Reading Chapman's Homer

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sun 31 Jul 2011 00:06
Moored Rushcutters Bay
eather: Partly cloudy, mild

Yesterday I went into Whitworth's to pick up a few boat parts as there is a boat show sale on this weekend. Unfortunately I walked past a few book stores on the way, it seems it is simply impossible for me to pass one by, so have ended up with yet more books on board. I found a copy of Chapman's Homer, the first translation of both 'The Iliad' and 'The Odyssey', written in Shakespeare's day.  From the introduction to The Iliad:

The battlefield is seen with all the intensity of those who have decided to exchange long life for glory, but also with the flippancy of the gods who see human affairs as childish. There is the sadness of those such as Achilles' mother or Hector's wife – who watch the battle from afar and await the consequences; there is the remoteness of the immortals, for whom mortals are like leaves on a tree - they fall each autumn and are replaced each spring.  One of the reasons for reading the Iliad is that it sets prowess against these other perspectives - the heroes are driven to greater feats because otherwise their lives will have been as unindividuated as those leaves on the tree; Achilles weeps for the pain his death will cause his father and the immortal grief it will bring his goddess mother. Yet the power of the life force, the energy and charge of the story and the story telling do not allow the heroes to give up. His deeds are heroic because they are done in the teeth of the knowledge that death is all around and that the only immortality is the remembrance of later generations” Jan Parker.

As an old Physics teacher of mine used to say, “Good stuff!”

Speaking of heroes, I will be meeting Alex Whitworth (no relationship to the chandlery) today. A fellow RANSA member who has sailed around the world twice in his little boat, Berrimilla, including the North West Passage.