Archive for the ‘Greek Literature’ Category

The Love Song of Daphnis & Chloe by Nigel Humphreys

July 3, 2016

Daphnis-and-Chloe

A review by R J Dent

The Love Song of Daphnis and Chloe

by Nigel Humphreys

Edited by Catherine Edmunds

Published by Circaidy Gregory Press

ISBN: 9781906451882

 

 

Daphnis and Chloe (Greek: Δάφνις καὶ Χλόη, Daphnis kai Chloē) is the only known work of the 2nd century AD Greek novelist, Longus.

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The Love Song of Daphnis & Chloe began when Nigel Humphreys read George Thornley’s 1670 English translation of Longus’ Greek novel, Daphnis and Chloe, written on Lesbos.

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Nigel Humphreys became obsessed with the task of re-interpreting Longus’ pastoral romantic novel into an epic modern poem that would appeal to twenty-first century readers and retain the beauty, charm, romance and humour of the original.

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First and foremost, The Love Song of Daphnis & Chloe is the story of a boy (Daphnis) and a girl (Chloe), each of whom is exposed at birth along with some identifying tokens. A goatherd named Lamon discovers Daphnis, and a shepherd called Dryas finds Chloe.

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Each decides to raise the child he finds as his own. Daphnis and Chloe grow up together, herding the flocks for their foster parents.

And so it was preordained –

decreed by divine intercession –

that they raise them as their own.

And having shared their dreams…

they introduced their children

to their work as herdsmen…

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Inevitably, Daphnis and Chloe fall in love, but being naïve, do not understand what is happening to them.

Yet among them Daphnis

was unable to settle since

he had seen Chloe naked,

honeyed, tender, scented

and more lovely than Venus

in all her sensuousness.

Philetas, a wise old cowherd, explains to them what love is and tells them that the only cure is kissing. They do this.

All they saw was that kisses

had endangered Daphnis

and day-dreaming Chloe

in that mazy month of May.

Eventually, Lycaenion, a woman from the city, educates Daphnis in the skills of love-making.

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And so Lycenia…

finding him primed and greedy,

slipped slickly beneath him

and shepherded his limbs

to where they longed to be.

What followed came naturally…

Throughout the book, Chloe is courted by suitors, two of whom (Dorcon and Lampis) attempt with varying degrees of success to abduct her. She is also carried off by raiders from a nearby city:

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Yet Chloe was with her herd

and fled from the invaders

to the Nymphs’ Cave begging

them to spare her and her kin

in the name of the Goddesses.

And she is only saved by the intervention of the god Pan.

Oh, you most cruel dissolute

of mortals! … restore

Chloe to the Nymphs with all

her flocks. Awake therefore

and send the maiden ashore

with her sheep and goats,

and I will steer her home,

and guide her to her lands.

The story concludes with both Daphnis and Chloe being recognized by their birth parents, after which, the couple get married and happily live out their lives in the country. On their wedding night:

… the stars,

moon and planets hurrahed.

The married pair were squired

to their room in rush light

by pipes and flutes, and Daphnis

lay with Chloe skin against skin.

Cuddling tightly and kissing,

entwining and twisting…

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Nigel Humphreys’ The Love Song of Daphnis & Chloe is a beautifully written modern epic version of an Ancient Greek classic. Humphreys has taken Longus’ prose and given us a delightful poem of incredible warmth, wit and wisdom.

 From the back cover:

Bucolic shenanigans on the Island of Lesbos

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Poet Nigel Humphreys has done something unique and surprising with the ancient text of Daphnis & Chloe, taking a rambling 2nd century prose narrative and transforming it into an epic poem in the oral tradition of Ancient Greece.

Daphnis & Chloe is complemented in this edition by five new Daffyd ap Gwylim translations, which Humphreys has returned to the original cywydd form in order to recapture the colour and humour of the 14th century Welsh troubadour poet.

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THE LOVE SONG OF DAPHNIS & CHLOE

by Nigel Humphreys

Edited by Catherine Edmunds

Published by Circaidy Gregory Press.

ISBN: 9781906451882

Daphnis-and-Chloe

Follow Nigel Humphries:

Website:

http://nigelhumphreyspoet.webs.com/daphnis-and-chloe-2015

Circaidy Gregory Press:

http://www.circaidygregory.co.uk/nigel_humphreys.htm

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Song-Daphnis-Chloe-Dafydd/dp/1906451885

 

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Bookbuster – a great bookshop in Hastings

November 5, 2013

Bookbuster is a wonderful book shop in Hastings that is open 7 days a week.

 

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The proprietor of Bookbuster is Tim Barton, a St. Leonards-based cultural entrepreneur with many years experience in the book trade.

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Tim has opened his cheekily-named bookshop, Bookbuster, in premises formerly occupied by a gone-bust Blockbuster DVD rental store.

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Tim believes in bookshops and what bookshops offer customers: “I don’t think you can beat a physical bookstore, where you are free to browse,” he says.

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Bookbuster is generating a lot of interest among book-lovers. Tim says: “The fact that there has been so much interest so far is fantastic.”

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Although the shelves offer many new titles, the shop has an extensive and eclectic range of books that seem to appeal to all ages and interests.

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With new stock arriving daily, a calendar full of author signings, readings, poetry slams and other literary events, and an ambient soundtrack playing to ensure customers linger longer, Bookbuster is proving to be a valuable business that gives a great deal to the Hastings reading community.

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There is also a significant second-hand book section that – along with a selection with some well-chosen perennial titles – offers collectors the chance to obtain copies of rare editions and signed delights from Iain Sinclair, the late Iain Banks and Tom Sharpe, amongst others.

