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Andrew Benson Brown has had poems and reviews published in a few journals. His epic-in-progress, Legends of Liberty, will chronicle the major events of the American Revolution if he lives to complete it. Though he writes history articles for American Essence magazine, he lists his primary occupation on official forms as ‘poet.’ He is, in other words, a vagabond.


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11 Responses

  1. James Sale

    More wonderful and incredible work from the great Benson Brown – this is a hoot to watch: didn’t Homer get the memo? Ha ha ha!!! Really Andrew: you should have a TV show, you are a natural – very erudite, very perceptive and very witty. Love the two most damnable comments on your work, one appertaining to my own poem and Omo Lemon, which shows such ‘disrespect’ to John Lennon. John Lennon, of course, was one of those arch-anti-establishment rebels who showed disrespect for everybody … from the Royal Family to Hare Krishna (didn’t he blame them for ‘kicking Edgar Alan Poe’?) BUT to disrespect one of the great disrespecters, why, it’s a crime! Such is the hypocrisy and double-think of these debauched left-wingers. Keep up this great work.

    Reply
    • ABB

      Thanks James. Lennon can never be exposed enough. As far as a TV show, that would certainly be a unique thing in our era.

      Reply
  2. Joseph S. Salemi

    Emily Wilson’s translation of the Odyssey, like all translations, has both good points and shortcomings. Her desire to keep to the number lines in the Greek original is commendable, but since Homeric Greek is highly inflected while modern English isn’t, this was bound to force her into a concision that loses some of the text’s rhetorical fullness. She doesn’t want to keep repeating certain epithets and formulaic phrases, so she varies them as much as she can. Her defense of this is that the repetitions were important to the ancient Greek reader as signposts or guidelines, but for modern readers they are just boring indications that now’s the time to skip over them and get back to the narrative.

    That, I think, might be the problem. The text wasn’t composed for modern readers. It was composed for ancient Greeks, and if we are going to read the text with respect for their outlook and viewpoints, the text shouldn’t be made comfortable for and consonant with modern reading habits and prejudices.

    The strangulation of the errant slave girls by Telemakhos has always been a problem for feminist readers. But the event must be read as ancient Greeks would have read it — as a necessary cleansing of hearth and home from the stain of disloyalty and debasement. The slave girls made their choices (the guilty ones had to be specifically pointed out by the chief housekeeper), and so they deserved death as equally as the arrogant suitors did.

    It is also worth noting that the English writer Samuel Butler put together a serious and compelling case in the 1890s for his opinion that the Odyssey is the work of a female author.

    ABB, congratulations on another brilliant video. And it was a perfect description to call out the flood of feminist reinterpretations and revisions of classical texts as “high-brow chick-lit.”

    Reply
    • ABB

      Yes, Wilson’s translation wasn’t all bad. But presentism is rampant everywhere, and everything not nice must be whitewashed.
      I do recall reading about Butler’s theory of female authorship. I’ve also read a theory that the Iliad and Odyssey were composed by a “father-son” team, or maybe a “father-daughter” one. Interesting speculations.

      Reply
  3. Daniel Kemper

    I’m not down with solving the difficulties of challenging texts by making the readers weaker and dumbing down the texts continually. Let the texts speak and build the reader up. That really shows the true nature of what’s behind all this. EVERY adjustment is solved by finding one more thing you aren’t allowed to say and ceding a little bit more power to a faceless, unaccountable body somewhere that enforces it. And don’t get me started on “academic consensus.” Since I’ve been working on hosting a panel, I’ve seen the process by which topics are generated or permitted–all, if there are any questions or perspectives involved include directives for the answer one is supposed to find.

    Disagreement is healthy, bring on the bad translations, bring on the Roman opinion of Odysseus. I’m told they didn’t like him and thought him dishonorable. Let’s get it on like a good superhero discussion. But these woke mobsters… ffs.

    I appreciate your videos for engaging the mob.

    Solot’s metrical experimentation fascinates me, I must also add.

    Reply
    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Daniel, you’re absolutely right about “academic consensus” and its stifling, suffocating effect in teaching, scholarship, publication, and above all in conferences. Unless you “go along” with a generally acceptable tone and approach, you will not “get along” with your colleagues. And “peer review” now functions as a gatekeeping device to prevent anything appearing in print that dissents from public orthodoxy.

      Reply
    • ABB

      Daniel, you have a unique insider perspective on the how the academic system has become rotten. Doesn’t surprise me about the Romans not liking Odysseus, though I seem to recall Ovid treating his subject in a fun way in the Metamorphoses. Ovid was a bit of a bad boy himself though.
      As far as Solot’s translation, Evan suggested we call it ‘loose dactylic pentameter.’ I’m helping Solot editing it currently and we hope to put out an edition next year.

      Reply
  4. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    ABB, I love every word and every image. Your work is going from strength. You seem to be exuding an engaging authority. I believe it’s down to the fetching grey streaks in your hair and beard… you are looking more like Socrates every day, a good thing methinks! Andrew, thank you for all you do in the name of fine poetry.

    Reply
    • ABB

      Thanks, Susan. Ha yes, the grey is slowly taking over. Whether such wisdom will appeal to the younger audience that YouTube is mostly comprised remains to be seen.

      Reply
  5. C.B. Anderson

    You know, ABB, don’t you?, that presenting serious ideas with great humor is an art few have mastered. Just keep doing what you have been doing. But please, when you mean “Which raises the question,” don’t say, “Which begs the question.” Begging the question (petitio principii) is a logical fallacy of the zeroth order and is not a general call for inquiry.

    Reply
    • ABB

      Thanks for noting the distinction, Kip, will be mindful of that in the future.

      Reply

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