Saturday, 27 September 2008

Greek myth

At the start of the year I came into posession of eight boxes filled with books, some of which I have already mentioned. One of those books is a copy of Robert Graves' The Greek Myths. Complete Edition, first published in 1955 but revised in 1960 (this edition 1992).

Graves, with whom I was mostly familiar because of the Claudius-novels (remember Derek Jacobi in the TV series I, Claudius?) was also, perhaps in his heart primarily, a poet. And wouldn't you know it> Life dealt me one of those little coincidences again, the kind that make you wonder if there is any coincidence at all, if even for a short while.

In this case, just as I started reading Graves' re-telling of the Greek myths, I grabbed another book from one of the boxes, John Irving's Until I Find You. The main character, Jack, is a movie star who takes a part in a film about a wheelchair-bound male model, Harry Mocco:

The voice-over, which is Harry Mocco's, is all love poetry. Everything from the grimmest of the grim, Thomas Hardy, to Philip Larkin; everything from George Wither to Robert Graves. (There was too much Graves, in Jack's opinion.)

When Harry Mocco has wheelchair accidents in The Love Poet, the voice-over is heavy on Robert Graves. (A little of Graves goes a long way. "Love is a universal migraine," for example.)


Why have such scores of lovely, gifted girls
Married impossible men?
Simple self-sacrifice may be ruled out
And missionary endeavour, nine times out of ten.

I remembered I had written about this when I grabbed The Greek Myths to check up on the story of Ganymede. But that's another story.

Anyway, I thought that, since I spent so much time on the train summarising some of these myths from his book, I might share them with you.

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