Sunday, October 25, 2009

Birthdays and Homer

Men grow tired of sleep, love, singing, and dancing sooner than war
- Homer

This afternoon I spent a couple of hours at the birthday celebration of my friend, Susie. I have known her for about a dozen years, mainly through our participation in two book groups. I first met her at the Lincoln Park Book Shop where we shared good times (almost) every third Thursday first at the Book Shop and more recently at the homes of the book group members, especially Susie's since her place was about in the middle of the various locations of the members. She was a founding member of the group going back to the early Nineties when the owner of the Book Store started the book group. More recently, in 1999, we started a Sunday morning group of which both Susie and I are founding members. In this group we tackle some major tomes, starting with James Joyce's Ulysses and continuing through our current reading of Homer's Iliad. Both Susie and I have read Homer before but this is an opportunity to discover the wonder of the Greeks and Trojans, Achilles, Agamemnon and Hector, all over again. It is a delight to wonder at the Gods and mortals and the role of fate in their enterprise. This mythic epic still speaks to us more than twenty-five hundred years after it first began to be recited by the poet Homer.


Damon Young said...

The Iliad is one of my favourite reads - an astonishing, sometimes overwhelming work. Homer's immortal horses, weeping at Patroclus' death, is one of the most spellbinding visions in literature.

By the way, I was given a Pelikan - whoah, what a beautiful pen...

James said...

I share your astonishment and find the Iliad more enjoyable than ever. We are currently about midway through the story as we try to understand Achilles' refusal to rejoin his comrades in their fight against the Trojans. We are reading Fagles' translation which is beautiful but we often refer back to Richmond Lattimore's version.

Glad you enjoy the Pelikan.