Monday, December 18, 2006

Just fyi . . .

I'm heading back to my side of the pond this week, so it may be a few days before anything "real" gets posted again (or anything at all!). Packing and jetlag is tiring!

Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of the Saturnalia!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Happy Saturnalia!

Just wanted to wish all you dear readers a happy Saturnalia.

Can't wait for Christmas? Celebrate early with the Saturnalia! It's always nice to have the excuse of another holiday!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Another one of those "woe is me!" cultural "decline" posts

Bronteana informed me of this link: It's the thoughts that count. After staring in horror and disbelief, I began to wonder how bad this really is. On the one hand, yes, it's utterly disgusting; on the other hand, it's probably good for business. The article emphasizes the sciences, but I wouldn't be surprised if good dead Classical languages are up there too. If people are buying "smart"-looking books, that means there's a market for them. If there's a market for them, that means they'll be made available.

Then again, if too many people are stealing up the books I want and making them unavailable instead, I'd be pretty pissed.

It used to be if you wanted to "look" educated, you'd actually--gasp!--get an education and, y'know, read so that you could rattle off useless information in conversations. I guess now you can just buy the books and not be expected to be able to discuss them.

But it seems pretty transparent to me. If I walk in to somebody's house and see certain books prominantly displayed, I ask them about them. If the person can't answer, then s/he's revealed as the shallow being s/he is.

It reminds me of those Latin tattoos people (who don't known Latin) get, though. Why get it if you have no real interest in it? Why pretend to be a snobbish intellectual if you're not? Frankly, I have a lot more respect for people who actively despise and fight against academics because we're (supposedly) all snobby and elitist. They may be wrong about (some of) us, but at least they're honest.

Then again, this isn't exactly a new phenomenon among humans, now is it?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Atia vs Servilia

I thought this site was just too funny. How could you not love the both of them? Although, I must confess that I personally voted for Servilia.

Also, it looks like the official site for HBO's Rome is prepping for the new season starting Jan 14. How quickly time flies! I remember thinking I could never wait until Jan 2007. Apparently, I can.

Lastly, and not really Classicsly (yes, I realize I'm making up words), The Lord of the Rings, the musical, is opening in May/June. I had forgotten about this. I kept thinking it was a long way off. Apparently not. Am I disturbed? You betcha. Beyond disturbed. So disturbed that I might just have to see it.

I knew the musicalization of anything and everything in novel form would get out of hand someday. Hm, maybe they'll musicalize Apuleius' Golden Ass someday. (Please note, for anyone thinking this is even remotely a possibility, that I am being sarcastic. Nobody wants to see a musical of The Golden Ass. Nobody.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Shiny, the Distracting--the Library

My apologies, dear readers, for leaving you for so long, but I had much to do finishing up my work for this term. But Orestes is done and put to rest, and I look now to much less depressing things--Sappho! And believe me you, despite her sometimes sad themes, the woman is much less depressing than Orestes. I suspect I shall cease having tragic dreams now.

But that is not my topic today. Today, dear readers, I intend to discuss libraries. Libraries for most people are a place of study. This seems obvious and a given. However, to me, they are a place of infinite distraction! When I was in there two days ago, I was struck by the powerful urge to look up something that was completely unrelated to the work I was supposed to be doing at the time. So I looked, but as I passed another shelf, I saw something else I "needed" to look at. The hours I can waste in a library are astounding.

And today, of course, I spent half of the afternoon researching Roman theatres for a friend of a friend--just because I could in this wonderful, distracting Classics library!

I really do think I get more of my actual work done when I'm in my room with a limited set of books.

This is not even to mention that by this point, I know most people, so that it's become the social hub of the Faculty as well. People know better than to bother you too much when you're actually working, but you can really get stopped for five conversations on your way in or out.

My conclusion? The Library = Shiny Centre of Information, Socializing, and Distracting Doom.

And as if the distraction of a normal well-stocked library weren't enough (ok, there is nothing "normal" about the Classics library here, but I get distracted in other libraries too), Mary Beard makes me drool over lost treasures of nineteenth century literature! I don't think I can express how much this excites me. If I weren't doing Classics, I'd be doing English literature, and my area would be either medieval lit, Shakespeare, or nineteenth century lit. When Classics and nineteenth century lit collide and have little babies (which is far more often than we'd discuss in most of my English classes), it makes my little head spin with glee. Glee, I tell you. Lots and lots of glee. 'Tis a gleeful thing.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Nigel Spivey's Songs on Bronze

So I had a spot of free time (well, not really, but we'll pretend) today and decided to finally start Nigel Spivey's Songs on Bronze (and in case you missed it, Nigel Spivey can now be seen in Troy the Musical FOR ONE MORE NIGHT ONLY).

I must admit that I skipped to the part called "Jason and the Argonauts," which thankfully includes Medea's full story as well. And as the Medea lover you all know I am, I must say I was quite pleased.

I then went back to the beginning and started reading it normally, and I very much enjoyed his treatment of these familiar myths. He does such a wonderful job with the characterization, and I was quite moved reading most of it.

He does fairly standard treatments of the myths, but it's worth reading to see how he tells the stories and fleshes out the characters, even if you already know the stories. And for those who don't know the stories already, this may actually be a good read before plunging into Canongate Myth Series: Includes A Short History of Myth, The Penelopiad, Weight, and Dream Angus (Myths, The).

I'm not quite finished with the book (possibly tomorrow), but I expect it will continue to be as good as the beginning.