Olympus

Homer Now

The Iliad of HomerTranslated by Richmond Lattimore (University of Chicago Press, 599 pp., $15) Homer: The IliadTranslated by Anthony Verity (Oxford University Press, 470 pp., $29.95) Homer: The IliadTranslated by Stephen Mitchell (Free Press, 466 pp., $35) Memorial: An Excavation of the IliadBy Alice Oswald (Faber & Faber, 84 pp., £12.99) The Song of AchillesBy Madeline Miller (Ecco, 378 pp., $25.99)  English Translation and Classical Reception: Towards a New Literary HistoryBy Stuart Gillespie (Wiley-Blackwell, 208 pp., $110.95)   I. "Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus’s son Achilleus/an

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As the World Cup approaches I am reminded of a friend, B_____, who died last year. A physician, he was earnest, over-rational, and an assiduous problem solver. He considered himself very lucky to have married a man, H_____, who was his opposite in so many ways, a painter.  B_____ once told me of an experiment he tried. He liked Wagner, but considered his music too long.  “Wagner has moments of ecstasy,” he told me, “but it takes too long to get to them.”  I remember we were sitting in a restaurant’s garden.

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Giordano Bruno: Philosopher/Heretic By Ingrid D. Rowland (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 352 pp., $29) I. 'To philosophize is to learn to die": seven words, and an epoch in Western thought.

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SOME YEARS AGO I SPENT A weekend in Las Vegas and enjoyed it. The bounteous vulgarity in every possible way, from displays to entertainments to phalanxes of slot machines, seemed to me exactly what it ought to be. Anything more chaste and sensible would have been out of order, a disappointment.  I watch the Oscars every year, and I have more or less the same reaction: that everything is in character.

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Until last weekend, I had never taken a picture in Central Park. The idea just never occurred to me. I suppose there's no urgency to capture something that's always there, always essentially the same. Sure, the Park changes slowly over the seasons and over the years. There's the Philharmonic on the Great Lawn in summer and ice skating at Wollman Rink in winter. Caretaking fluctuates along with the city's fortunes.

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Press Against Politics

From The Editors: This week, our historical piece is “Press Against Politics,” Henry Fairlie’s 1976 call to arms for more passion and more conviction from the listless class of political journalists covering the Carter-Ford election. (He was clearly upset: “The fact is that James Reston writes now like a sports columnist on the slope of Olympus.

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