Escape from Elba

Books => Myth and Ancient Literature => Topic started by: Admin on April 16, 2007, 08:48:16 PM

Title: Myth and Literature
Post by: Admin on April 16, 2007, 08:48:16 PM
How has the literature of the past influenced the works of today?

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: TrojanHorse on May 22, 2007, 10:41:07 AM
No St. John's alums online here?  this would be easy pickings for one of them...

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: barton on May 24, 2007, 01:09:34 PM
The Miller's Tale, by Chaucer, established the importance of the fart in humorous narrative.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: barton on May 26, 2007, 12:16:34 PM
While the myth of Sisyphus first addressed the rigors of the boring day job.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: Dzimas on June 07, 2007, 10:21:18 AM
The Miller's Tale, by Chaucer, established the importance of the fart in humorous narrative.

... and Ben Franklin eloquantly built upon the theme in,

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: barton on June 11, 2007, 10:22:04 AM
from the above link:

A mention of flatulence might conjure images of bratty high school boys or lowbrow comics. But one of the most eloquent - and least expected - commentators on the subject is Benjamin Franklin. The writings in Fart Proudly reveal the rogue who lived peaceably within the philosopher and statesman. Included are "The Letter to a Royal Academy"; "On Choosing a Mistress"; "Rules on Making Oneself Disagreeable"; and other jibes. Franklin's irrepressible wit found an outlet in perpetrating hoaxes, attacking marriage and other sacred cows, and skewering the English Parliament. Reminding us of the humorous, irreverent side of this American icon, these essays endure as both hilarious satire and a timely reminder of the importance of a free press.

Mention of flatulence also conjures recent derailments of the Creative Writing forum, said derailments perhaps reflecting a certain ennui with the present storyline, such as it is.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: whiskeypriest on June 11, 2007, 10:41:56 AM
The Miller's Tale, by Chaucer, established the importance of the fart in humorous narrative.
As does the Creative Writing forum.

Though in point of fact, The Cuckoo Song ("Bullock stirreth, Buck verdeth" - verdeth being a form of the word fart) predates Canterbury Tales by a bit.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: barton on June 15, 2007, 01:37:40 PM
Just occurred to me this forum could be called,

Menander Where You May

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: lulu on June 18, 2007, 02:59:40 PM
I'm curious about the tale of Orpheus/Orfee/Orfeo (depending on what language) since seeing Gluck's glorious Orfeo ed Eurydice.

In one book there are versions of what happens to him after losing Euriidice (again spelling varies according to language); one book has it he was torn apart by furies by preaching homosexuality and angering Apollo.  I didn't read that he was torn apart by the Furies after he looked back on Eurydice which seems to be the most common consensus.

Four operas have been written about this myth and several movies.  It is a powerful myth that resonates up to this date, which explains Mark Morris' modern interpretation of the opera with the chorus dressed from Cleopatra to Diana and all points inbetween.

Any recommends on good books that go into mythology in a readable form? My Folio Society two-part set is impossible to follow for all the beauty of the tomes.  It may be time to go back to Edith Hamilton.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: barton on June 22, 2007, 10:44:34 AM
Hey, Lulu's back in town!

I think Bulfinch wrote an accessible tome on mythology.  Hamilton is good, too.  I'm sure there are others.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: madupont on July 10, 2007, 06:34:45 PM
I'm going to try for this: New fertility has changed the mind to indicate the bodily shape.

I like it better in Latin.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: Lhoffman on July 10, 2007, 11:14:37 PM
"In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora ..."

Animus would be spirit or soul rather than mind.  Ovid's choice of the word "formas" is interesting.  It can mean  shape, form or beauty. 

The word "dicere" is interesting, too.  The addition of "ere" gives the sense of the appropriateness of the act.  The word was spoken (to create) because it suited the speaker of the word (the god who created).

Similar to the idea of the Genesis creation, "it was good..."

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: madupont on July 11, 2007, 11:19:46 AM
Dicere  -- also, indicates;(another Latin word). I could go with "form the body" but I don't think that Ovid was speaking of the specifically Human but of bodily shapes or configuration.

I prefered not to go with "mentis":mind, nor with "alma":soul, nor "spiritus" because animus implies something more activiting --perhaps, instinctual.

