Monthly Archives: May, 2016

My proposed reading list

Romantic Period

England:

Coleridge,blake,keats,shelley

Germany

Johann von Goethe

In American, the Romantic period was called the Transcendental Period:

Emerson,Thoreau

Gothic writings:

Radcliffe,Monk Lewis

The Victorian :Bram Stoker

In America :Poe and Hawthorne

The Victorian Period

British Writers:

Elizabeth Browning,Alfred Lord Tennyson,Matthew Arnold,Robert Browning,Charles Dickens,Bronte Sisters

Pre-Raphaelites:

Rossettis,William Morris,Walter Pater,Oscar Wilde,Stephen Crane ,Walt Whitman ,Emily Dickinson

Modern Period

W.B Yeats,Seamus Heaney ,Dylan Thomas ,W. H. Auden ,Virginia Woolf,Wilfred Owen ,Robert Frost ,Flannery O’ Connor,Hemingway ,Stein,Fitzgerald,Faulkner,Baldwin,Ellison

Postmodern period

T. S Eliot,Morrison,Shaw,Beckett,Stoppard,Fowles,Calvino,Ginsberg,Pynchon,Langston Hughes,Sandra Cisnero ,Zora Neal Hurston ,Gabriel Garcia  Marquez,Luis Borges,Alejo Carpentier,Gunter Grass,Salman Rushdie

 

source:anonymous pdf

 

 

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Genres of Ancient Greek Literature

The Epic Narrative, Lyric Poetry ,Tragedy ,Comedy ,History ,Rhetoric and Oratory, Philosophical Prose. I will be dealing with just four , namely :

The Epic Narrative: Includes The Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer. The characteristics of an Epic narrative are :

  1. Begins in medias res.(A narrative work beginning in medias res  opens in the midst of action.Works that employ in medias res often, though not always, subsequently use flashback and nonlinear narrative for exposition of earlier events in order to fill in the backstory. For example, in Homer’s Odyssey, we first learn about Odysseus’ journey when he is held captive on Calypso’s island.
  2. The setting is vast, covering many nations, the world or the universe.
  3. Begins with an invocation to a muse (epic invocation).
  4. Begins with a statement of the theme.
  5. Includes the use of epithets.
  6. Contains long lists, called an epic catalogue.
  7. Features long and formal speeches.
  8. Shows divine intervention on human affairs.
  9. Features heroes that embody the values of the civilization.
  10. Often features the tragic hero’s descent into the Underworld or hell.

Source:(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_poetry)

Lyric poetry- Remember Hesiod Here!

‘Lyric’ indicates that these poems were conceived of as belonging to the tradition of poetry sung or chanted to the accompaniment of the lyre, also known as melic poetry (from melos, “song”; compare English “melody”).

The themes of Greek lyric include “politics, war, sports, drinking, money, youth, old age, death, the heroic past, the gods,” and hetero- and homosexual love.”In the 3rd century BC, the encyclopedic movement at Alexandria produced a canon of the nine melic poets: Alcaeus, Alcman, Anacreon, Bacchylides, Ibycus, Pindar, Sappho, Simonides, and Stesichorus

Tragedy

From replying to the chorus (Also called dithyramb) in honour of the god Dionysus, tragedy was born . The dithyramb had elements of the Satyr plays (were an ancient Greek form of tragicomedy,similar in the bawdy spirit of the burlesque source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyr_play) . Arion of Lesbos, who is said to have worked at Corinth in about 600, is credited with being the first to write narrative poetry in this medium.

Important names :Thespis ,  Aeschylus ,Sophocles, Euripides.

Comedy

Also originated from the worship of Dionysus . Full of obsenity with the aim of criticizing evil, it had a part called “Parabasis” where the chorus was cut short to address societal ills . Actors were usually those who had suffered from abuse or tyranny from the oppressors they were commenting on .

