This blog seems to be dead, or at least hibernating, so for continuity’s sake I should probably say that the kind of stuff I (Rob) used to write here now typically ends up on my Goodreads account instead.
I wonder if there is really so much doom and ‘frustration’ in my fiction? Humbert is frustrated, that’s obvious; some of my other villains are frustrated; police states are horribly frustrated in my novels and stories; but my favorite creatures, my resplendent characters– in The Gift, in Invitation to a Beheading, in Ada, in Glory, et cetera– are victors in the long run.
I loathe Van Veen.
(From Giles Goat-Boy. I was reading over some favorite bits and felt like sharing this one.)
Even if you don’t like the Olympics, this is cool. The mayor of London requested a Pindar-Style Olympic ode for the 2012 Olympics which he will read in both Greek and English. The ode was written in Alcaeic Strophes by Dr. D’Angour, the same scholar who wrote a similar ode for the Olympics in Athens. Read the article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-18929408.
I recently saw two movies directed by Wes Anderson, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Moonrise Kingdom. Until now, I had written off Anderson as a director whose style I didn’t like or understand — a judgment I made solely on the basis of Rushmore. But now I feel totally ready to join the Anderson cult. Below, I talk a bit about the style of The Life Aquatic and Moonrise Kingdom and why I find these movies stylistically interesting.
I’ve always wondered why Oedipus is a tyrant. I mean, why this word for “king” rather than one of the more legitimate-feeling ones, like, I don’t know, basileus? I’ve never really been satisfied with any of the answers. I mean, I just haven’t encountered any positive — or even neutral — use of the word outside of Greek Tragedy. This is surely partly a function of the time-lapse between Greek verse and prose; Oedipus Tyrannus dates from 439; that’s vaguely contemporary to Herodotus, but most extent Attic Prose is much later, and that’s where we get most of the strictly political uses of the word. Even the earliest extent play of Aristophanes (another author who focuses on his contemporaries rather than the mythical past) is a good fourteen years later. But tyrannos, even if, at such an early date, it were possible to use the term without vitriol, is weirdly specific. It was never (to my knowledge) a word that could have the general application of the English king or even the Latin rex; it refers to a very specific kind of autocrat which came to prominence in Greece between the seventh and fifth centuries. Read more…
I’d like to start with a stanza from the categorization of “Types of Love” from Vātsyāyana’s Kamasutra: (1)
Those who know the science call it
the love that comes from a transference
when someone says, referring to another object of desire,
“This one here, not the other one from the past, is the one I love.” (2.1.43)