I have to do that because Ovid was not Christian. As one of the Pagan Poets, you can or not interpret him as prefiguring Christianity as you prefer.

I don't(as I even am dubious of Paul taking over the business); at least, in the sense of Pauline doctrinaire as just so much inherent Legalistic baggage left over as Rome declines for the next half millenium.

What do you make of the  of "In nova...", rather than Im nova ?   It is almost as if implying that what transpires does not come from within but is an external.

Which means that I would trade you "fert", as inspiring--or perhaps, inspiration, inspiriting animus which changes form.

As I said, what really perturbs me, is that I am quite fine with perceiving the meaning in Latin as the better choice to begin with. Trying to English it, is like Talmud peering where jots and tittles signify the intent of the Almighty through the commentary.  With Ovid, thank gods, it is only literature.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: Lhoffman on July 11, 2007, 11:52:36 AM
I think "in nova" was a deliberate choice, as it implies something outside...a greater force imposing its will.  My reference to "it was good" was not to imply that Ovid had anything to do with Christianity (although the Genesis creation is Jewish...which existed long before Ovid)...I meant that this passage in Ovid had a similar feeling to the one in Genesis.

I think the idea of "dicere" here is that of calling the god called forth beauty (or order) out of chaos.

Ovid doesn't go this far back, but I like the image of Gaia wrestling with Chaos.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: madupont on July 11, 2007, 12:37:52 PM
Not bad, Gaia and Chaos would symbolize as a cultural parallel of Origins
--at a time when the Eastern Mediterranean did have commercial contact.

So is this sample of Ovid, from Metamorphoses, since the line above speaks of mythological transmutations?

I believe that, in his early perception, he was speaking as one would of "Evolution"; but he may also see it as unconstrained by Time, as a more magical whimsy of the gods who do as they please because after all Ovid's work contributed to Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: Lhoffman on July 12, 2007, 10:24:58 PM
So is this sample of Ovid, from Metamorphoses, since the line above speaks of mythological transmutations?

 First line of Book I.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: Lhoffman on July 13, 2007, 02:04:16 PM
Myth heaven for me today.  My husband has to be out of town so I am buying a big bag of peanut M&Ms, a large iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts, and settling myself in for an overnighter with the Ring Cycle....eighteen hours with Wotan, Fricka, Freya, the Niebelung....Myth heaven.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: Lhoffman on July 14, 2007, 05:50:19 AM
NyTemps....She sounds like a very funny lady.  But don't be too hard on Wagner.  Anyone who can get nine sopranos with spears to sing together on one stage without killing each other can't be all bad.  ;)

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: elportenito on July 18, 2007, 12:22:57 AM
I'm reading now La Chanson de Roland, the bilingual edition of Piere Jonin in ancient and modern French, soft cover for only 7.20 Euros at Mollat bookshop in Burdeaux.

give it a go, it's bloody worth it.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: Lhoffman on July 18, 2007, 12:34:34 AM might enjoy this.  Segments of Roland in Old French, either to read or have read to you. (

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: elportenito on July 18, 2007, 01:01:26 AM
lhoffman: Thankyou,I've tried, but you're asked to update. I think I've listened to it before.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: madupont on July 18, 2007, 02:31:44 PM

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: elportenito on July 20, 2007, 08:55:49 AM
lhoffman: What kind of washing machine you have that the Rince Cycle takes 18 hours?......

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: Lhoffman on July 20, 2007, 11:51:07 AM
We had a storm pass through yesterday that knocked my computer out...nice getting rain, though.

Unfortunately, I don't read French well enough to appreciate the assonance in the original, but I find the poem interesting as a study of propaganda and the rise of heroic myth.  (Not to discount its literary value)

From my understanding, Roncesvals was caused by two stragglers who were caught unaware.  Roland apparently was not present at this battle but was inserted into the account at a later date because he was Charlemagne's nephew and was well-known. 

Also interesting is that Roncesvals seems to begin the descent of Charlemagne.  Before this, he seemed almost super-human...infallible, invincible.  Does his thirst for vengeance corrupt him?  Is he so disillusioned at the betrayal and cowardice of that his vision becomes clouded?  True, he disliked Ganelon, but did he distrust him before this point?  Or does Roncesvals merely coincide with Charlemagne's star beginning to wane?

