Dionysus’s Descent Into Hades In The Frogs

The Frogs is my favorite of Aristophanes's comedies. It is the only Aristophanean comedy to feature a god at the beginning -Dionysus, the god of the theatre, and his slave Xanthias. As they walk, Xanthias is meta-textually concerned with telling jokes that will make the audience laugh, and laughter presupposes some kind of suffering, though the … Continue reading Dionysus’s Descent Into Hades In The Frogs

Aristophanes’s The Birds: A New City in the Sky

Aristophanes The Birds ("Ornithets") is the only comedy written by Aristophanes whose entire action takes place far from the city of Athens. Consequently, the play makes little mention of the circumstances of the Peloponnesian War, or of contemporary Athenian politics. It won second prize at the Dionysia in 414 BC. It is a play about the … Continue reading Aristophanes’s The Birds: A New City in the Sky

The Unremarkable Able McLaughlins

I finally finished the next Pulitzer Prize winning novel after dragging my feet for much of the summer. It is altogether difficult to go from reading the beautiful rolling novels of the great American pioneer writer, Willa Cather, to the bland landscapes of Margaret Wilson's Pulitzer-Prize winning book, The Able McLaughlins. Wilson's novel is a story … Continue reading The Unremarkable Able McLaughlins

Thoughts on the Prayer of Manasseh

The Prayer of Manasseh is a fascinating little prayer. Today, it is included among the biblical apocrypha -and sometimes it is included among thePsalms or at the end of Second Chronicles. It is an imagined prayer of Manasseh, successor king to Hezekiah of ancient Judah, as he makes an apologia in penitence for his sins -praising of other gods. The prayer is divided into fifteen verses, and … Continue reading Thoughts on the Prayer of Manasseh