literature meme | [1/1] epic: The Iliad

The Iliad (sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium) is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles.

Along with the Odyssey, the Iliad is among the oldest extant works of Western literature, and its written version is usually dated to around the eighth century BC.


literature meme | [½] movements: Romanticism

In literature, Romanticism found recurrent themes in the evocation or criticism of the past, the cult of sensibility with its emphasis on women and children, the heroic isolation of the artist or narrator, and respect for a new, wilder, untrammeled and “pure” nature. Furthermore, several romantic authors, such as Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, based their writings on the supernatural/occult and human psychology.

In Romantic art, nature—with its uncontrollable power, unpredictability, and potential for cataclysmic extremes—offered an alternative to the ordered world of Enlightenment thought. The violent and terrifying images of nature conjured by Romantic artists recall the eighteenth-century aesthetic of the Sublime. As articulated by the British statesman Edmund Burke in a 1757 treatise and echoed by the French philosopher Denis Diderot a decade later, “all that stuns the soul, all that imprints a feeling of terror, leads to the sublime.”

It elevated folk art and ancient custom to something noble, made spontaneity a desirable characteristic (as in the musical impromptu), and argued for a “natural” epistemology of human activities as conditioned by nature in the form of language and customary usage. Romanticism reached beyond the rational and Classicist ideal models to elevate a revived medievalism and elements of art and narrative perceived to be authentically medieval in an attempt to escape the confines of population growth, urban sprawl, and industrialism, and it also attempted to embrace the exotic, unfamiliar, and distant in modes more authentic than Rococo chinoiserie.

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Inside the farmhouse, everything was in black and white. The air was stained permanently with the pleasant odor of Ronan’s childhood: hickory smoke and boxwood, grass seed and lemon cleaner.

“I remember,” Gansey said thoughtfully to Ronan, “when you used to smell like this.”

“It feels the same as when you guys lived here,” Gansey said finally. “It seems like it should be different.”

“Did you come here a lot?” Blue asked.

He exchanged a glance with Ronan. “Often enough.”

The thing about love is that it brings out the best in you but it can also bring out the worst. All your fears, rage, self-doubt…

The fact of his pulse,
the way he pulled his body in, out of shyness or shame or a desire
      not to disturb the air around him.
Everyone could see the way his muscles worked,
                                     the way we look like animals,
                                                                    his skin barely keeping him inside.

Richard Siken, Crush / Little Beast. [4]


“Do not let them humble you,” he said softly. […] “I can promise you this, too: You are a soldier. You could be my greatest soldier. And if you stay, if you can endure this, one day all will know it.” He lifted my chin with his finger. 

“I can promise you safety,” he said. “Or I can promise to see your suffering repaid a thousandfold.” With the pad of his thumb, he brushed a stray tear from beneath my eye. “You decide, Genya.”

[photo cred ©]