Similarities Between the Dissimilar, or What Happens When You Read Homer and Tolkien at the Same Time

Although J.R.R. Tolkien avoided taking inspiration from classical Greek mythology, there is one aspect of his writing which I cannot help but see as being influenced by Homer.  Never yet in all my reading of mythology have I encountered an epic as vast and complete as the Iliad and the Odyssey. Many mythologies, though extensive … Continue reading Similarities Between the Dissimilar, or What Happens When You Read Homer and Tolkien at the Same Time

The Unexpected Value of Rereading the Iliad

My first reading experience with Homer’s Iliad was the equivalent of hauling a boulder along a gravel track by a piece of string.  I was unused to the weight of classical literature and my mind was exhausted by the long-winded descriptions and detail, excessive slaughter, and exasperating characters.  I found great comfort in the thought … Continue reading The Unexpected Value of Rereading the Iliad

Yet Another Translation of Beowulf

I very recently finished reading John Lesslie Hall’s translation of Beowulf.  Several months ago I shared my reflections on Seamus Heaney’s and J.R.R. Tolkien’s translations of Beowulf in Beowulf: Seamus Heaney vs. J.R.R. Tolkien.  It feels appropriate to share my thoughts on Hall’s translation as well. Hall’s translation is a verse translation which, to the … Continue reading Yet Another Translation of Beowulf

The Wearing of Time on Mortal-Immortal Relationship

Sometimes, in reading a work of literature, I encounter a snippet of wording which illuminates a previously unnoticed pattern in another work.  This was the case with a particular reference in W.B. Yeats’ preface to Lady Gregory’s translation of the Finn Cycle to the degradation of the mortal-immortal relationship over the course of Irish mythology.  … Continue reading The Wearing of Time on Mortal-Immortal Relationship