And what of Ganelon?  Torn to death by horses and placed in Hell by Dante....

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: Lhoffman on July 20, 2007, 12:22:06 PM
lhoffman: What kind of washing machine you have that the Rince Cycle takes 18 hours?......


Wagner is amazing.  But the fascinating thing about mythology is that the gods didn't seem to take care of things any better than we humans.  Of course they put all the blame on Fate with a capital "F."

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: madupont on July 21, 2007, 12:53:51 PM
I'm reading now La Chanson de Roland, the bilingual edition of Piere Jonin in ancient and modern French, soft cover for only 7.20 Euros at Mollat bookshop in Burdeaux.

give it a go, it's bloody worth it.

The language is -- Provencal, other than French, and was spoken  utterly differently,
as either langue-d'oc or langue-d'oil. Some say it has some of both influences but  with a heavier load of Arabic, that was largely solidified by the Gascognes in the southwest corner closer to the Spanish border (One of the three musketeers of Dumas came from there but, I forget which one, as I can only picture Gerard Depardieu in my mind's eye where he seems to be God).

In any case, it was left laying around, Chanson de Roland, in my childhood, as suitable for reading; as the title suggests why it remained in domestic memory is that it was relayed by song. Work at the end of the day, among peasants in France, before it became too dark to see by candle-light and the fire, in order to do handwork, was accompanied by a spinner who both spun and told yarns of the kind that Perrault collected. I knew his descendent, when I first became interested in foreign films and art film.

I once got into minor-trouble at National Security forum of the old york times when I  disambiguated Contes de ma mère l'Oye, by substituting three of our favourite characters who hung out in that forum. The posting regulars could not figure out why it was there but the villain of the three was furious. It was simply my commentary on their contributions to the input on National Security.

The cut off line for the use of the Southern languages runs from the Atlantic coast, south of speaking the santongeais dialect,through bourbonnais,bourguignon, to franc-comtois just south of the region from which my grandfather came.

After a fellow-poet did his sabbatical by going to England to hang out with the "new poets" of the 1960s and published the break up of his marriage in something called Our Bedroom's Underground, with the Vietnam war going on, he started a Free School on Campus during the protests and managed to lose his tenure.  I think that either before or after teaching in Japan for awhile, he probably went back to Univ. of Michigan at Ann-Arbor for his study in the Provencal Poets.  I've never read anything he did on them because he went back to teach in Japan where all his colleagues are guys from the British colonies under the auspices of what used to be an Anglican Mission school. (by the way, I notice your language has changed; see, above sample)

The only poet who really had the old knack for it was another,surpassing romance,Galway Kinnell, better known for the later era of Parisian, Francois Villon; although I suspect John Berger,the English art critic, who went to live with the peasants in the south of France because it was really the thing to do for any of us who want to survive, probably learned to speak some of it and read it quite well. "communist", you know, with a small c.

Incidentally, the down-turn for Charlemagne was inevitable for an emperor as the Pope will out and, after he supported the Medici, while the Burgundian factions had done the ground work by loosening up the support of the throne, the eventual same bunch who had conquered Jerusalem remained in power as knights Templar and local nobility and still hold sway where it counts, whereas you notice the Pope is still with us and reasserting "the old ways".

Some people think all this oral-tradition stuff means it is mythical rather than history which continues.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: madupont on July 21, 2007, 12:55:26 PM
Has anyone here read enough of Ovid to say whether (and/or how) his writing changed after the exile?

I know. But, I'm not telling.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: madupont on July 21, 2007, 07:10:09 PM
Thank you, you deserve it.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: elportenito on July 22, 2007, 08:49:19 AM
madupont, you're not just a pritty face.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: Lhoffman on August 11, 2007, 09:07:16 PM
The Daphne myth is somewhat disturbing from a female point of view.  Here is Daphne, a rather independent, free-spirited sort.  She understands she is beautiful, but beauty if only a component of self, not the whole.  And mortal...

