Writings on this site
The following lists my work appearing on the site itself, in reverse order of composition.
*“Notes on Ercolani’s Hesiod,” an October, 2011 discussion of Andrea Ercolani’s Esiodo, Opere et giorni (Rome, 2010, plus supplements from 2011 that can be downloaded from the publisher’s website www.carocci.it) (read).
*“Hesiod’s means of capturing his audience? A possibility for Works and Days 1-105,” read at the annual meeting of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States in Baltimore, MD, October 13-15, 2011. This paper argues that the first 105 lines of Works and Days, including among other things the locus classicus of the story of Pandora’s Box, should not really be considered part of the poem proper, but must have originally been intended as a sort of prolegomena to it, possibly as a device to capture the attention of the work’s first audiences (read).
*“Was Parmenides a True Poet?,” read at the annual meeting of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States, held on October 8-10, 2009 in Wilmington, DE. It is traditionally held that Parmenides, who composed self-consciously in dactylic hexameter, was the first of the so-called Presocratic philosophers to offer a sustained rational argument for a metaphysics or ontology, in his case that “Being” has certain ideal properties. My paper unites two existing strains of dissent from this position, to suggest as a working hypothesis that Parmenides was actually a trained epic poet who at some point had a mystical experience about “is” and simply attempted to communicate it by the means natural to him (read).
*“Not by Bread Alone; The Essential Character of Wine in Archaic Greece,” read at the inter-disciplinary conference In Vino Veritas: A Symposium on Wine and the Influence of Bacchus from Classical Antiquity through the Eighteenth Century, held on April 24-25, 2009 at Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY, sponsored by The Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies. This paper argues that in the earliest surviving Greek literature, i.e., in Homer and Hesiod, wine is held to be at least as important as food. It is intended for educated people with an interest in wine (read).
*“Epic Structures in Hesiod’s Primal Narrative, Theogony 104-232,” read at the annual meeting of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States, held on October 9-11, 2008 in Princeton, NJ. A certain tradition has considered that Hesiod’s “thought” about the origins of the first principles Chaos (Chasm), Earth, Love, and their descendants, as described in the early stages of the theogony proper of Theogony, can meaningfully be separated from the epic form in which it is cast. In contrast, this paper asserts that the relevant section of the poem is every bit as epic in its composition as are the Homeric poems (read).
*“Did it Take Time to Create Aphrodite?,” read at the inter-disciplinary conference Venus and the Venereal: Interpretations and Representations from Classical Antiquity through the Eighteenth Century, held on April 25-26, 2008 at Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY, sponsored by The Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies. This paper offers remarks on the origin of Aphrodite and some other creatures as described in Hesiod’s Theogony, vv. 182-206, with focus on the temporal expressions the poem employs. It is intended for humanities scholars who do not necessarily know Greek or Latin (read).
*Review of Jenny Strauss Clay, Hesiod’s Cosmos (
*“Averroës on Aristotle’s Criticism of his Predecessors: An annotated translation of the long commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics A.” This otherwise unpublished work, which I completed in March, 2007, is a translation of the Arabic text of Averroës’s commentary on the portions of Metaphysics A dealing with the “causes” of things in the world posited by the Presocratics, together with detailed annotations and concluding remarks (read here or click on the menu bar above).
*“When Animals were not quite so Other: Homer’s Beast Similes and Hesiod’s Bird Signals.” This essay from January 2007 argues for the benefit of the Greekless reader that the archaic period of ancient Greece did not sense alienation from animals as much as do we today (read).
*“Hesiod and the Muses in Art.” This piece from early 2007, but supplemented in July, 2009, is a brief discussion of 19th and early 20th century treatments of the titular topic by French painters, with references and links to the images (read).
*“What Pandora let out and what she left in.” This review of recent scholars’ understandings of the original text of Pandora “opening the box” (whether she really released evils, whether her act was really against men, etc.) was presented at the annual meeting of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States, Baltimore, MD, October 6, 2006 (read, with subsequently updated references here or click on the menu bar above).
*Listening to the Spider: reading Hesiod’s Works and Days. This otherwise unpublished book-length work, completed in 2003, is a detailed running commentary on the poem from a point of view that it constitutes serious poetry as opposed to versified wisdom literature. The discussion is mostly in terms of the poem’s English translation, with philological issues treated in footnotes. A 2006 preface includes an addendum on available translations (updated March, 2007). A scholars’ Appendix tabulating syllable-quantity sequence and enjambement verse types, with comparisons to Homer, is also included (read here or click on the menu bar above).
*“Concerning Milesian ‘Science’ in the Context of Archaic Literature Generally.”
This is a background essay for a paper I read at the annual meeting of
the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations, in
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