Saturday, March 31, 2007

Selection 9 - Oresteia - Libation Bearers

This was kind of a let down. Based on the reaction of the chorus at the end of Agamemnon I expected more of an undercurrent of resentment. I didn't feel it. Everything seemed really formulaic (is that a word), but maybe that is because I knew the ending and I could just see everything leading up to it.

It was kind of interesting that Orestes felt some reluctance to kill his mother and then felt shame afterwards. Up to the point he actually was confronted with having to do it he was very determined in his course and felt completely in the right. Confronted with having to perform the act he wavered a bit, which both shows the effect mothers have on children and foreshadows the next play. As does his acceptance of his guilt and immediate descent into madness, or maybe I am reading to much into the lines about black cloaked women and gorgons descending on him.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Selection 9 - Oresteia- Agamemnon finished

Whew! Feels good to be making some progress again. Popped in the soundtrack to 300 and I was able to power thru the last 10 pages of Agamemnon.

This play started out very slow with a lot of back and forth between the chorus and Clytemnestra that was very boring when I first read it. Lots of protestations of wifely fealty and love, but as the play closes you see how necessary that dialogue was. It really set the stage for the actual murder.

Loved the conflict at the end between Aegishus and the chorus too. He comes off as a cowardly bully who has to have his girlfriend do his dirty work and then declares himself the true avenger of his family. When he is called on this he blusters a lot but doesn't really have the guts to follow thru. You just know that this is going to come to play in "The Libation Bearers". As an aside I know I have seen this character in a couple of movies but for the life of me I can't think of which ones.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Selection 8 - Book of Job -conclusion

I finally finished the Book of Job. What a chore!

I actually found the entire book rather confusing. First what was the purpose of God's test other than his own perverse amusement? As I stated in my previous post on this subject it's almost a "Trading Places" scenario - I have something to prove and I don't care who gets hurt while I prove it.

The dialogue between Job and his friends didn't really say that much to me. The main thrust of it on his friends part was God is all knowing and infallible therefore if he is punishing Job, the Job must deserve it. In response Job asks, "What have I done? Nothing that I know of. And even if I had inadvertently sinned, my sins are nothing compared to the truly evil who live their entire lives without punishment." Of the two sides of what truly was a very long and boring dialogue Job's is definitely the more sympathetic.

Elihu's speech is semi-interesting in that it puts both sides on the defensive. Telling Job's friends "Hey, who are you to judge? That's God's job." while at the same time telling Job that even though right now he is being punished by God in the end God is merciful. After this defense God's appearance and the invocation of the angry parent attitude, "Because I said so / My house my rules", is a little anti-climatic. I know it's supposed to underscore the majesty of God but all it does it add to making him look capricious. Especially when after allowing Satan to kill Job's children he blesses him with another 10, like they are throw away toys or a goldfish that you find floating belly-up in the aquarium.

All in all I didn't find this to be a very inspiring book of the Bible.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Harvard Classics - Free

As near as I can tell there are two series of books really incorporating the Western Canon. Great Books of The Western World (which I own after a screaming deal on E-Bay) and the Harvard Classics.

I was messing around at lunch seeing who was blogging about Agamemnon and came across a blog called One Man Book Club which led to an e-learning site which lead to a site offering free downloads of the Harvard Classics. Since I'm cheap (as well as easy) I am always into free stuff so I will have to scrounge up a bunch of 3-Ring Binders and start downloading.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Free Audiobooks at Librivox

One of the problems I am having with the reading list from the Olympia Academy is a lack of time. Between work and my commute about 10 hours a day are eaten up and if I am taking a class at at given point, there goes my free time as well. Because of this my reading has lagged some.

I have recently been listening to lectures from the Portable Professor series which made me decide to see if I could locate audio books for some of the works on my list. I was specifically thinking of the plays which are designed to be enjoyed aurally anyway but I found a lot more than I expected here at Librivox. Almost all the works on the list are either in progress or have been completed.

I don't intend to do all of this by audiobook now but it does extend my options and since reading reinforced with hearing greatly enhances retention it will actually do me more good. How's that for an excuse? :-)

From the Librivox website:
LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net. Our goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books. We are a totally volunteer, open source, free content, public domain project.
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