Old Comedy survives today largely in the form of the eleven surviving plays of Aristophanes, while Middle Comedy is largely lost, i.e. preserved only in relatively short fragments by authors such as Athenaeus of Naucratis. New Comedy is known primarily from the substantial papyrus fragments of Menander.(source :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek_comedy)

 

Literature :Ancient Greek

  Just as I promised earlier, we’ll be coursing through the timeframes of literature. This week,  I have decided to start from the the classical period; the literature of Ancient Greece and Rome , but will be sticking with Ancient Greek for today (Listening to Giants by Jeff Scneeweis as I do this .Do check it out ) . Ancient Greek literature is one that existed from  the time of Homer to the rise of the Byzantine empire or Eastern Roman Empire  and Homer is regarded as the most popular representative of this period. Wikipedia here says that fictional literature was written in verse, while scientific literature was in prose.Within the poetry we could separate three super-genres: epic, lyric and drama.

Greek literature is divided into different periods as well-three to be precise:Archaic (to the end of the 6th century bc); Classical (5th and 4th centuries bc); and Hellenistic and Greco-Roman (3rd century bc onward).

The subject of the Archaic period was mostly myth , they were not very serious in nature and the concept could be changed as much as the poet wanted to express new ideas.Homer falls into this period with the retelling of the Iliad and the Odyssey which happened before 700BC and the poems of Hesiod; the first didactic poet (Didactic poetry is poetry that instructs, either in terms of morals or by providing knowledge of philosophy, religion, arts, science, or skills.)

Other writers include : Theognis, Solon, Archilochus, Sappho, Anacreon.

Tragedy and Comedy had their origins in Greece.“Tragic” choruses are said to have existed in Dorian Greece around 600 bc.Both were connected with the worship of Dionysus, the god of fruitfulness and of wine and ecstasy. Comedy was divided into old comedy , Middle Comedy and New Comedy. The best-known writer of Greek New Comedy is Menander.

Classical period, 5th and 4th centuries bc-Important names are : Aeschylus who could be called father of tragedy , Sophocles and Euripides as well as  Aristophanes ,  also known as the greatest of the comedic poets . Definitely not to be forgotten are the works of Plato and Aristotle considered to be the most important of all the products of Greek culture in the intellectual history of the West. Rhetoric and Oratory acts flourished in this period.Among the most celebrated orators were Antiphon , Andocides, Lysias, Isocrates, Isaeus, Lycurgus, Aeschines, and, considered the greatest of all, Demosthenes.

Hellenistic and Greco-Roman (3rd century bc onward)-This period lasted to the first century BC, with Alexander the Great ruling .Revisions of classical Greek literature occured. Important names :Callimachus, the bucolics of Theocritus, and Apollonius Rhodius . Religious writings in this period as well as the formation of  new genres , such as bucolic poetry (the free dictionary :Of or relating to shepherds or herders.)

 

Talk that talk

Yellow! — and I mean hello. I am tired!!! 😦  🙂 .  When I am tired , I have special need for the Holy spirit  because it is in moments like these that my philosophical mode comes to life. ( a.k.a is this life? Lol) Thoughts are flooding through my mind and questions like ‘ Why do we get tired?’ . Em , yes, why? To rest. I gerrit, trust me I do. Whether we eat or drink…do all to the glory of God. Whether we get tired, have an attitude that will bring God glory. So..why do we get tired? 🙂 let’s skip that . Thing is when I am tired , stuff tends to spill out. I guess this goes for everyone( here comes cliche al naturale) * have no idea if this is French or what? Or what? What is or what? Haha. This is what I am talking about.

I am tired. That is the point I am trying to make . I thought to myself. ‘ Liz, what great activity do very tired people engage in when they have a lovely fever to help them?’  I answered ‘ girl, you may pluck your eyebrows and blow dry your hair’. Brethren, I kid you not. In my tired state , I managed to do that and I feel good. It kinda feels like those scenes — those final wishes scenes, where so and so does something to make them happy. Anyway, I did that, tired as I was, still am and hey I realized that I can actually blow dry my hair after months even when I am on the verge of fainting. And did I tell you I have an exam to prepare for tomorrow? Haha..it is well, as they say. Who exam epp? Lol( can someone autocorrect my brain ?)