Here we have Apollo, who is described quite nicely by Byron in his "Childe Harold":

The lord of the unerring bow,
The god of life, and poetry, and light,
The Sun, in human limbs arrayed, and brow
All radiant from his triumph in the fight.
The shaft has just been shot; the arrow bright
With an immortal's vengeance; in his eye
And nostril, beautiful disdain, and might
And majesty flash their full lightnings by
Developing in htat one glance the Deity."

Apollo, the victim of a nasty prank, but not entirely a victim of anything aside form his own arrogance, falls head over for Daphne.  And in a situation such as this, what chance does Daphne have?  It is a given that her only choice is sacrifice of self.  Apollo gets the ball rolling.  The first thing he does after falling "in love"?  He strives to change make her a new and better Daphne.  He looks at her hair and imagines how much more beautiful she would be if it would arranged more stylishly!  Apparently it is well-known that Daphne eschews marriage, but our Apollo sets out to change all that. 

The free-spirited becomes fearful.
Huntress becomes prey.
And in the end, Daphne becomes adornment for the heroes' brow.
Evergreen yeah you bet, but adornment none the less.   

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: Lhoffman on August 11, 2007, 09:12:08 PM
Here's the Ovid Text is anyone is interested. (Book I 452-566, Ovid. Metamorphoses. Translated by More, Brookes. Boston, Cornhill Publishing Co. 1922.)

[452] Daphne, the daughter of a River God was first beloved by Phoebus, the great God of glorious light. 'Twas not a cause of chance but out of Cupid's vengeful spite that she was fated to torment the lord of light. For Phoebus, proud of Python's death, beheld that impish god of Love upon a time when he was bending his diminished bow, and voicing his contempt in anger said; “What, wanton boy, are mighty arms to thee, great weapons suited to the needs of war? The bow is only for the use of those large deities of heaven whose strength may deal wounds, mortal, to the savage beasts of prey; and who courageous overcome their foes.—it is a proper weapon to the use of such as slew with arrows Python, huge, whose pestilential carcase vast extent covered. Content thee with the flames thy torch enkindles (fires too subtle for my thought) and leave to me the glory that is mine.” To him, undaunted, Venus, son replied; “O Phoebus, thou canst conquer all the world with thy strong bow and arrows, but with this small arrow I shall pierce thy vaunting breast! And by the measure that thy might exceeds the broken powers of thy defeated foes, so is thy glory less than mine.”

[466] No more he said, but with his wings expanded thence flew lightly to Parnassus, lofty peak. There, from his quiver he plucked arrows twain, most curiously wrought of different art; one love exciting, one repelling love. The dart of love was glittering, gold and sharp, the other had a blunted tip of lead; and with that dull lead dart he shot the Nymph, but with the keen point of the golden dart he pierced the bone and marrow of the God. Immediately the one with love was filled, the other, scouting at the thought of love, rejoiced in the deep shadow of the woods, and as the virgin Phoebe (who denies the joys of love and loves the joys of chase) a maiden's fillet bound her flowing hair,—and her pure mind denied the love of man. Beloved and wooed she wandered silent paths, for never could her modesty endure the glance of man or listen to his love. Her grieving father spoke to her, “Alas, my daughter, I have wished a son in law, and now you owe a grandchild to the joy of my old age.” But Daphne only hung her head to hide her shame. The nuptial torch seemed criminal to her. She even clung, caressing, with her arms around his neck, and pled, “My dearest father let me live a virgin always, for remember Jove did grant it to Diana at her birth.”

[488] But though her father promised her desire, her loveliness prevailed against their will; for, Phoebus when he saw her waxed distraught, and filled with wonder his sick fancy raised delusive hopes, and his own oracles deceived him.—As the stubble in the field flares up, or as the stacked wheat is consumed by flames, enkindled from a spark or torch the chance pedestrian may neglect at dawn; so was the bosom of the god consumed, and so desire flamed in his stricken heart. He saw her bright hair waving on her neck;—“How beautiful if properly arranged! ” He saw her eyes like stars of sparkling fire, her lips for kissing sweetest, and her hands and fingers and her arms; her shoulders white as ivory;—and whatever was not seen more beautiful must be.

