Open Thread: I get it now!

Hosted by a light bulb
On First Looking into Chapman's Homer

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific — and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise —
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
-John Keats

Chapman's translation of Homer is mostly remembered because of Keat's poem about it.  Keats never really got Homer until he read George Chapman's translation of it.  Chapman was a contemporary of Shakespeare so for the current English reader it doesn't really serve much purpose: Chapman translated it into the English of his day, it would need to be translated into the English of our day to be understood.  (Consider the size of a gloss needed to understand Shakespeare.)

But Chapman's translation of Homer is remembered, perhaps even immortalized, because it was on reading it that something finally clicked for Keats.  The light bulb went on, and he got it.

Obviously this could be a place to talk about that sort of thing in your experience.  It also happens to be Friday.


Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately? Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s coming up, give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else! 

 ~ chris the cynic


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