By and by( tell me why I said this) , since tiredness makes me confess. I just realized( lie, lie, lie) , that ( heck) , I swear a lot. Internally. I know , I know, you’d never find me swearing in public or in private with anyone except myself, and I am an activist against even the tiniest swearing because I think it’s bad. Its not GOD honoring( John Piper wrote about this) , but I swear a lot for my liking. So just in case anyone was thinking about the saints marching on and me not amongst the number of ex convicts( have no idea what I’m saying here), truth still stands that God knows when I am irritated, a bit frustrated, I think swear words and say stuff like ‘ for..get’ when I am trying to pretend I wasn’t saying the very familiar ‘ f word’ . But God knows, right? Nothing to hide.

So! I have decided to do something new on this blog( taking things to new and greater heights? Trying to help myself here brethren  😉  because literature is here to stay and literature is a huge part of my life on and off( in life and in school; till death do us part? ) I only realized last week that I actually study literature at school. Like it is a big deal in my linguistic course. ( how i had no idea until recently is what I have no idea about( how do people not have ideas about what they do not have any ideas about?) hmmm…
As I was saying, I will be delving into literature like a crazy pessin till the literature fumes spread and call the UFOs back( it was carbonated water I drank, I Promise)

I guess that’s all. I once had a boyfriend who used to ask me if what I write is going to help a soul reading. Boyfriend’s gone, but I realize now that honesty is the best policy. Be your self! Boyfriends come and go, but you and God remain working on you to make you who you should be. I have enough secrets already to pretend I am perfect holding things together( like you know, have my act together) . So God bless you as you share in my human(n)ess. Being uptight is not in my to do list no more. Tenk yhu.

Because I want to remember today …

 You know how it is when you wake up and have an epiphany moment and a temperature running? (lol?)Actually , I think epiphany is too much of a strong word but that is the word that came to mind as I thought about nothing particularly related to it . The thing is :I am happy . I feel happy for some reason , trust me it is not related to this fever that is blazing (hmm..I felt like using the word blazing) , and this is not some delirious talk from the fever . I know my happiness is grounded , well grounded in the fact that the dark clouds are lifting gradually . I can feel the streak of beautiful and hopeful light through the clouds . I know God is in control of my life and days and moments and He is doing something beautiful in my life . That is why I was pushed to write to mark this day . It is a beautiful day  or evening really. God loves me and He is not asleep and I am sharing that knowledge .

and this song with instrumentals that make me want to dissolve into it …

Diary of a mad man by Nicholai Gogol( my review)

The diary of a mad man by Nicholai Gogol from the first line makes one clasp his hands in readiness to hear a secret. It tells the story of a dissatisfied man whose best skill in his Government office seems to be restricted to pen mending. He finds his superiors behavior distasteful and convinces himself that he could have afforded to send in his resignation but for the official propriety of being addressed as a ‘ Sir’.

On his way home one day, he overhears a conversation between two dogs. He appears to be astonished at first, but loses his astonishment in a short while and this in a way makes one feel that such things do indeed happen. He follows the dogs to know who owns them and this begins his obsession with the daughter of  Sverkoff.

Early in this book, it is easy to see that our man suspects everyone of conspiring against him. Nicholai Gogol’s book has typical Russian, vicious and humorous comparisons. If you like a little Russian ‘ madness’ , you’d find descriptions like “
May the devil take him! Because his own face has a certain resemblance to a medicine-bottle, because he has a curly bush of hair on his head, and sometimes combs it upwards, and sometimes plasters it down in all kinds of queer ways, he thinks that he can do everything” to your liking.