[502] Swift as the wind from his pursuing feet the virgin fled, and neither stopped nor heeded as he called; “O Nymph! O Daphne! I entreat thee stay, it is no enemy that follows thee—why, so the lamb leaps from the raging wolf, and from the lion runs the timid faun, and from the eagle flies the trembling dove, all hasten from their natural enemy but I alone pursue for my dear love. Alas, if thou shouldst fall and mar thy face, or tear upon the bramble thy soft thighs, or should I prove unwilling cause of pain! The wilderness is rough and dangerous, and I beseech thee be more careful—I will follow slowly.—Ask of whom thou wilt, and thou shalt learn that I am not a churl—I am no mountain dweller of rude caves, nor clown compelled to watch the sheep and goats; and neither canst thou know from whom thy feet fly fearful, or thou wouldst not leave me thus. The Delphic Land, the Pataraean Realm, Claros and Tenedos revere my name, and my immortal sire is Jupiter. The present, past and future are through me in sacred oracles revealed to man, and from my harp the harmonies of sound are borrowed by their bards to praise the Gods. My bow is certain, but a flaming shaft surpassing mine has pierced my heart—untouched before. The art of medicine is my invention, and the power of herbs; but though the world declare my useful works there is no herb to medicate my wound, and all the arts that save have failed their lord.”

[525] But even as he made his plaint, the Nymph with timid footsteps fled from his approach, and left him to his murmurs and his pain. Lovely the virgin seemed as the soft wind exposed her limbs, and as the zephyrs fond fluttered amid her garments, and the breeze fanned lightly in her flowing hair. She seemed most lovely to his fancy in her flight; and mad with love he followed in her steps, and silent hastened his increasing speed. As when the greyhound sees the frightened hare flit over the plain:—With eager nose outstretched, impetuous, he rushes on his prey, and gains upon her till he treads her feet, and almost fastens in her side his fangs; but she, whilst dreading that her end is near, is suddenly delivered from her fright; so was it with the god and virgin: one with hope pursued, the other fled in fear; and he who followed, borne on wings of love, permitted her no rest and gained on her, until his warm breath mingled in her hair. Her strength spent, pale and faint, with pleading eyes she gazed upon her father's waves and prayed, “Help me my father, if thy flowing streams have virtue! Cover me, O mother Earth! Destroy the beauty that has injured me, or change the body that destroys my life.” Before her prayer was ended, torpor seized on all her body, and a thin bark closed around her gentle bosom, and her hair became as moving leaves; her arms were changed to waving branches, and her active feet as clinging roots were fastened to the ground – her face was hidden with encircling leaves.—

[553] Phoebus admired and loved the graceful tree, (For still, though changed, her slender form remained) and with his right hand lingering on the trunk he felt her bosom throbbing in the bark. He clung to trunk and branch as though to twine. His form with hers, and fondly kissed the wood that shrank from every kiss. And thus the God; “Although thou canst not be my bride, thou shalt be called my chosen tree, and thy green leaves, O Laurel! shall forever crown my brows, be wreathed around my quiver and my lyre; the Roman heroes shall be crowned with thee, as long processions climb the Capitol and chanting throngs proclaim their victories; and as a faithful warden thou shalt guard the civic crown of oak leaves fixed between thy branches, and before Augustan gates. And as my youthful head is never shorn, so, also, shalt thou ever bear thy leaves unchanging to thy glory.” Here the God, Phoebus Apollo, ended his lament, and unto him the Laurel bent her boughs, so lately fashioned; and it seemed to him her graceful nod gave answer to his love.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: Lhoffman on August 13, 2007, 11:39:29 AM
What to make of Ovid's writing on Pythagoras is Book 15?  P comes off as a sort of flakey ranter. (

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: madupont on August 13, 2007, 09:42:53 PM

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: madupont on August 16, 2007, 11:31:27 AM
I am going to begin this tale, following the first 2 and 1/2 pages, so that you might seek out the beginning for yourself.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: madupont on August 16, 2007, 11:32:59 AM
But suddenly it was dark
Thisbe had oiled the hinges. Now they helped her
Slip from the house like the shadow of a night bird

Leaving the house-eaves. The moonlight
That lit her path from the city
Found the sparks of her eyes, but not her pallor ---

Her veil hid all but her eyes from night watchers.
So she came to the tomb. Sitting in the shadow
Of the tree dense with fruit

That reflected the moon, like new snow,
She stared out in the brilliant jumble
Of moonlight and shadows. She strained

To catch the first stirring of a shadow
That would grow into Pyramus. It was then,
As she peered and listened,

And felt the huge silence, the hanging weight
Of the moonlit cliff above her,
And,above the cliff, the prickling stars,

That the first fear touched her.
She froze,her breath shrank, slight as a lizard's
Only her eyes moved.

