Sophocles and the Human Tendency towards Destruction

I’ve recently re-read the plays of Sophocles.  Paul Roche translated the Signet version.  This translator has also ably translated Ten Plays of Euripedes and The Complete Plays of Aristophanes.  (Euripedes counts as my favorite of the three Athenian Tragedians, by the way–which puts me in the minority for sure!)  The Ancient Greek proverbs and ideals come across in an authentic manner even though the prose is written in good, modern English.  While reading the play this time, I was impressed with the notion of hubris leading to a fall and how hubris is punished by the gods.  But, my interpretation of how Sophocles understanding of hubris evolves over the course of his plays would not have occurred to me if not for a particular conversation with a friend of mine.

In that conversation, I opined that people have forgotten that God punishes people for pride.  My friend responded that if God really punished people for pride, we would all be dead.  This struck me as a profound insight.  Indeed, is God under any especial necessity to punish people for pride?  Pride, like the other capital sins, carries its own punishment with it.  Pride distorts our view of ourselves, which in turn hinders us in our interactions with the real world.  Socrates made the foundation of philosophy, the love of wisdom, to know oneself.  If we don’t know ourselves, we fail countless times, wound ourselves, and vex the people around us such that we drive them away.  What is more offensive than arrogance?  What could be a worse affliction in and of itself?

Continue reading

Advertisements

Sword and Serpent Review

I can’t remember the last Young Adult work of Christian fiction I’ve read, but Sword and Serpent by Taylor Marshal has to count as one of the greatest.  It ranked as the #1 novel in the highly specific category of “Young Adult Christian Historical Fiction.  Of the 349 reviews currently on Amazon, no one has rated it with one or two stars, and I must say that it deserves this praise.  Set in the days of Diocletian’s persecutions, it follows the young St. George, called Jurian in the text, and his sister as they flee persecution in their hometown.  The two of them are assisted by Saints Christopher, St. Blaise, and St. Nicolaus on the way.  (The first two are members of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, among whose number also falls St. George.)  St. Christopher is present most of the difficult journey to Rome.  Taylor Marshall does an excellent job of making all these saints human and relatable while endowed with miraculous powers.

Carpaccio-St-George-and-the-Dragon-1516

 

Meanwhile, a pagan priestess named Sabra on Cyrene begins to question the legitimacy of offering human sacrifices to her demonic god.  At the same time, she cannot wrest herself from what she thinks is her duty to her people.  When she herself is chosen by lot, the king, her father, conceals this from the people and compels her to flee to Rome.  But, she feels obligated to return to face her doom.  Jurian and Sabra meet in Rome and agree to sail together to Cyrene.  But, will Jurian’s prophecy or Sabra’s fate be fulfilled on the island?

Continue reading

A Fantasy Novel by Yours Truly

Medieval Otaku

Here, I’m going to try my hand at marketing–again.  As you see from the title, my dear readers, I’ve self-published a fantasy novel–a medieval, military, fantasy, adventure novel to be more precise.  The roots of this novel lie in an old manuscript I created at seventeen years of age and completed at nineteen.  The tome, dubbed Ketil’s Saga, stretched for over three hundred Word Document pages, was written in a pompous and abstruse style, and contains one of the most meandering plots never to have been inflicted on the public.  I dream of one day polishing it enough to be presentable trilogy; but, writing a new story set within the same world seems an easier proposition.

All Man’s Clotted Clay might be a familiar title, since this book was submitted to Athanatos Christian Ministries’ 2015 Novel Contest and made the semi-finals.  As such, it has received…

View original post 258 more words

Fund King Arthur’s Return!

This sounds like a very interesting book. Please consider helping this author in order to get this book published.

The Oddest Inkling

Charles_Ernest_Butler_-_King_ArthurDear readers of The Oddest Inkling:

As you know, in 2013, a previously-unpublished work by J.R.R. Tolkien appeared: The Fall of Arthur, his only explicitly Arthurian writing.  The publication of this extraordinary poem revealed subtle connections between “The Matter of Britain” and the rest of JRRT’s legendarium, and thus invited an examination of the theological, literary, historical, and linguistic implications of the Arthurian writings of all the major Inklings: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield. It became immediately obvious that a scholarly study of these works was necessary.

The book I have been editing for four years, The Inklings and King Arthur, fills that gap. It is an edited essay collection that examines the Arthurian works of Tolkien, Lewis, Williams, Barfield, their predecessors, and their contemporaries. It offers exciting, rigorous analytical perspectives on a wide range of the Inklings’ Arthurian and related works, contributing…

View original post 472 more words

12 Interesting Facts about French Literature

Interesting Literature

The best facts about French literature

French literature has often been one step ahead of the literary curve, to risk mixing our progressive metaphors. Before T. S. Eliot and other Anglophone poets had found a way to write about the modern city, Charles Baudelaire had already shown a way forward. In the realm of medieval romance, French writers and troubadours led the way. Gustave Flaubert influenced James Joyce, Henry James, and countless others. So, in this post, we thought we’d pay homage to French literature and Francophone writers by sharing a dozen of our favourite interesting facts about French writers and French literature.

The most popular novel among soldiers in the American Civil War was Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.

Honore de Balzac died in 1850 from caffeine poisoning as a result of excessive consumption of black coffee.

French philosopher and critic Roland Barthes was killed by a laundry van.

View original post 183 more words

Review of FIPS

FIPS, the title of Werner Fürbringer’s WWI memoirs, comes from the nickname Fürbringer earned while becoming one of Germany’s greatest U-boat aces (101 ships sunk).  During the interbellum years, he was instrumental in rebuilding the German Navy.  His memoirs came out during those years and have fascinated readers by both the intimate portrayal of the U-boat service and the picture of WWI submarine warfare.

It has ever been my opinion that Germans should take pride in their U-boat service.  Their history in both WWI and WWII displays great gallantry in face of the enemy, and they carried out their duty aggressively despite appalling loss rate of 80% and 75% respectively.  These memoirs show Germans adhering closely to prize warfare in the early days of the war (capturing merchantmen before sinking their ships) despite the many more dangers this poses to submarines than to surface warships.  Even after unrestricted submarine warfare was declared, they generously helped their victims however they could.

Continue reading

The Children of Hurin’s Tragic Appeal

Yours truly finds it hard to review a book like this.  The Children of Hurin unrolls a beautifully tragic story.  Yet, tragic beauty is not something I  typically appreciate in literature–especially not as much as this blog’s co-author, Thomp D. James.  (That Euripides sometimes gives the audience a happy ending makes him my favorite of the Three Athenian Tragedians.)  With The Children of Hurin, like in your classic Greek tragedy, our hero, Turin, has many noble qualities twisted by tragic flaws–melancholy and pride in this case.  These two faults drag him down from every happy circumstance he finds and lead to his demise.

Continue reading