Confucius and Socrates

Among Western scholars, comparisons between Confucian literature and the Platonic corpus are made frequently. To their credit, both literary characters are memorable for their obsession with virtue and the appropriate means of political life. Both, presumably, emphasize the importance of a rigid social or political order, devotion among the citizenry, and both were considered a threat to their … Continue reading Confucius and Socrates

Notes on Odysseus’s Tale to the Phaeacians

"Odysseus before Alcinous, King of the Phaeacians" by August Malmström in 1853 In Book IX, the "great teller of tales" responds to Alcinous's request by first revealing his name as Odysseus (paralleling the tale of his venture with Polyphemus). He reminds the Phaeacians of his many troubles and woes after finally revealing his name, he … Continue reading Notes on Odysseus’s Tale to the Phaeacians

Phemius and Demodocus: Two Bards Considered

Homer by Felix Boisselier, early 19th century In Homer's Odyssey, we encounter two different examples of poets, one hailing from the halls of Ithaca, and the other from the land of the Phaeacians. We hear neither one speak -Phemius is silent until the closing books of the text when he pleads for his life. As with … Continue reading Phemius and Demodocus: Two Bards Considered