Odd Colours in The Odyssey

Homer was a Greek poet writing around 750BC and we think he’s the author of The Odyssey. It’s an epic poem about Odysseus and his ten-year journey back to Ithaca after the fall of Troy. There’s an awful lot of intelligent discussion to be had about this important piece of literature but today I’m justContinue reading “Odd Colours in The Odyssey”

In My Day…

One of the many things I like about novels from different times and places is when something is said that is so utterly timeless that it reminds me that we aren’t all that different. Last month I talked about how even the ancient Greeks knew what it was to really fancy a particular food forContinue reading “In My Day…”

A Monstrous Mother

If you’ve not read Beowulf, you probably still know it’s an old tale about a warrior called Beowulf fighting a monster. It’s an epic poem from around AD700-1000, possibly from an oral tradition that goes back much further. Hero fights monster – it’s a tale as old as time. But are the monsters really theContinue reading “A Monstrous Mother”

Use Your Intelligence

Waiting for Godot was originally written in French by Samuel Beckett as En Attendent Godot, then he translated it himself into English in the early 1950s. I’m given to understand it doesn’t make much more sense in French though, but then that’s really the point. The plot is simply that two men wait for aContinue reading “Use Your Intelligence”

Ancient Greek Soup

The Frogs is a comic play by Aristophanes from around 405 BC. Yes, that’s a really long time ago and it’s based on a civilisation that is long dead. No, I don’t speak ancient Greek so I had to really on a translation. Yes, some of the jokes are about things lost in the mistsContinue reading “Ancient Greek Soup”

Horrible Insects and Lie-Ins

Kafka wrote some weird stuff – excellent, compelling, influential but… weird. His stories generally involve characters in surreal predicaments and the ways they deal with these situations, which are almost always as mundane as possible. The Metamorphosis is probably his most famous work so let’s use that as an example. The first line sums upContinue reading “Horrible Insects and Lie-Ins”

A Querulous Mew

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is quite well known – there are a lot of film and TV adaptations, a version according to Spike Milligan, and even a song by Kate Bush. A lot of these versions show the two main characters – Catherine and Heathcliff – as star-crossed lovers and misunderstood romantic heroes. IfContinue reading “A Querulous Mew”


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