Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Doh!

Legend has it that the The Iliad and Odyssey were written down at the command of the Athenian ruler Pisistratus who feared they would be forgotten otherwise. But no one really knows why they were transcribed onto papyrus rolls, except that by the fifth century BC, there they are. They, plural, for there are varying versions that exist, although scholars insist that the variations are minor.

On the other hand, George Lucas recently issued a new DVD release of the initial Star Wars trilogy. George Wallace of A Fool in the Forest reports that "Jonathan Last of The Weekly Standard, … blasts the liberties taken by George Lucas in the new DVD Edition." Last writes:
But Lucas isn't just putting out newer, flawed versions. He is embarked on a campaign to create The One True Version of the Star Wars mythology.
Homer never got that chance, but Lucas has, and that’s his prerogative in this age of mass communication and copyright. Just to take one 20th century poem for example, The Wasteland: the original manuscript is much different than the finished version thanks to extensive changes made at Ezra Pound’s request. Although Pound and Last both prefer the order of empire above the turmoil of democracy: I think all versions of Homer though would disagree.

2 comments:

Dr J said...

Nothing significant, but a very minor resonance, as I start figuring out a lecture on The Iliad, which I'd frankly not read in too many years. The oldest questions persist; they haunt, like Webster's Duchess, because they do so still.

BTW, Eliot was a notoriously bad editor of his own work; as legend has it, he originally wanted to end "Little Gidding" with "and the fire and the rose are the same thing," until John (the Donne scholar) Hayward suggested changing it to "and the fire and the rose are one." Tom was purportedly following Herakleitos too closely, trying too hard to allude. But who knows now? The comforts of after-the-fact backseat driving....

Greg said...

I re-read Homer a few years ago, and enjoyed it so much more because it was simply reading for pleasure. I'm fascinated by so many aspects of this work, but especially it's emergence from the dark. If in your preparations, you come across some book whose main topic is this subject specifically, let me know. I'd much appreciate it.