not one you’ll find in Grimm or Disney, and most will never recognize the shape of it. I think the fantasy genre pitches its tent in the medieval campground for the very reason that we even bother to write stories about things that never happened in the first place: because it says something subtle and true about our own world, something it is difficult to say straight out, with a straight face. Something you need tools to say, you need cheat codes for the human brain--a candy princess or a sugar-coated unicorn to wash down the sour taste of how bad things can really get.
See, I think our culture has a slash running through the middle of it, too. Past/Future, Conservative/Liberal, Online/Offline. Virgin/Whore. And yes: Classical/Medieval. I think we’re torn between the Classical Narrative of Self and the Medieval Narrative of Self, between the choice of Achilles and Keep Calm and Carry On.
The Classical internal monologue goes like this: do anything, anything, only don’t be forgotten. Yes, this one sacrificed his daughter on a slab at Aulis, that one married his mother and tore out his eyes, and oh that guy ate his kids in a pie. But you remember their names, don’t you? So it’s all good in the end. Give a Greek soul a choice between a short life full of glory and a name echoing down the halls of time and a long, gentle life full of children and a quiet sort of virtue, and he’ll always go down in flames. That’s what the Iliad is all about, and the Odyssey too. When you get to Hades, you gotta have a story to tell, because the rest of eternity is just forgetting and hoping some mortal shows up on a quest and lets you drink blood from a bowl so you can remember who you were for one hour.
And every bit of cultural narrative in America says that we are all Odysseus, we are all Agamemnon, all Atreus, all Achilles. That we as a nation made that choice and chose glory and personal valor, and woe betide any inconvenient “other people” who get in our way. We tell the tales around the campfire of men who came from nothing to run dotcom empires, of a million dollars made overnight, of an actress marrying a prince from Monaco, of athletes and stars and artists and cowboys and gangsters and bootleggers and talk show hosts who hitched up their bootstraps and bent the world to their will. Whose names you all know. And we say: that can be each and every one of us and if it isn’t, it’s your fault. You didn’t have the excellence for it. You didn’t work hard enough. The story wasn’t about you, and the only good stories are the kind that have big, unignorable, undeniable heroes. ~ Catherynne M Valente
69: ON THE GIFT-GIVING VIRTUE
When Zarathustra had said farewell to the town to
which his heart was attached, and which was named
The Motley Cow, many who called themselves his disciples followed him and escorted him. Thus they came
to a crossroads; then Zarathustra told them that he now
wanted to walk alone, for he liked to walk alone. His
disciples gave him as a farewell present a staff with a
golden handle on which a serpent coiled around the
sun. Zarathustra was delighted with the staff and leaned
on it; then he spoke thus to his disciples:
Tell me: how did gold attain the highest value? Because it is uncommon and useless and gleaming and
gentle in its splendor; it always gives itself. Only as the
image of the highest virtue did gold attain the highest
value. Goldlike gleam the eyes of the giver. Golden
splendor makes peace between moon and sun. Uncommon is the highest virtue and useless; it is gleaming and
gentle in its splendor: a gift-giving virtue is the highest
Verily, I have found you out, my disciples: you strive,
as I do, for the gift-giving virtue. What would you have
in common with cats and wolves? This is your thirst: to
become sacrifices and gifts yourselves; and that is why
you thirst to pile up all the riches in your soul. Insatiably your soul strives for treasures and gems, because
your virtue is insatiable in wanting to give. You force
all things to and into yourself that they may flow back
out of your well as the gifts of your love. Verily, such
a gift-giving love must approach all values as a robber;
but whole and holy I call this selfishness.
There is also another selfishness, an all-too-poor and
hungry one that always wants to steal-the selfishness
of the sick: sick selfishness. With the eyes of a thief it
looks at everything splendid; with the greed of hunger
it sizes up those who have much to eat; and always it
sneaks around the table of those who give. Sickness
speaks out of such craving and invisible degeneration;
the thievish greed of this selfishness speaks of a diseased
Tell me, my brothers: what do we consider bad and
worst of all? Is it not degeneration?And it is degeneration that we always infer where the gift-giving soul is
lacking. Upward goes our way, from genus to overgenus. But we shudder at the degenerate sense which
says, "Everything for me." Upward flies our sense: thus
it is a parable of our body, a parable of elevation.
Parables of such elevations are the names of the virtues.
Thus the body goes through history, becoming and
fighting. And the spirit-what is that to the body? The
herald of its fights and victories, companion and echo.
All names of good and evil are parables: they do not
define, they merely hint. A fool is he who wants knowledge of them!
Watch for every hour, my brothers, in which your
spirit wants to speak in parables: there lies the origin
of your virtue. There your body is elevated and resurrected; with its rapture it delights the spirit so that it
turns creator and esteemer and lover and benefactor of
When your heart flows broad and full like a river, a
blessing and a danger to those living near: there is the
origin of your virtue.
When you are above praise and blame, and your will
wants to comm and all things, like a lover's will: there is
the origin of your virtue.
When you despise the agreeable and the soft bed and
cannot bed yourself far enough from the soft: there is
the origin of your virtue.
