Advertisement

The Homeless Journey

  • Michael Lynn-George
Part of the Language, Discourse, Society book series (LDS)

Abstract

The final book of the Iliad works towards the achievement of a satisfying conclusion for the narrative, some form of resolution which would put an end to the changeless scene of revenge with which the book opens. In its subtle temporal modulation from the description of one particular sleepless night to an indeterminate period of time drawn out in aimless wandering along the edge of the sea before the break of dawn, the narrative traces the drift into futility for a form of revenge repeated with an increasing loss of force and sense as Achilles’ abuse of the corpse of Hektor fails to satisfy his sense of loss for a slain and buried friend:

And the rest of them took thought of their dinner and of sweet sleep and its enjoyment; only Achilleus wept still as he remembered his beloved companion, nor did sleep

who subdues all come over him, but he tossed from one side to the other

in longing for Patroklos, for his manhood and his great strength

and all the actions he had seen to the end with him, and the hardships

Keywords

Final Book Pure Present Indefinite Future Sway Back Defensive Wall 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    S. Heath, Vertige du déplacement (Paris, 1974) p. 171.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    On the temporal shift in this passage, see M. N. Nagler, Spontaneity and Tradition: A Study in the Oral Art of Homer (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, 1974) pp. 167–70.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    R. Barthes, Sade, Fourier, Loyola, tr. R. Miller (London, 1977) p. 116.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hermann Broch, The Death of Virgil, tr. J. S. Untermeyer (Oxford, 1983) pp. 49–50.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    For the symbolism relating to death see C. H. Whitman, Homer and the Heroic Tradition (Cambridge, Mass., 1958) p. 217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    The Iliad, ed. W. Leaf, 2nd edn, 2 vols (Amsterdam, 1971) comment ad loc.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    R. Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text, tr. R. Miller (London, 1976) p. 47.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    J. Derrida, ‘White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text of Philosophy’, tr. F. C. T. Moore, in New Literary History 6 (1974) 5–74 (p. 45).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    E. R. Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, 1951) p. 29.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    T. M. Greene, The Descent from Heaven: A Study in Epic Continuity (New Haven, Conn., 1975) p. 47.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    See, for example, J. T. Kakridis, ‘Die Niobesage bei Homer’, RhM, 79 (1930) 113–22Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    D. Lohmann, Die Komposition der Reden in der llıas (Berlin, 1970) p. 13 and n. 4. The Hellenistic objection, often cited to support the exclusion, is given and dismissed in The Iliad, ed. Leaf, comment ad loc.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    J. Derrida, Margins of Philosophy, tr. A. Bass (Brighton, Sussex, 1982) pp. 83, 24.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    F. Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals, tr. F. Golffing (New York, 1956) p. 187.Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    D. C. Kastan, Shakespeare and the Shapes of Time (London and Basingstoke, 1982) p. 103.Google Scholar
  16. 17.
    D. L. Page, History and the Homeric Iliad (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, 1959) p. 321.Google Scholar
  17. 18.
    Ibid., pp. 319, 322. See also p. 322 for ‘Nestor’s untimely speech’ and the claims of ‘common sense’.Google Scholar
  18. 19.
    T. S. Eliot, ‘The Dry Salvages’, ll. 16–18, 22–4, Four Quartets (London, 1959).Google Scholar
  19. 20.
    Marx’s phrase from the Introduction to the Grundrisse, cited in T. Eagleton, Marxism and Literary Criticism (London, 1976) p. 11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 21.
    F. Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, tr. R. J. Hollingdale (Cambridge, 1983) p. 61.Google Scholar
  21. 22.
    E. Jabès, cited in A. Fernandez-Zoïla, ‘Le Neutre en devenir chez Edmond Jabès’, in Lire Jabès, Cahiers obsidiane, 5, ed. F. Wybrands [= Obsidiane, supplement to no. 17] (Paris, 1982) p. 61.Google Scholar
  22. 23.
    E. Jabès, cited in M.-A. Caws, ‘Signe et encadrement: Edmond Jabès ou Le Livre en question’, ibid., p. 74.Google Scholar
  23. 24.
    M. M. Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays, ed. M. Holquist, tr. M. Holquist and C. Emerson (Austin, Tex., 1981) p. 16.Google Scholar
  24. 25.
    F. Nietzsche, The Gay Science, tr. W. Kaufmann (New York, 1974) p. 182.Google Scholar
  25. 26.
    C. M. Bowra, Tradition and Design in the Iliad (Oxford, 1930) pp. 110, 112–13.Google Scholar
  26. 27.
    Cited by R. Howard in his preface to R. Barthes, S/Z, tr. R. Miller (London, 1975) p. xi.Google Scholar
  27. 28.
    Wallace Stevens, ‘Notes toward a Supreme Fiction’, ll. 84–6, in The Collected Poems (London and Boston, Mass., 1984).Google Scholar
  28. 29.
    J. P. Sartre, What is Literature?, tr. B. Frechtman (London, 1967) pp. 232–8 (p. 238). Further references to this work will be given within the text.Google Scholar
  29. 30.
    M. Parry, ‘The Historical Method in Literary Criticism’, in The Making of Homeric Verse: The Collected Papers of Milman Parry, ed. Adam Parry (Oxford, 1971) p. 410.Google Scholar
  30. 31.
    R. Barthes, On Racine, tr. R. Howard (New York, 1964 and 1977) p. 155.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael Lynn-George 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Lynn-George

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations