Posts Tagged ‘Penelopiad’

Stitching back and forth

Monday, 6 December 2010

31. The Penelopeiad by Margaret Atwood
Cover image of The Penelopiad
It has been awhile since this one. It must have been back in the summer, when my DH started blogging about the Odyssey. I told him about this book, and then decided to reread it myself (it’s fairly short). Admittedly, I don’t think I’ve read the Odyssey properly myself (I have read the Iliad in full translation), but I have a broad enough education to know the basic story, and have learned a lot by talking it over with my DH as he blogs about it. (I’ve been reading his commentary as well, of course!)

I read and discussed this book back in 2008 and part of what interests me, as always, is how the context of other things I’m reading, doing, and thinking about affects my perceptions of a current book. Unfortunately I’ve forgotten some of what I meant to say about it this time, but I was much more focussed on Homeric literature this time, and how Atwood fit in with the tradition or not. Perhaps because of that, I noticed the modernness much more this time. Homer it’s not, but it’s not really trying to be, either. I still enjoy it, a lot.

Going around in circles

Thursday, 29 May 2008

I took my Gardening Bag and its strap-in-progress and spool to the knitting etc group tonight, which was fun. I overlapped briefly (I was late) with someone crocheting granny squares, and the others were knitting socks, so we were all working around and around, and mostly on tubes!

I went straight to a great shiur afterwards, and did a few more rows before it began, and then later on during it, when my general level of fatigue was inclining me to drop off unless I had some kind of physical movement going on. I made sure to be mostly looking up at the lecturer, and obviously paying attention as I worked my spool! Now I just have to work on not being angry and frustrated (mostly with myself), as that’s what the shiur was on.

138. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

This is one of those Atwood books I really enjoyed, for its comedy, cynicism, cultural and literary references, and general silliness, pointedly based on the silliness in the Odyssey and Iliad. Penelope is a great narrator, knowing about the events of her era but completely oblivious to the real feelings of those beneath her. It’s not that she doesn’t care about her maids, say, but she just doesn’t believe their emotions outweigh her needs.

139. The Story of Slavery by Sarah Courtauld

And this book gives some background as to how a Penelope might come to devalue the sentiments of a maid or other slave, no matter their normal interactions. It does focus later on 18th and 19th century slavery in America, but has brief chapters earlier on about how widespread the variants of the practice were, throughout time and place.

140. Archie’s War: My Scrapbook of the First World War by Marcia Williams

While not an original, authentic, scrapbook of a young and adolescent boy in WWI London, it certainly seems like it could have been. There is a lot of information about the time and attitudes of that time in a believable story. The illustrations are very good.