Wednesday, August 30, 2006


So wicked comic and hay(na)ku writer/collagist-extraordinaire John Bloomberg-Rissman is also the humanities bibliographer for the libraries of the the University of California, Riverside. That expertise shows, moithinks, as he writes in as regards my penultimate post yesterday re Homer's feminine side:

John sez:
"Interesting post. But what bothers me about this piece, and about the other reviews of Dalby’s book I’ve seen is that there’s no mention of the fact that this thesis is not new. In the 19th century Samuel Butler (of Erewhon fame) wrote the AUTHORESS OF THE ODYSSEY: WHERE AND WHEN SHE WROTE, WHO SHE WAS AND THE USE SHE MADE OF THE ILIAD, AND HOW THE POEM GREW UNDER HER HANDS. This was reprinted in 2004 by U of Exeter Press. It posits, to quote a blurb, that the Odyssey was written by a woman who configured herself in the epic as the Phaeacian princess, Nausicaa. Oddly enough, I have the first edition at home. It came from my father’s library. At one time, it was owned by Philip Whalen, who has signed (i.e. “calligraphed” in typical Whalen style) his name on the flyleaf. I hope somebody somewhere remembers poor old Samuel Butler."

Indeed, let us remember Samuel Butler...and Robert Graves who, John notes, also elaborated on this hypothesis in his novel Homer's Daughter.

To live is to learn.