It’s All Greek to Me


Some time ago I made a resolution to read the Odyssey in Homeric Greek.  The few glimpses I’d had through translations of the levels of meaning, the resonances of the language that just don’t translate made me want to hear what else was there that I was missing.  Psyche–life and soul, for example, and the allegorical nature of so many other elements.

So I bought a DVD course and I’m taking lessons with some very patient people by way of the Center for Hellenic Studies at Harvard, and am gradually starting to get the hang of it, I think.  It is so foreign and yet so familiar.  It is leaving the safety of good old English with its word order and simple constructions and going into a strange world of declensions and genders and aorist tenses.  And yet I’m starting to understand that it is just that complexity that allows for the levels of meaning, the built-in allegories that are missing from so much English poetry–not to mention prose.  It is like stepping into another kind of consciousness; one where connections between things was more evident and unified, where Forms and the Good don’t seem like alien concepts.

So I’m going to hang in there, and I’ll give updates as appropriate.  Wish me luck.

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