Friday, August 29, 2008

Use Your Allusion: In The Words of Homer...

When I went to Mexico in July, I stopped by the bookstore at the airport to find something to read. If given the option, I will almost always pick an older book that is recognized as a classic. (1) They're not going to disappoint in terms of quality and (2) They're dirt cheap compared to new releases.

This trip I decided to read through Homer's Odyssey. I didn't finish it, but I got about 60 pages into it. I'm the type of person who always reads introductions and extra notes in the backs of books before I read the books themselves. I found some things in Homer's writing that I really liked in terms of his flowery language. Below is a list of some of Homer's expressions that are used to express simple ideas. They are full of references to Greek deities and cultural ideas. I'll not explain them all in this post. I found these very amusing.

Try whipping some of these out next time you're at home:
  • "The wooden guardian of our privacy, quick on its axel turn." = "Shut the door"

  • "Bring forth some remnant of Promethean theft, quick to expand the inclement air congealed by Boreas' rude breath." = "Light the fire"

  • "Apply thine engine to the spongy door, set Bacchus free from his glassy prison." = "Uncork the bottle"

  • "And strip white Ceres of her nut-brown coat." = "Take the crust off of the bread"
As a child, I refused to eat bread crust. I really wish I had known #4 back then so I could order my mother around. "Mommy, would you please strip white Ceres of her nut-brown coat?" :-)

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