January 18, 2011

Fair warning

It's been a long time since I've gone on an extended literary jag at Goat Rope, but I feel one coming on. In the past, I've gone on binges of Homer, Greek tragedy, Dante, Shakespeare and such.

This time around I'm thinking....Beowulf! This first classic of (Old) English literature is often used to torture high school and college students, but I think it's worth a fresh look. It's full of those things that make life worth living, such as fighting monsters and dragons, not to mention getting ripped in mead halls.

It's a window on a long vanished world, one that was already long gone when the earliest surviving manuscript of it was written, but some of its themes and ideas are lasting and contemporary. I mean really, Angelina Jolie even got into the act in the 2007 film version, about which more later. In the book, however, Grendel's mother wasn't quite that attractive.

Stay tuned...

THE OTHER WAR, in today's politics, is the one on logic.

AN OLDER WAR is the one on poverty. Here's a call for putting that back on the agenda.

ALONG THOSE LINES, here's a call for a movement of the un- and underemployed.

ONE SNEEZE AWAY. Here's E.J. Dionne Jr. on Martin Luther King Jr.'s first brush with assassination and what would or wouldn't have happened if it had succeeded.

SPEAKING OF ASSASSINS, here's an item on a little known study of them conducted by the Secret Service.


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