She had seen, in her eye-corner, a shadow
That seemed to have shifted.
Now she could hear her heart. Her head swivelled.

Somebody was walking towards her.
She stood, she leaned to the tree, her legs trembling.
She realized she was panting.

And almost cried out: "Pyramus!"
But at that moment
The shadow coughed a strange cough----hoarse

And was much nearer, moving too swiftly.
A stange hobbling dwarf, bent under something.
Then her brain seemed to turn over.

Plain in the moonlight she saw
That what had looked like a dwarf
Was nothing of the kind. Slouching

Directly towards her
Under its rippling shoulders, a lioness
Was coming to wash its bloody jaws,

And quench its hanging belly, its blood-salt surfeit,
In the spring beside her.
Without another thought, Thisbe was running----

She left her veil floating   
To settle near the water. She ran,ducking
Behind the tomb of Ninus, too frightened to scream,

And squeezing her eyes shut,squeezed herself
Into a crevice under the cliff.
The lioness drank, then found the veil,

The perfumed veil perfumed again
By a woman's excitement, and her fear.
The beast began to play with the veil----

Forepaws tore downwards, jaw ripped upwards.
And the veil towelled the blood
From the sodden muzzle, and from the fangs.

Soon the beast lost interest
In this empty skin, so savourless,
And the beautiful weave was abandoned.

The lioness went off: She was absorbed
Among the moonlit rocks
As if she had never happened. Only the veil

Waited for Pyramus
Who now emerged running, his shadow vaulting
      beside him.
Both stopped at the spring.

The lion's footprints,alien,deep,unwelcome,
Printed the spring's margin.
Pyramus picked up the veil, too familiar

Blackened by blood though it was----
Blood so fresh and glistening. He groaned,
Not unlike the lioness

But groaning words: "Did our planning
Foresee this double death as a fitting
finale to our love which was forbidden?

"But Thisbe should have escaped the lion and lived.
I am to blame----for appointing this wild place
But failing to be here before her."

Then he roared aloud: "Are there any more lions
Living in the cliff there!
Come out and punish a criminal."

He groaned again, to himself:
"Cowards call for death----but courage
Does something about it."

He swayed, weeping into the sticky remnant:
"Let our blood mingle
As never in love, in this veil torn by a lion."

He set his sword point to his chest
And ran at the tree, burying the blade to the hilt,
Then with his last effort pulled it from the wound.
When a lead conduit splits, the compressed water
Jets like a fountain
His blood shot out in bursts,each burst a heartbeat,

Showering the fruit of the tree---
Till the white fruits, now dyed hectic purple,
Dripped his own blood back onto his body

That spilled the rest of its life, in heavy brimmings,
To the tree roots that drank it
And took it up to the fruits, that fattened darker.

Thisbe's fear for Pyramus and the lion,
And,  almost worse, the thought that he might have
And be at the tomb without her

Brought her running. But when she saw
The tree that had been snow-white with its fruit
Now purple-dark, blackish in the moonlight,

Her new fear was that she had lost her bearings
And come to the wrong place. Then she heard
A grunting cough in the tree's shadow

And saw the body sprawl, as if in sleep,
into the moonlight
Now she screamed. Unafraid of the lion

Again and again she screamed.
She embraced the corpse, fierce as any lion,
More passionately than she had ever dreamed

Of embracing it in life. She screamed to him
To wake up and speak to her.
His eyes opened a moment, but death

Was closing their light as they gazed at her.
Thisbe looked down at her hand, it was clutching
The soggy rag of her veil.

She saw his scabbard empty. "It was your love
That persuaded your own hand to kill you.
My love is as great, my hand is ready.

"Once I am with you
My story can be told: the cause of your death,
But your consolation for ever.

