And Here We Go: The Odyssey, Books 21 and 22

Book 21 is the archery contest. All the suitors try and fail to string Odysseus’s bow, but the mysterious beggar, who the suitors have been abusing all evening, gets up, strings the bow with ease, and shoots an arrow through the lined-up axe handles.

Then

With his eyebrows
he signaled, and his son strapped on his sword.,
picked up his spear, and stood beside his chair,
next to his father, his bronze weapons flashing.

This is how Book 21 ends. Book 22 begins:

Odysseus ripped off his rags . . .  “Platyime is over.”

Self has read three translations of The Odyssey: Fitzgerald, Fagles, and now Wilson’s.

It’s very fresh, in Emily Wilson’s translation. Despite the fact that it’s probably the one where she’s most aware of formulaic utterances and repetitions. It is a story.

Her favorite character is, oddly enough, not Odysseus but Telemachus. His psychological dilemma is  acute. She really identifies with this young man who grows up fatherless, at the mercy of his mother’s boorish suitors. His journey is almost as epic as his father’s. In one section, Telemachus tells how his house is known for the single son. Laertes, his grandfather, was a single child, and so is Odysseus. So is Telemachus. This seems a rather risky practice, but anyhoo it is certainly a powerful image. And every time Athena makes Odysseus or Penelope more attractive to fool other people, self can’t help thinking: Catfish! Catfish!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

“Has Anyone Seen Telemachus?”: Book 4 of The Odyssey

Self can hardly wait until she gets to the part of The Odyssey where someone says:

Daddy, can you paint my wagon …

She thinks it’s about halfway through the book. She read that section while she was browsing in the Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino.

In the meantime, here’s Noemon (son of Phronius), addressing his fellow rivals (suitors) for the hand of Penelope, Telemachus’s mother (One interesting thing about this Emily Wilson translation is that she makes it clear that the suitors are no older than Telemachus himself. How weird is that? It would be as if son or one of his classmates decided to woo a woman 20 years older. And such is these suitors’ scorn for convention that they’ve been bullying Telemachus, for years. Telemachus brings out all of self’s Mommy instincts. As she makes her way through this section, self wants to yell: Leave my boy Telemachus alone, you dirty rats!)

Noemon

Do we know . . .  whether Telemachus is coming back
. . .  He left with my ship.
I need it, to cross over to the fields
of Elis, where I have twelve mares with mules
suckling their teats and not yet broken in.

They were all
astonished, since they had not thought the boy
was gone to Pylos, but was somewhere near,
out with the sheep or pigs.

This is so, so . . .

Points, Telemachus!

Antinous

Damn! That stuck-up boy
succeeded in his stupid trip. We thought
he would not manage it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Telemachus Learns How Troy ‘Went Down’

Book 3: An Old King Remembers

Nestor tells Telemachus (Who knew nothing about his father, Troy, the end):

At dawn one group of us dragged down our ships
into the sea piled high with loot and women,
while half the army still remained there, stationed
with Agamemnon, shepherd of the people.

War is so implacable. The “loot and women” did give self pause.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

First Stop on Telemachus’s Journey

Self is fascinated by Telemachus, that poor boy who never knew his father because Odysseus left for Troy when he was but a baby (this is definitely giving her Will Parry feelz). Thank goodness Telemachus has found a Mentor in the goddess Athena.

Telemachus’ first stop is PYLOS. Here’s a map from the book:

DSCN0193

It’s just a wee way from ITHACA.

Pylos is the home of Nestor, “horse-lord.”

Telemachus encounters him barbecuing (or grilling some dark meat anyway) “in the center of the town” with several “companions.” This is a somewhat disconcerting image, self is not sure why — probably because she expected a more dramatic encounter? Why —  of all the different things Nestor could be doing when he encounters the son of Odysseus for the first time — should he be barbecuing? (On the other hand, the fact that Lord Nestor is engaged in grilling meat humanizes him in a very definite way, and that is cool)

Self is very admiring of Telemachus, especially when he comes right out and says to Nestor: “Tell me the truth!”

And Nestor begins his response with, “Dear boy . . . ”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Telemachus Plays Host to the Suitors

Self just got back from watching The Rider. There is a very interesting father-son dynamic in that movie. Which is a perfect segue to Book 1 of The Odyssey: The Boy and the Goddess. The translation self is reading is by Emily Wilson:

Telemachus was sitting with them, feeling
dejected. In his mind he saw his father
coming from somewhere, scattering the suitors,
and gaining back his honor, and control
of all his property.

The poor boy. The poor, poor boy. Something wonderful is about to happen to him in the very next moment, though.

Stay tuned.

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

the contemporary small press

A site for small presses, writers, poets & readers

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

A crazy quilt of poems, stories, and humor