Saturday, June 25, 2011

We're mostly about Ovid these days

As most of our current focus is on Ovid, please bookmark the Ovid Blog, where we' re posting with some regularity. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Milton's God and Wagner's Wotan

Anyone who subscribes to the New York Review of Books should have a look at Stephen Greenblatt's piece, "The Lonely Gods." Here's the beginning of the article from the NYRB site:
When James Levine’s tangled halo of white hair was picked up by the spotlight shining down over the orchestra pit at the May 9 performance of Die Walküre, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the audience roared with pleasure and relief. With good reason. Levine’s bad back and other health woes had forced him to pull out of multiple events he was scheduled to conduct, including one recent performance of this opera, the second in the Ring cycle. But there were no signs of diminished vigor or control on that evening.
Greenblatt eventually gets to something important regarding the visions of divine power and human freedom as found in Paradise Lost and Die Walkure, but the full article is behind a paywall. Thanks to Jutta I have a print-out and will be happy to share. Here's a comment on it from a listserv. By all means have a look, especially if you happened to catch the recent Met Opera performance of Wagner's opera.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

An elegy by Catullus

Little could be further from the dramatic turns of Milton's Lycidas than this simple expression of pure, helpless grief:

By ways remote and distant waters sped
by Gaius Valerius Catullus
translated by Aubrey Beardsley

By ways remote and distant waters sped,
Brother, to thy sad grave-side am I come,
That I may give the last gifts to the dead,
And vainly parley with thine ashes dumb:
Since she who now bestows and now denies
Hath ta'en thee, hapless brother, from mine eyes.
But lo! these gifts, the heirlooms of past years,
Are made sad things to grace thy coffin shell;
Take them, all drenched with a brother's tears,
And, brother, for all time, hail and farewell!

Found on

Friday, June 03, 2011

King James Translation at 400

Shaw sends us a link from this month's Harper's Mag marking the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible:

History’s Best Seller Turns 400
A Forum with John Banville, Charles Baxter, Dan Chiasson, Paul Guest,
Benjamin Hale, Howard Jacobson, and Marilynne Robinson