14 October 2008


Charlotte Higgins

From Homer to the Hippocratic oath: how Ancient Greece has shaped our world

As you can see, my previous post was a raviki about my current can't-stop-reading book, Charlotte Higgins' riveting It's All Greek to Me.

Loipon, I totter out to mow the hloi, totter back in for a foaming Mythos and sapristi! there is a comment,

"Hey - thank you - Charlotte Higgins"
as if from l'auteur. But the comment is attached to an earlier posting ... Wait, I've got it. When she's not being artsy for the Guardian, Charlotte is majority stockholder in Sussana's coffee shop and she is saying thanks for my powerful plug that will ensure a tintinnabulation of the till 'til season's end. That's it.

Blimey, as of typing, no one has yet reviewed it on the 'Zon. Quick, lad! Skim and knock out some toadying rave - doesn't have to be true ...

Skim la Higgins? How dare you, sir! I shall savour it at my own pace and jot a few words if anything original occurs.

Actually, I had better savour it at a snail's pace if I'm to have any dosh left over for Hristougers because I'm racking up a further shopping basket even as I read.

The Homer I'm reading to keep CH's work company is the 1955 World's Classic (6s. net), translated by Thomas Edward Lawrence and with intro by Maurice Bowra, which Ms Higgins thinks is 'a rather bad translation' altho' TE was "surely right to call it 'the first novel of Europe' ".Homer and Higgins

Loipon, such is Charlotte's persuasive prose that I've swapped allegiance to Robert Fagles' Penguin Classics work and will be back in the Elta queue ere long.

Dude! There's still a tiny sticker on the inside flap showing that Dad bought the Lawrence/Bowra in its year of publication at the Challenge Bookshop, Queen's Bldg, 1st Fl, Ice house Street, Hong Kong.

In '55, I was just about to be despatched for imprisonment in an Ascot prep school. Dad already had umpteen volumes of everything from his Cambridge 'Greats' days, so I wonder if he got this one for me but got home just in time to hear me come up with some idiot remark and thought, Eheu! There's no way I'm submitting Homer's pearls before that yokel.

Absolutely right decision at the time, I'm sure, but look, dad - I got the book in the end. Just sorry I can't present you with the Higgins this yuletide; you would have approved.

I can just see him removing the wrapping paper with customary meticulous care, faux grateful expression at the ready.

By the neckwear of Agios Nektarios, a cravate! Just what I wanted. How nice - and then being genuinely pleased and looking over to mittera as if to say,

"By the nine gods of Clusium, there may be hope for the lad yet."

kolovriFinale: OK, enough already. That photo to the right of some "rock". Most folks accept that Homer's Sheria or Island of the Phaeacians was situated here in Kerkyra.

Book V of the Odyssey describes Odysseus' meeting with the fragrant Nausicaa.

That rock there is the teensy isle of Gravia, a corruption of Karavi or Ship.

Some folks have it that it's the boat that carried Odysseus home to Ithaca only to be turned to stone by a batey Poseidon on its return.

If you don't like that legend, a less satisfactory one poured into tourists' lug-'oles is that Algerians were coming to plunder the monastery but God heard the abbot's prayers and stoned the bateau, saving the monastery.

Well, mercy me! If I'd written a worthy (but nothing flash) book about It Being All Greek I'd not be surprised if my publishers warned me gently,

"Ahem, Charlotte, we're keeping the review list very specialised on this one, some classical mags, some ivy-bound profs, that ultra-brainy classicist in the Speccie. Don't get hopes up about massive high street sales; I mean let's not count on free PR from Madge blaming the breakup of their marriage on Guy losing boudoir time on the Iliad. This is a 'nook' book."

Loipon - if I was Ms Higgins, I'd whip out my laptop and with rippling fingers call up this silly blog:

"Explain me that, Mister Marketing Maven! And that's all the way over in terra Phaiakes."

3 comments :

rwells said...

Peter O'Toole translated the Simpsons? Who knew?

PS: My first contact with Fagle's Iliad was as a book on tape as read by Derek Jacobi. OMG - as they say.

Anonymous said...

Hullo
Charlotte Higgins here again,
Thanks for your jolly post. Since I am sick in bed (and should have been at the National Theatre's first night of Oedipus last night) it is particularly cheering...

Busker said...

Hello, there!
Goodness! It is you. Ack, bad luck on the Oedipus: perastika! and a speedy return to health.
Well, quite a merry correspondence I set up there :-)
I too am now in bed with a foul cold which is a good chance to get down to solid reading and slacking.
Get better soon. This corresp now ended, i think, before i get too silly.