Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Something of value by virtue of Something

Something by virtue of nothing -- one of my favorite blogs that address the classics -- offers a post entitled Two Retellings of Mythology that speaks very much to a key element that ties together our pair of readings. It addresses how both Pindar and Ovid use myth as an element for the creation and elaboration of their very different themes.

We certainly want to explore the ways myth works in each poem, as we also consider some of the basic polarities. For example, that Pindar speaks to a Tyrant (and what a Tyrant in that moment was - a builder of the polis) about contests, and excellence, and false stories, and χάρις -- grace, favor, that can persuade us of unbelievable things -- while Ovid's Penelope writes to her long absent husband, suspended in uncertainty over his life, fate, fortune (all of which amount to her "reading" of the Iliad) and how this relates to her own destiny.

Very different poems, but in their use of prior art and storytelling, in their reading of myth and Homer, they share a literary act of invention, the retelling, redoubling in the leaves, or folds, of the text:
κλυταῖσι δαιδαλωσέμεν ὕμνων πτυχαῖς  
adorn with the glorious folds of song
Something also provides two more resources for these readings. For Pindar, there's the entire Lattimore translation which can be downloaded as a pdf. For Ovid, Grant Showerman's Loeb edition of the Heroides, with English prose translation. We are grateful to Something's author, as well as to the invaluable work of Open Library, for these.

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