Wednesday, 13 January 2010

A Talk about the Iliad

Some time ago, I discovered a wonderful lecturer. She speaks very well, and not from notes. The title is "The War That Killed Achilles", and this is a book talk. [Edit - the embedded video below is an extract, the full version is here].

I did not know (about 06:30) that the First World War was so named — ‘First’ — for the first time — in September 1918.

And from the transcript:

“I think this tragic wisdom is what is embedded in the Iliad. In other words, its antiquity is part of its message. Not only is it 2,700 years older than us and we can read it and respond to the familiarity of every single scene, every single dilemma, and every single issue, but it was also, in itself, old by the time that this poem was composed, around 700 or 750 B.C.”
The transcript includes the Q&A session which is just as interesting as the talk.

The reason I remember this today is that I was reading a copy of The Economist from last year:
From memory to history

With the deaths of Harry Patch, at 111, and Henry Allingham, at 113, the last memories of fighting on the front in the first world war have gone.

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