A personal favorite is :I only need to order a fashionable coat and wear a tie like yours,
and you would be quite eclipsed

By what he refers to as a ‘ heavenly inspiration’ , he decides  to speak to the dog Meggie but she refuses to answer his queries— just like every smart dog should do in such a situation ;). He proceeds however to seek correspondence between the two dogs at Sverkoff’s house. He gets to the task in a matter of fact way like a true detective and manages to get what he believes to be it.

The letters in his opinion show intelligence, as far as it relates to his need for who the daughter of Sverkoff is romantically involved in and canine nature when it speaks of the mundane things related to a dog’s daily life. He tears this letters in pieces but again one wonders what he really tore here.

His distress over news of a planned wedding and marriage of Sverkoff’s daughter and a Chamberlain makes him dabble into the question of his existence and it’s meaning :
Why am I only a titular councillor?
Perhaps I am really a count or a general, and only appear to be a titular councillor. Perhaps I don’t even know who and what I am.
How many cases there are in history of a simple gentleman, or even a burgher or peasant, suddenly turning out to be a great lord or baron.

All these however give way for the contemplation of a more important problem; the lack  of a King on the Spanish throne.
“How can the throne be vacant? It is said that it will be occupied by a woman. A woman cannot sit on a throne. That is impossible. Only a king can sit on a throne.”
( simple logic here).
He says further :
These events, to tell the truth, have so shaken and shattered me, that I could really do nothing all day. Mawra told me that I was very absent-minded at table. In fact, in my absent-mindedness I threw two plates on the ground so that they broke in pieces.

There is a Russian saying that a broken plate brings you good luck and our man discovers that he is indeed the king of Spain. Years fast forward on their own and he even loses count at some point as he waits for the Spanish government to search for their missing King . Our man arrives in ‘Spain’ where he is ‘ treated’  by the ‘ grand inquisitors’ in interesting ways. He of course feels that he is undergoing  controlled torture to proof his right to the throne. It is interesting to note how the month of January comes after the month of February in the same year.

Gogol has a recurring theme of the nose running( pun, pun, pun de replay? Really not intended 🙂 ) through his works so it is not strange that our man who has by now suffered many tortures finds time to be bothered by a wart on the nose of the Bey of Algiers.

Three little boys

Healthy,young
Maybe a future
Maybe not

Three little boys
Little bodies
Oblivious to the future

Passers by
Everyone in a hurry
Are those rain drops?

A splash
Another from the mouth
Spit and rain look alike
Until you look up
And see three little boys
“Our mother is a beggar”
Oh look! We spat on you

Inspired by the three little boys spitting on people today…
I hope you grow up to become great.

Random musings



The battery on my tab is running down low, I am hungry  and my head is spinning but all I want to do is write right now on this train which brings us the question of how the world picks it’s days to snort at you. Haba! As in I really want to write today and a tab that has never gotten low by this time decides to?  really?



I want to talk about boys! Erm men! Male people? So what is it about these creatures ( did I really just write that?) apart from the missing thorax and antennas on their heads? They exist and are here to stay. Which brings us to sci- fiction or not( haha, really I am playing here. I don’t know what sci-fi is ).



As a female whose female friends( don’t say ‘ female ‘ twice. It reads strange) when compared to male friends is close to non existent, I think that gives me a badge of experience to talk about male ‘ people’ ( I prefer guys to girls any day as friends, so don’t take the people personally. Yikes?)



Getting straight to the point. I’ve gotten a huge dose of statements that revolve around admirers( lol) , playing the down trodden card. The type that tries to make you feel guilty for not responding the way they would want. Brethren( roll your eyes if you wish) , I know I might sound frivolous and like I am playing on the ‘ I am still young and can do shakara for people until old age hits me and then I will stop being choosy'( this is ish  by the way), but I still have to say that recently I find myself agreeing with people who come round and talk down on themselves. You cannot come and tell a  young lady that you are sure she has better things to do or that you know you’re not that important and that there are better people she must be meeting and bla bla( yea, you can actually say that, but don’t do it is what I mean).



