Book Review: Daughters of Sparta by Claire Heywood

Daughters of Sparta, which I received from NetGalley for review, purports to tell the stories of Helen and Klytemnestra, daughters of king Tyndareos and queen Leda of Sparta. Dual alternating third person narrators follow the sisters chronologically from childhood through the end of the Trojan war, including their marriages, experiences with childbirth and motherhood, andContinue reading “Book Review: Daughters of Sparta by Claire Heywood”

What is Penelope wondering about?

Lately, I have been reading about the web of associations among weaving, oral poetry, and rituals (festival and funeral) in ancient Greece, as traced across vase images, Homeric narrative, and the structure of language. These associations are so intricate that it has been a struggle to wrap my head around it. It makes me wonderContinue reading “What is Penelope wondering about?”

Book Review: Daughter of Sparta by Clare M. Andrews

Set in the mythical past, Daughter of Sparta, which I received from NetGalley for review, draws loosely on the story of Daphne and Apollo. Andrews does not rehash the ancient story in modern language or setting; rather, she plays with timelines, figures, and myths to tell her own story, drawing on Olympian gods, heroes, andContinue reading “Book Review: Daughter of Sparta by Clare M. Andrews”

Collaboration > competition

The irony of my title above is that it puts collaboration and competition in, well, competition. I’m sharing it as a helpful reminder, to myself especially, of how very, very hard it is to actualize our ideals and to suggest that we be gentle with ourselves and each other. Perhaps it is helpful to thinkContinue reading “Collaboration > competition”

Book Review: Homer: A Beginner’s Guide by Elton Barker and Joel Christensen

“Homer’s story is also a story about us. It is about where we think poetic beauty and sublime meaning come from, about how we think about two poems that both belong to their own time and speak across the generations, about our basic assumptions concerning the nature of literature. In short, it is about whyContinue reading “Book Review: Homer: A Beginner’s Guide by Elton Barker and Joel Christensen”

The Sirens’ Promise

What are your thoughts on sirens? The topic came up in my comments section on Instagram recently and it got me thinking about a few things. One is how Homer’s portrayal of them in the Odyssey can be a source of surprise for first-time readers, who might expect (if they’ve seen 19th century paintings) sirensContinue reading “The Sirens’ Promise”

Book Review: Flamefall by Rosaria Munda

Rosaria Munda’s Flamefall is the second book in a fantasy young adult series in conversation with ancient texts. The first book, Fireborne, draws on Plato’s Republic and Virgil’s Aeneid. Flamefall, the follow up published this year, takes inspiration from Homer’s Iliad and Sophocles’ Antigone. In addition to the ancient influences, which Munda mentions explicitly inContinue reading “Book Review: Flamefall by Rosaria Munda”

Odysseus in the post-heroic age

An interesting contrast to contemplate: On the one hand, Homer’s Odyssey has been beloved from antiquity to the present. On the other hand, in much ancient literature after Homer, Odysseus is presented in a somewhat suspicious light. The contrast with Aeneas in Virgil’s epic is especially pointed. Where Aeneas gets all his men safely toContinue reading “Odysseus in the post-heroic age”