Antagoras the poet was boiling a conger, and Antigonus, coming behind him as he was stirring his skillet, said, "Do you think, Antagoras, that Homer boiled congers when he wrote the deeds of Agamemnon?" Antagoras replied, "Do you think, O king, that Agamemnon, when he did such exploits, was a peeping in his army to see who boiled congers?
When I heard the word ''stream'' uttered with such a revolting primness, what I think of is urine and not the contemporary novel. And besides, it isn't new, it is far from the dernier cri. Shakespeare used it continually, much too much in my opinion, and there's Tristam Shandy, not to mention the Agamemnon.
Herodotus is not more indisputably the father of history than is Sir Boyle Roche the father of Bulls. No doubt there were makers of bulls before his day, even as brave men lived before Agamemnon; but they are not remembered, and if their bulls have survived them they are credited to Sir Boyle by a posterity generously forgiving and forgetful of his famous indictment.
Rage - Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses, hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls, great fighters' souls, but made their bodies carrion, feasts for the dogs and birds, and the will of Zeus was moving toward its end. Begin, Muse, when the two first broke and clashed, Agamemnon lord of men and brilliant Achilles.
Rest in Peace?' Why that phrase? That's the most ridiculous phrase I've ever heard! You die, and they say 'Rest in Peace!' ... Why would one need to 'rest' when they're dead?! I spent thousands of years of world history resting. While Agamemnon was leading his ships to Troy, I was resting. While Ovid was seducing women at the chariot races, I was resting. While Jeanne d'Arc was hallucinating, I was resting. I wait until airplanes are scuttling across the sky to burst out onto the scene, and I'm only going to be here for a short while, so when I die, I certainly won't need to rest again! Not while more adventures of the same kind are going on.
To grow up, a man must stand apart not only from his mother but from his fellows. Human achievement, according to this perspective, is always to be measured in difference, who is the fastest, the most handsome, the richest. The quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon highlights this way of looking at human achievement. Not only do the two men compete for the most honor, symbolized by possessions, but they see their contest as a zero-sum game. That is, they-and all the other warriors-assume that there is a finite amount of honor available, so that if one man gets more, then someone else gets less. Achilles, with his semidivine nature and abundant physical gifts, would seem to be an example of a man fully equipped for success in this system. And yet, Achilles does not prosper in the world of the poem. As he pursues honor and status among his fellows, he becomes more and more isolated, the price of distinction in a competitive society.
Thomas Van Nortwick
while epic fantasy is based on the fairy tale of the just war, that's not one you'll find in Grimm or Disney, and most will never recognize the shape of it. I think the fantasy genre pitches its tent in the medieval campground for the very reason that we even bother to write stories about things that never happened in the first place: because it says something subtle and true about our own world, something it is difficult to say straight out, with a straight face. Something you need tools to say, you need cheat codes for the human brain-a candy princess or a sugar-coated unicorn to wash down the sour taste of how bad things can really get. See, I think our culture has a slash running through the middle of it, too. Past/Future, Conservative/Liberal, Online/Offline. Virgin/Whore. And yes: Classical/Medieval. I think we're torn between the Classical Narrative of Self and the Medieval Narrative of Self, between the choice of Achilles and Keep Calm and Carry On. The Classical internal monologue goes like this: do anything, anything, only don't be forgotten. Yes, this one sacrificed his daughter on a slab at Aulis, that one married his mother and tore out his eyes, and oh that guy ate his kids in a pie. But you remember their names, don't you? So it's all good in the end. Give a Greek soul a choice between a short life full of glory and a name echoing down the halls of time and a long, gentle life full of children and a quiet sort of virtue, and he'll always go down in flames. That's what the Iliad is all about, and the Odyssey too. When you get to Hades, you gotta have a story to tell, because the rest of eternity is just forgetting and hoping some mortal shows up on a quest and lets you drink blood from a bowl so you can remember who you were for one hour. And every bit of cultural narrative in America says that we are all Odysseus, we are all Agamemnon, all Atreus, all Achilles. That we as a nation made that choice and chose glory and personal valor, and woe betide any inconvenient 'other people' who get in our way. We tell the tales around the campfire of men who came from nothing to run dotcom empires, of a million dollars made overnight, of an actress marrying a prince from Monaco, of athletes and stars and artists and cowboys and gangsters and bootleggers and talk show hosts who hitched up their bootstraps and bent the world to their will. Whose names you all know. And we say: that can be each and every one of us and if it isn't, it's your fault. You didn't have the excellence for it. You didn't work hard enough. The story wasn't about you, and the only good stories are the kind that have big, unignorable, undeniable heroes.
Catherynne M. Valente