First of all, that shows lack of confidence. Second of all, when she gets irritated by your frequent repetitions, she will agree with you. Yep, she would end up agreeing that maybe, just maybe you are not that great afteral, and yea, she probably, just probably has better people to spend her time with. What were you expecting? For her to jump and say ah noo, don’t feel that way? You are my favorite person? ( we are brodahs and sistahs in the lord so I shouldn’t be so harsh, but let’s be realistic) . A girl doesn’t want to have to convince a man of his worth and importance if he is chasing her. Or maybe I should speak for myself. If you are important to her, she will show you. If you fall to using blackmail to make her confess some nonsense for you, you should goan sleep( sorry, couldn’t help this, I dey vex small). Stop using the pity card. You deserve better. She deserves better. Don’t push your way into a girl’s life if you feel you’re not good enough for her. Settle your self worth issues first before chasing a girl. A strong girl wants a strong man( the world can be cruel yea) but this is life.



Battery really low. Dassol .

My review of ‘ No longer at Ease’

No longer at ease is a book that tells the story of  Obi Okonkwo, a young Nigerian who returns from England to find his place in the Nigeria of his idyllic poems. He soon gives up his notions of a Nigeria that is made of jocund birds and flimsy butterflies with the tender glow of a fading sun for one more realistic—one like putrid flesh in a spoon.

In a society that is greatly impressed by everything showy, his simplicity in dressing and the use of “is” and “was” instead of grand and stupefying words is a great let down considering the fact that he studied English; the language of those who live in the land of the seven spirits.

After getting a job , he learns quickly that a man who has been made to occupy a high position through the collective efforts of a community has need to be kept in place and sustained by the efforts of these same persons. He soon has lots of bills and loans to pay off, family obligations and expectations from the community . He finds it difficult to keep up with all these and coupled with his temper and pride which prevents him from accepting a longer time limit for repayment of what he owes the Umuofia progressive union for sending him abroad, it becomes close to impossible.

His relationship with his father who is a thorough Christian and mother whose place in his heart has been sealed by the memory of him seeing her with blood dripping from her hand as she washed his clothes at the stream without suspicions of a sharp razor blade in the pockets of his clothes becomes conflicted when he mentions that he wants to marry the girl Clara Okeke, an “Osu”— an outcast whose situation can be compared to a leper. Obi proposes the absolution of such traditional ideas, pleading on the foundation of his father’s Christianity; a religion he no longer practices , but he is unsuccessful at making his parents bend to his will.

What is left of the sentiments of Colonial masters can be found in the depiction of Mr. Green. Here is a man slaving for a country he speaks of with disdain and threatening to leave any day it gains it’s independence. He is depicted to feeling slanted and cheated out of the Africa of his imagination, the type that requires pity and the white savior.

“But when he arrived, Africa played him false. Where was his beloved bush full of human sacrifice? There was St. George horsed and caparisoned, but where was the dragon? In 1900 Mr. Green might have ranked among the great missionaries; in 1935 he would have made do with slapping headmasters in the presence of their pupils; but in 1957 he could only curse and swear.

Feeling the burden of responsibility as a pioneer for a future generation, he decides to not be part of a corrupt society. This he practices first in a bus on his way to his hometown Umuofia, where his obvious presence leads to the driver of the lorry having to pay double instead of the normal bribe. He soon sees how rigid the system is and how difficult the task really looks.

With time and with a failed relationship, Obi begins to soften just like the broken system he finds himself in. He accepts some “ gifts” , which enable him handle his financial burden, but this leaves him with a bad feeling. His worst scenario does come to play when he is caught accepting a bribe.

Chinua Achebe’s ‘No longer at Ease’ shows well how much value is placed on not deserting one’s blood. When a member of the Umuofia Association misbehaves, he is rebuked, but helped all the same. The good that comes to one person is seen as collective good and shame can be felt too as a group, that is why Obi’s crime and arrest is seen as a huge loss for the community.