When you will with a single will and you call this
cessation of all need "necessity": there is the origin of
Verily, a new good and evil is she. Verily, a new deep
murmur and the voice of a new well
Power is she, this new virtue; a dominant thought is
she, and around her a wise soul: a golden sun, and
around it the serpent of knowledge.
Here Zarathustra fell silent for a while and looked
lovingly at his disciples. Then he continued to speak
thus, and the tone of his voice had changed:
Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the
power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your
knowledge serve the meaning of the earth. Thus I beg
and beseech you. Do not let them fly away from earthly
things and beat with their wings against eternal walls.
Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has
flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew
away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it
may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning.
In a hundred ways, thus far, have spirit as well as
virtue flown away and made mistakes. Alas, all this de-
lusion and all these mistakes still dwell in our body:
they have there become body and will.
In a hundred ways, thus far, spirit as well as virtue
has tried and erred. Indeed, an experiment was man.
Alas, much ignorance and error have become body
Not only the reason of millennia, but their madness
too, breaks out in us. It is dangerous to be an heir. Still
we fight step by step with the giant, accident; and over
the whole of humanity there has ruled so far only nonsense-no sense.
Let your spirit and your virtue serve the sense of the
earth, my brothers; and let the value of all things be
posited newly by you. For that shall you be fighters! For
that shall you be creators!
With knowledge, the body purifies itself; making experiments with knowledge, it elevates itself; in the
lover of knowledge all instincts become holy; in the
elevated, the soul becomes gay.
Physician, help yourself: thus you help your patient
too. Let this be his best help that he may behold with
his eyes the man who heals himself.
There are a thousand paths that have never yet been
trodden-a thousand health and hidden isles of life.
Even now, man and man's earth are unexhausted and
Wake and listen, you that are lonely! From the future
come winds with secret wing-beats; and good tidings
are proclaimed to delicate ears. You that are lonely today, you that are withdrawing, you shall one day be
the people: out of you, who have chosen yourselves,
there shall grow a chosen people-and out of them, the
overman. Verily, the earth shall yet become a site of
recovery. And even now a new fragrance surrounds it,
bringing salvation-and a new hope.
When Zarathustra had said these words he became
silent, like one who has not yet said his last word; long
he weighed his staff in his hand, doubtfully. At last he
spoke thus, and the tone of his voice had changed.
Now I go alone, my disciples. You too go now, alone.
Thus I want it. Verily, I counsel you: go away from me
and resist Zarathustra! And even better: be ashamed of
him! Perhaps he deceived you.
The man of knowledge must not only love his
enemies, he must also be able to hate his friends.
One repays a teacher badly if one always remains
nothing but a pupil. And why do you not want to pluck
at my wreath?
You revere me; but what if your reverence tumbles
one day? Beware lest a statue slay you.
You say you believe in Zarathustra? But what matters
Zarathustra? You are my believers-but what matter all
believers? You had not yet sought yourselves: and you
found me. Thus do all believers; therefore all faith
amounts to so little.
Now I bid you lose me and find yourselves; and only
when you have all denied me will I return to you.
Verily, my brothers, with different eyes shall I then
seek my lost ones; with a different love shall I then love
And once again you shall become my friends and the
children of a single hope-and then shall I be with you
the third time, that I may celebrate the great noon with
And that is the great noon when man stands in the
middle of his way between beast and overman and
celebrates his way to the evening as his highest hope:
for it is the way to a new morning.
Then will he who goes under bless himself for being
one who goes over and beyond; and the sun of his
knowledge will stand at high noon for him.
"Dead are all gods: now we want the overman to
live"-on that great noon, let this be our last will.
Thus spoke Zarathustra.
Thus Spoke Zarathustra: Second Part
. . . and only when you have all denied me will
I return to you.
Verily, my brothers, with different eyes shall I
then seek my lost ones; with a different love shall
I then love you. (Zarathustra, "On the Gift-Giving Virtue." 1, p. 78)
TRANSLATOR S NOTES
1. The Child with the Mirror: Transition to Part Two with
its partly new style: "A new speech comes to me.
My spirit no longer wants to walk on worn soles."
2. Upon the Blessed Isles: The creative life versus belief
in God: "God is a conjecture." The polemic against the
opening lines of the final chorus in Goethe's Faust is taken
up again in the chapter "On Poets" (see comments, p. 81 ).
But the lines immediately following in praise of impermanence and creation are thoroughly in the spirit of Goethe.
3. On the Pitying: A return to the style of Part One and
a major statement of Nietzsche's ideas on pity, ressentiment,
4. On Priests: Relatively mild, compared to the portrait
of the priest in The Antichrist five years later.
5. On the Virtuous: A typology of different conceptions of
virtue, with vivisectional intent. Nietzsche denounces "the
filth of the words: revenge, punishment, reward, retri bution," which he associates with Christianity; but also
that rigorism for which "virtue is the spasm under
the scourge" and those who "call it virtue when their
vices grow lazy." The pun on "I am just" is, in German:
wenn sie sagen: "ich bin gerecht," so klingt es immer
gleich wie: "ich bin gerdcht!"
