Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mapping Out my Route

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  I am honored to be participating for the first time this week with the topic "Top Ten Books I Resolve to Read in 2011."

Since I am embarking on a relatively formal reading plan, I thought I would give you the preliminary schedule that I have sketched out, in case any of you would like to read along with me (using the translations I plan to use or finding totally different ones).  I'll update the schedule in the sidebar as I become more sure of timing.

1. Gilgamesh--starting  January 5th
     I plan to use the Stephen Mitchell translation as my spine but will discuss other versions as well.

***After Gilgamesh, I will have a couple of posts on the fact that I am not reading the Bible in this spot, even though it might make sense chronologically.  I will also have a brief discussion on various translations and their histories.

2. The Iliad by Homer--starting January 28th
     I plan to split my reading time between two fairly new translations: that of Robert Fagles and the translation by Stanley Lombardo.

3. The Odyssey by Homer
     Like with The Iliad, I will read a bit of both Fagles and Lombardo.

4. The Homeric Hymns
      I think I will use Diane Rayor's translation--but if you have suggestions, I would love to hear them.

5. Theogony and Work and Days by Hesiod
     Here again I will be using the Lombardo translation.

6. Poems by Sappho
     There are numerous translations of Sappho highly regarded by readers.  I'll be looking at several, including the ones done by Mary Barnard and Anne Carson.

7. Fables by Aesop
I will probably use the translation by Robert Temple.

More details forthcoming on the following:

8. Selected plays by Aeschylus

9. Selected plays by Sophocles

10. Selected plays by Euripides


  1. We read a LOT of these in my Antiquity class in college, and I admit I'm not fond of most of them. While there were some eras they taught us (it was an ongoing class starting in antiquity and going up to present day over two semesters) that really got me interested in lit, the old greek and roman works were not ones that interested me. The only one I can remember liking at all was Medea by Euripedes.

  2. I'm sorry to hear you did not enjoy them more. I hope that reading them now as a middle-aged fogey will give me a different perspective. And I have both the advantage and disadvantage of not reading them for a class. On the one hand, it is hard for me to forget that I am doing this for me, for pleasure, on my own timetable. Keeps me positive. On the other hand, it would be amazing to be able to learn from a professor and fellow students. I guess that is what my fellow bloggers will have to be.

  3. This sounds awesome! And it's cool that you & Jenny (from Shelf Love) happen to be posting on Gilgamesh around the same time. She's certainly getting me intrigued in reading it.

    I love love LOVE Anne Carson's Sappho translations, and will be especially curious to read about your thoughts on translation comparisons. Looking forward to following you along this journey!

  4. Wow! You go! This looks like an amazing list. I've read Gilgamesh and the Iliad, but both several years ago and I'm ashamed to say I can't remember the translators. Now I'm going to have to go look them up!

  5. Emily: I am so happy to have you along for the ride! I recently read your post on Carson's Sappho and love it. And isn't it cool that Jenny is posting about Gilgamesh?

    Birdie: Thanks for the encouragement! I know there are many terrific translators of both books, and if you (or other readers) think of what you read, I'd love to hear about it.

  6. So much ancient stuff! I love it!

  7. She: Thanks. I'm very excited about this project. Tomorrow I'll post about the first book!

  8. Hi, I'm visiting you, sent over from PJ's Northport blog...and though I have to say I haven't read ANY of these, we DID play a piece of music titled "Gilgamesh" tonight in our community band....must somehow be related to the book...

  9. I just read Seamus Heaney's version of Sophocles' Antigone, which he titled The Burial at Thebes. It was short but very beautiful, and it might be an interesting addition to your Sophocles reading!

    Are you still interested in coordinating readings of Gilgamesh? I do have the audio, of Mitchell's translation, I believe. I know a (very) mini readalong was briefly mentioned a while back!

  10. That is a very ambitious reading list! I have sometimes thought I should read more of the ancient classics, but somehow I rarely do pick one up. I did like Gilgamesh.

  11. Dawn: How fascinating! Do you know who composed it? I'll do some searching to see if I can find it.

    Erin: Seamus Heaney was one of my college professors--and I love his Antigone. It is one of the few things on my early list that I had read before. I'd love to read together! I should have emailed you about setting something up. I'll be posting about Gilgamesh on M-W-F schedule, starting tomorrow, for a total of probably six posts. I'd especially love to post a link to a review of the audio!

    Biblophile: It is exactly my reluctance actually pick up ancient classics that has led me to make my project public. Not only is it harder to let go of the plan, but I have all of y'all to support me!

  12. Oh, that must have been cool, having Heaney as a professor! His Antigone made me want to read his translation of Beowulf as well.

    I'll go ahead and make Gilgamesh my next classic, then. That would mean my thoughts on it would go up next Wednesday, since I do my classics project posts weekly on Wednesdays. Will that work?

  13. Absolutely, Erin. Sounds great. I can't wait to see what you think.

  14. Good gracious! Your list makes mine look like kindergarten - or baby ward.. :") I hope you have fun and enjoy a great time with really GREAT books!

  15. Frl. Irene: I do hope I survive!

  16. I'll be reading The Iliad later this year, too! Not quite as soon as you, but I am excited about it :-)

    I notice a pretty European (particularly Greek) classic bent to your reading list for the year- is it your plan to read deeply by culture?

  17. I really enjoyed The Iliad and liked the Odyssey. The Lombardo books seemed very interesting to me -- I wanted to read them too but ran out of time. I had a hard time calling them translations, since they really seem more like "retellings" since they are so loose. I don't know.

    Christopher Logue retold the Iliad in a series of poems called War Music. I've been really itching to read those ones.

    I haven't read the plays but am looking forward to an excuse at some point.


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