"Death has divided us, so it is right
That death should bring us together
In an unbreakable wedlock. Parents,

"As you find our bodies,
Limbs entwined, stiffened in a single knot,
Do not separate us. Burn us as we lived

"In the one flame.
And you  who live on, with your boughs laden,
Over two stripped of their blossom, their seed and
      their life,

"Remember how we died. Remember us
By the colour of our blood in your fruit.
So when men gather your fruit, and crush its ripeness,

"Let them think of our deaths."
She spoke, then set the point of the warm sword
Beneath her breast and fell on it.

With her last strength she wound him with her arms
      and legs.

The gods were listening and were touched.
And the gods touched their parents. Ever after
Mulberries, as they ripen, darken purple

And two lovers in their love-knot,
One pile in their inseparable ashes,
Were closed in a single urn.

Pyramus and Thisbe

[the last chapter,TALES FROM OVID, translated by Ted Hughes]

copyright 1997

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: madupont on August 26, 2007, 10:13:34 AM

"Flames were also approaching the ancient temple of Apollo Epikourios, near the picturesque town of Andritsaina in the southwestern Peloponnese."

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: Beppo on December 13, 2007, 06:04:37 PM

All saints revile her, and all sober men
Ruled by the God Apollo's golden mean -
In scorn of which I sailed to find her
In distant regions likeliest to hold her
Whom I desired above all things to know,
Sister of the mirage and echo.

It was a virtue not to stay,
To go my headstrong and heroic way
Seeking her out at the volcano's head
Among pack ice, or where the track had faded
Beyond the cavern of the seven sleepers:
Whose broad high brow was white as any leper's,
Whose eyes were blue, with rowan-berry lips,
With hair curled honey-coloured to white hips.

Green sap of Spring in the young wood a-stir
Will celebrate the Mountain Mother,
And every song-bird shout awhile for her;
But I am gifted, even in November
Rawest of seasons, with so huge a sense
Of her nakedly worn magnificence
I forget cruelty and past betrayal,
Careless of where the next bright bolt may fall.

Robert Graves

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: gondlen on March 31, 2008, 06:53:29 PM
"My friend Gondolen remembers Eco saying in "On Literature" that he had two scenes:  a man in a museum and a trumpeter at graveside and wrote Foucault's Pendulum to connect them."

Yes, he makes the comment in the final chapter of "On Literature," I believe. I thought that a curious way for so intellectual a writer to go about putting together a novel. Incidentally, the image of Belpo at the grave was actually Eco himself at the funeral of a friend.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: Lhoffman on March 31, 2008, 11:35:39 PM
Hello John's friend Gondlen. 

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: johnr60 on April 01, 2008, 12:38:33 PM
"For this benefit compassionate angles found figures, marks, shades and voices, they also suggested these to us, mortal mankind, and mysterious and fascinated things which do not have any explanation compared to the usual use of the language, but they evoked in our wisdom (intelligence), a supreme admiration through diligence investigations of its meanings, and therefore they attract to them respect and love".

For this purpose, compassionate angels frequently take on the  (form of) shades and invite us to question and find purpose in death/dying, to go beyond the usual signs  (rituals?)  and judgments, to reach an endless  (deeper?) understanding, and afterwards, to learn to value ourselves and our own influence

Again, with no disrespect to the translators, we see the vain hope of translating an idea 500 years old from a dead language trying to represent a concept thousands of years older into modern language.  It could be that this was exactly Eco's point.

In the meantime see the line leading in on the preceding page (18 in English):

"Now (as then while I waited in the periscope) I shrink into one remote corner of my mind, to draw from it a story"

The Ein soph is the All and recognition of man's inclusion in it, the Crown is the will to advance while Hokmah represents a focusing.

I cant explain all that but there are plenty of Kabbala for beginners out there.

nnyhav's piece I referenced is talking about the same thing in painter's images. 

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: Lhoffman on April 01, 2008, 12:59:42 PM
Isn't FP all about the power of the word?  Take it back to Ein Sof...the essence of God, light into word, the word becoming what is.  FP...the plan (the word) starts as an idea which has no basis in reality but which eventually becomes.

This is perhaps why Eco didn't translate....the ensuing reality is more important than the meaning.  The word becomes.

Title: Re: Myth and Literature
Post by: nnyhav on April 01, 2008, 03:08:14 PM
Hail & farewell to the translator censored out of NYTBF chat: