Wednesday, October 13, 2010


No, I'm not packing quite yet, but we're leaving at the crack of dawn for a long weekend in Williamsburg, VA, which has become one of our semi-habitual autumn haunts. It's good to get away to where one can really feel the chill in the air, where the trees actually turn. We also like 18th-century architecture, & the smell of woodsmoke, & people pretending to be 18th-century folks. If I lived in England, I suspect I'd be a (English) Civil War reenactor (Parliamentary side, of course).

I've decided on course texts for this spring's "Epic" class. Yes, it'll be Robert Fagles for the Iliad and the Odyssey; Stanley Lombardo tempted me, but Bernard Knox's introductions and notes for the Fagles volumes are just so very good, & the translation is so generally solid (if occasionally "chatty," as one scholar notes) that I'm not sure they're losing much. For the Aeneid, I'm leaping into the dark & using Sarah Ruden's new Yale translation. I'll let you know how it works out.

This afternoon I will attempt to make students excited about Milton's Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. I'll let you know how that works out, unless it's such a fiasco that I end up resigning my professorship and crawling into a hole somewhere. Go figure – I love teaching Milton. I just want to jump up & down & say, See, see, can't you see? He's so BRILLIANT! & he's such a PSYCHO! But that of course is beneath my dignity, so I try to do in balanced, periodic sentences.


Daniel Bouchard said...

If a professor of mine shouted, with adequate sincerity, "See, see, can't you see? He's so BRILLIANT! & he's such a PSYCHO!" I would definitely give the material a closer look when class ended. Especially if the facets of his brilliance and psychosis were drawn out. It's exciting to see a teacher get excited.

Archambeau said...

We should build a shrine to all the mute, inglorious Miltons, and call it "The Tomb of the Unknown Brilliant Psycho."