Thursday, December 14, 2006

Educating Gail

The Sea of Monsters, which I was just talking about yesterday, includes some elements of The Odyssey, so I think it's appropriate to direct your attention Trojan Woman at Slate. Most readers will be interested in the question of whether or not Homer was a woman. I, of course, found something else of interest in this article.

The article opens with a paragraph on historicism. If you're guessing that this is a term Gail had never heard of, you'd be right on the money. My impression is that it's a view in which "literature articulates the ideas and values of its own time" rather than just expressing "timeless truths about human nature."

Oddly enough, the last time I read The Odyssey I remember thinking, "Man, this articulates the ideas and values of a nasty group of people." I mean, come on, Odysseus and his boys make stops on the way home to steal women. And I have always felt that the Cyclopes was used very badly.

Anyway, I thought the whole historicism thing was interesting.

Once again, I must thank artsJournal, which has changed its look and apparently its name, for improving my mind.


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