6. On the Rabble: The theme of Zarathustra's nausea is
developed ad nauseam in later chapters. La Nausge-to
speak in Sartre's terms-is one of his chief trials, and its
eventual conquest is his greatest triumph. "I often grew
weary of the spirit when I found that even the rabble had
esprit" may help to account for some of Nietzsche's remarks
elsewhere. Generally he celebrates the spirit-not in opposition to the body but as mens sana in corpore sano.
7. On the Tarantulas: One of the central motifs of Nietzsche's philosophy is stated in italics: "that man be delivered
from revenge." In this chapter, the claim of human equality
is criticized as an expression of the ressentiment of the subequal.
8. On the Famous Wise Men: One cannot serve two
masters: the people and the truth. The philosophers of
the past have too often rationalized popular prejudices. But
the service of truth is a passion and martyrdom, for "spirit
is the life that itself cuts into life: with its agony it
increases its own knowledge." The song of songs on the
spirit in this chapter may seem to contradict Nietzsche's
insistence, in the chapter "On the Despisers of the Body,"
that the spirit is a mere instrument. Both themes are
central in Nietzsche's thought, and their apparent contradiction is partly due to the fact that both are stated metaphorically. For, in truth, Nietzsche denies any crude dualism of body and spirit as a popular prejudice. The life of
the spirit and the life of the body are aspects of a single
life. But up to a point the contradiction can also be resolved
metaphorically: life uses the spirit against its present form
to attain a higher perfection. Man's enhancement is
inseparable from the spirit; but Nietzsche denounces the
occasional efforts of the spirit to destroy life instead of
9. The Night Song: "Light am I; ah, that I were nightly"
io. The Dancing Song: Life and wisdom as jealous women.
The Tomb Song: "Invulnerable am I only in the heel."
12. On Self-Overcoming: The first long discussion of the
will to power marks, together with the chapters "On the
Pitying" and "On the Tarantulas," one of the high points
of Part Two. Philosophically, however, it raises many difficulties. (See my Nietzsche, 6, III.)
On Those Who Are Sublime: The doctrine of self-
overcoming is here guarded against misunderstandings: far
from favoring austere heroics, Nietzsche praises humor (and
practices it: witness the whole of Zarathustra, especially
Part Four) and, no less, gracefulness and graciousness.
The three sentences near the end, beginning "And there
is nobody . . .
represent a wonderfully concise statement
of much of his philosophy.
14. On the Land of Education: Against modern eclecticism
and lack of style. "Rather would I be a day laborer in
Hades . . :": in the Odyssey, the shade of Achilles would
rather be a day laborer on the smallest field than king of
all the dead in Hades. Zarathustra abounds in similar
allusions. "Everything deserves to perish," for example, is
an abbreviation of a dictum of Goethe's Mephistopheles.
15. On Immaculate Perception: Labored sexual imagery,
already notable in "The Dancing Song," keeps this critique
of detachment from becoming incisive. Not arid but,
judged by high standards, a mismatch of message and
metaphor. Or put positively: something of a personal document. Therefore the German references to the sun as
feminine have been retained in translation. "Loving and
perishing (Lieben und Untergehn)" do not rhyme in
16. On Scholars: Nietzsche's, not Zarathustra's, autobiography.
17. On Poets: This chapter is full of allusions to the final
chorus in Goethe's Faust, which might be translated thus:
What is destructible
Is but a parable;
What fails ineluctably
Here it was seen,
Here it was action;
Lures to perfection.
i8. On Great Events: How successful Nietzsche's attempts
at narrative are is at least debatable. Here the story
distracts from his statement of his anti-political attitude.
But the curious mixture of the solemn and frivolous, myth,
epigram, and "bow-wow," is of course entirely intentional.
Even the similarity between the ghost's cry and the words
of the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderl and probably would
not have dismayed Nietzsche in the least.
1g. The Soothsayer: In the chapter "On the Adder's Bite"
a brief parable introduces some of Zarathustra's finest sayings; but here the parable is offered for its own sake, and
we feel closer to Rimbaud than to Proverbs. The soothsayer
reappears in Part Four.
20. On Redemption: In the conception of inverse cripples
and the remarks on revenge and punishment Zarathustra's
moral pathos reappears to some extent; but the mood of
the preceding chapter figures in his subsequent reflections,
which lead up to, but stop short of, Nietzsche's notion of
the eternal recurrence of the same events.
21. On Human Prudence: First: better to be deceived
occasionally than always to watch out for deceivers. Second:
vanity versus pride. Third: men today (1883) are too
concerned about petty evil, but great things are possible
only where great evil is harnessed.
22. The Stillest Hour: Zarathustra cannot yet get himself
to proclaim the eternal recurrence and hence he must
leave in order to "ripen."
~ Friedrich Nietzsche, ON THE GIFT-GIVING VIRTUE
2 Integral Yoga
3 Jorge Luis Borges
3 Carl Jung
2 Sri Aurobindo
2 The Secret Doctrine
Wikipedia - The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel
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