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This page shares e-mailed questions, conversations - exchanges - bewteen students and Professor Nagy on topics related to class Dialogues. The e-mails are edited for format only.
I’m very grateful to you for sharing this reference. Would you allow me to “publish” our exchange on the Heroes website?
With warm regards, GN
Here is a link to a website explaining the book I mentioned at the end of class. It has to do with analyzing the way the world functions, the futility of science, and the possible solution of returning to the natural order of life. The similarities between the book and what the old man said to the tourist (like about how scientists believe themselves to be godly and "working miracles," but not really helping anyone in the end) are striking.
Also, the book is centered around dialogue between the main character and the wise gorilla, Ishmael, much like Socrates practiced (and as we strive for in class).
Hope you enjoy it, Adam Miller
You are my culture hero! Thank you ever so much for doing this. Would you be willing to let us "publish" this exchange and the attachments on our site?
As you suggested in class, during my trip to Paris, I visited the Pere-Lachaise and saw Jim Morrison's grave. Interesting enough, there were few others like myself searching for the grave mark. Other than the grafitti with Doors' lyrics and the metal fence surrounding it, it is quite a nondescript grave. The bust that was in the movie was not present during my visit. Hope you enjoy the pictures. The last two are from the Louvre. The first is of Herakles lamenting over his slaughter of wife and children. The second is a feast upon the grave site of Herakleos.
[Click on the links below to see the jpg images. Each image file is approximately 200-400 k.]
Aristeia of Herakles Graffitti near tomb Jim's tombstone Feast on Herakles' grave Jim's tomb in tre Lachaise
I really enjoyed reading this. You have a good eye for close reading. The author of this article does indeed have the characteristics of sophoi / agathoi / philoi, no? May I "publish" this exchange on our website?
With warm regards, GN
I was browsing the Crimson and came across the following article, the subtitle in particular, which immediately made me wonder if this student, too, is a student in your Heroes class. Enjoy: http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=358075
I read your comparandum with the greatest interest! I bet other people would be as interested as I am. May we post our exchange on the website?
Warm regards, GN
Dear Professory Nagy,
Hello! My name is Katie Golden (we talked previously about my paper on healing) and I just thought of an interesting reference to your lecture today. In the second Lord of the Rings (The Two Towers), there is a scene in which King Theoden is burying his son and he is surrounded by mounds where former kings were buried. What I found interesting is that the background shows a very barren landscape (the land of Rohan), however there are beautiful white flowers growing on top of the mounds where the kings are buried. The scene (which I just re-watched) starts with an up-close shot of the flower and King Theoden notes the phenomenon as natural. Also, Gandalf ends the scene by saying "He was strong in life. His soul will find its way to the halls of your fathers." I just thought if fit in nicely with our discussion today in class. I hope you have a nice spring break!
what a beautiful account! Thank you so much for sharing it with me. May we "publish" it on the Heroes website?
Your proud teacher, Greg
Professor Nagy and company,
I received a lot of positive feedback about the show, which I attribute mostly to Euripides' script writing skills. The text is extremely powerful, and I was glad to hear that I didn't mess it up too much. The chorus was very involved in a lot of the action and I really tried to create a strong connection between them and Hecuba by having their movement reflect her actions. I was happy to hear that most people liked that stylistic choice. I had very powerful actresses in most of the main parts, but I think the consensus was that Andromache put forth the best performance and was the most sympathetic character. I agree. Reactions were mixed on exactly what Euripides' message was and on exactly how that message works today. Some people found the play definitively anti-war, others thought it was just a cry out against fate. I tried to give a modern context for understanding the role of the Gods by interpretating Poseidon and Athena as powerful political executives, sympathetic to third world affairs when it suited them but otherwise indifferent about the human subjects they encountered. Of the LAC14 students who saw the show, several noticed the Iris-style gesture of mourning (which I did not consciously block into the play) and the Sappho-esque ring of women calling out to Love (intentional). Thanks for providing such an enriching course as a complement to my Harvard directorial debut! Thanks for the interest, and I will see you in class!
The Iliad is full of instance in which victors strip the dead of their armor. I have two questions about this:
1. How do they continue fighting while burdened with captured armor?
2. Why (besides sacrificial purposes) did the Greeks find it such a big deal to remove armor from their opponents?
Thank you, Steve Lee
Good question. The answer will have to develop as the course delves deeper and deeper into the historical practice of hero cults. A lot of Homeric agenda depends on how the audiences of Homer in later ages viewed cult heroes. That is why the body of the hero is such a prize in Homeric narrative. And, by metonymy, the armor of the hero. Such things were objects of worship in the Archaic and Classical periods. Have a look at my introduction to the Iliad and Odyssey in the Sourcebook. Also, at our introduction to the Philostratus book.
Best regards, G.N.