I believe this story is a kind of tragedy and just as Obi says:

Happy ending? Are you sure it’s The Heart of the Matter you’re thinking about? The European police officer commits suicide. ”Perhaps happy ending is too strong, but there is no other way I can put it. The police officer is torn between his love of a woman and his love of God, and he commits suicide. It’s much too simple. Tragedy isn’t like that at all. I remember an old man in my village, a Christian convert, who suffered one calamity after another. He said life was like a bowl of wormwood which one sips a little at a time world without end. He understood the nature of tragedy. ”You think that suicide ruins a tragedy,” said the Chairman.“Yes. Real tragedy is never resolved. It goes on hopelessly forever. Conventional tragedy is too easy. The hero dies and we feel a purging of the emotions. A real tragedy takes place in a corner, in an untidy spot, to quote W. H. Auden. The rest of the world is unaware of it. Like that man in A Handful of Dust who reads Dickens to Mr. Todd. There is no release for him. When the story ends he is still reading. There is no purging of the emotions for us.



Truly, this story ends with the reader attempting to conclude, but with all that has happened, it is not easy to see a way out of this situation.

For Your voice has stilled the savagest of storms

       I have been feeling anxious. Anxiety-that famous soul biter that comes like frost to cause deep soul weariness and covers your head like an old smelly sack. Thoughts about the fragility of my life were trying to overwhelm me . Human life when thought of with human wisdom and viewed with human eyes can almost be seen as dangling on less than a thread. And brethren, if your life is hanging on a fraying thread , you will go blue with horror and look for something to clutch at . Who can help the anxious heart? Who can calm a mind that feels like broken glass scattered all over the place ? I realize how much can go wrong in my life in the next second , how little security I have in anything to sustain me . I look at my plans for the next week, the next month , next five years and I wonder at how much I am hoping on certain things to remain for them to turn out right. What if someone dies? What if there is a delay ? (shrieks!) What will I do ? And the anxiety piles up like marching ants trying to suffocate me .

       Brethren… 🙂 in my distress , I see clearer that there is little man can do to give my mind peace . It is in moments like this that you long to sit quietly and not speak and yet have someone read your mind and know all your worries . This is a time to be known by the one who made you and to know who He really is .Even friends with good intentions have a way of feeding your worries and so I sighed  and went to pray and remind myself of who God is with these lyrics :

For all the times I get tired of explaining myself and my life to people….

My Father, He is the one who sustains all things
He is the source, the Creator of everything

Who’s thoughts toward me outnumber the sand?
Who has given Him wisdom?
Who has made Him understand?
He sees all things, He knows all things
He sees all things, He knows all things

Who Is Like Our God – Rivers & Robots

 

 

For when I forget that this life is not all there is..

Wake up, we’re only at the start of it
We’re only at the edge of the ocean
And there’s eternity to go

RIVERS & ROBOTS – Voice That Stills The Raging Seas

……For Your voice has stilled the savagest of storms

For when I wonder if God will come through and when I remember my  mother and the promises of lost love:

Will you let go? (I’ll trust you, Lord)
Will you stand on My word? (I’ll trust you, Lord)
Against all odds will you believe what I have said? (I’ll trust You, Lord)
What seems impossible … (I’ll trust You, Lord)
Will you believe? (I’ll trust You, Lord)
Every promise that I made will you receive? (Yes, I will trust You, Lord)

I know how bad it hurt you when that loved one’s life came to an end
And when they had to leave you, you said you’d never love again
But will you trust that I can help you and I’ll never turn away?
Will you trust Me, child, no matter, come what may?

What if it hurts? (I’ll trust You, Lord)
What if you cry? (I’ll trust You, Lord)
What if it doesn’t work out the first time that you try? (I’ll trust You, Lord)
What if you call My name … (I’ll trust You, lord)
And you don’t feel Me near? (I’ll trust You, Lord)
Will you still believe in Me or will you fear? Oh, my child?
(Yes, I will trust, You Lord)