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BookBuster is an independent bookshop in Queen’s Road, Hastings. There is a huge range of stock. Bookbuster is full of literary treasures and, because of Tim Barton’s depth of knowledge regarding authors and books of every type and genre, the shop is something of a cultural oasis. It is very good news for Hastings and for book-lovers and bibliophiles.

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BookBuster is at 39 Queen’s Road, Hastings. Opening hours: 9.30am-5.30pm Monday to Saturday; 11-5 Sundays.

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There are author readings, author signings, lectures, poetry readings and live music at BookBuster throughout the year.

 

outdoors

BookBuster

39 Queen’s Road

Hastings

TN34 1RL

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BookBuster facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/BlueGreenEarthBooks

 

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

Website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

Blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69

Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments translated by R J Dent

October 7, 2013

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R J Dent’s English translation of the ancient Greek Poems & Fragments of Alcaeus is now available in paperback and e-book formats.

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R J Dent discusses the inspiration behind his translation of Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments:

R J Dent reads ‘The North Wind’ from Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments:

R J Dent reads ‘To be weighed down…’ from Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments:

A promotional book trailer for Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments, translated into modern English by R J Dent:

Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments is available from Circaidy Gregory Press:

http://www.circaidygregory.co.uk/alcaeus.htm

and from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alcaeus-Fragments-R-J-Dent/dp/1906451532/ref=la_B0034Q3RD4_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381150009&sr=1-3

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R J Dent reads from the Poems & Fragments of Alcaeus

October 2, 2013

 

To be weighed down…

 

The North wind…

 

The whole cargo…

 

R J Dent on Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments

 

Book trailer for Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments

 

Alcaeus: Poems & Fragments

Translated into modern English by R J Dent

Published by Circaidy Gregory Press: http://www.circaidygregory.co.uk/alcaeus.htm

 

http://www.rjdent.com

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In R J Dent’s Library – Daphnis and Chloe by Longus

October 2, 2013

 

A look in R J Dent’s library at the influential ancient Greek pastoral novel by Longus – Daphnis and Chloe.

 

 

In R J Dent’s Library – Daphnis and Chloe by Longus

 

Text (c) R J Dent (2013)

Film (c) R J Dent (2013)

 

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John Fowles

June 4, 2010

John Fowles (31 March 1926 – 5 November 2005) was an English novelist, poet and essayist. In 2008, The Times newspaper named John Fowles among their list of ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’.



His first published novel was The Collector (1963).



It is about a lonely young man, Frederick Clegg, who works as a clerk in a city hall, and collects butterflies in his spare time. After winning some money, Clegg kidnaps a girl and keeps her prisoner in his house. Here’s the trailer of the film adaptation:


Fowles’ next book was The Aristos, a non-fiction work, subtitled ‘A Self-Portrait in Ideas’.



The Aristos is Fowles’ attempt to articulate a philosophy of life.


Fowles’ next publication was The Magus (1966). It was the first novel he’d written (but the second novel he published.



The Magus tells the story of Nicholas Urfe, a teacher on a small Greek island. Urfe finds himself embroiled in psychological illusions of a master trickster that become increasingly dark and serious. Fowles has written an article about his experiences in the island of Spetses and their influence on the book, and he has also specifically acknowledged some literary works in his foreword to the revised version of The Magus. These include Le Grand Meaulnes (1913), by Alain-Fournier, for showing a secret hidden world to be explored, and Jefferies’ Bevis (1882), for projecting a very different world. Fowles also refers in the revised edition of the novel to a Miss Havisham, a likely reference to Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations (1861).


Here’s a clip from the movie starring Michael Caine:



Fowles’ next novel was The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969).


It is a period novel inspired by the 1823 novel Ourika, by Claire de Duras, which Fowles translated to English during 1977 (and revised and published in 1994).


Here is the trailer of the film, scripted by Harold Pinter:


Fowles was a great aficionado of Thomas Hardy, and, in particular, likened his heroine, Sarah Woodruff, to Tess Durbeyfield, the protagonist of Hardy’s popular novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891).


In 1973, Fowles published a collection of Poems.



Fowles’ next work of fiction was The Ebony Tower (1974).


 

The Ebony Tower is a collection of five short novels with interlacing themes, built around a medieval myth: The Ebony Tower, Eliduc, Poor Koko, The Enigma and The Cloud. Here’s an extract from The Ebony Tower TV adaptation, starring Laurence Olivier:



After revising and re-issuing The Magus: A Revised Version (1977), Fowles published Daniel Martin in 1977.


Daniel Martin has been taken as a Bildungsroman, following the life of the eponymous protagonist. The novel uses both first and third person voices, whilst employing a variety of literary techniques such as multiple narratives and flashback. The author suggests that the book is concerned with ‘Englishness – what it is like to be English in the late 20th century.’ To many, it is Fowles’ least successful novel.


The Tree (1979) is an autobiographical book by John Fowles.


In it, Fowles discusses the essence of nature and its relation to the creative arts and especially writing.


In 1982, Fowles published Mantissa, his first new full-length novel since 1969’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman.


Mantissa is a razor-sharp comedy; a battle of the sexes fought within a man’s disintegrating mind.


A Maggot (1985) is Fowles’ sixth major novel.


Its title, as the author explains in the prologue, is taken from the archaic sense of the word that means ‘whim’, ‘quirk’, ‘obsession’, or even a snatch of music. Another meaning of the word ‘maggot’ becomes apparent later in the novel, used by a character to describe a white, oblong machine that appears to be a spacecraft. Though the author denies that A Maggot is a historical novel, it does take place during a precise historical time-frame, May 1736 to February 1737, in England. It might be variously classified as historical fiction, mystery, or science fiction. Because of the narrative style and various meta-fictional devices, most critics classify A Maggot as a postmodern novel. It is John Fowles’ last work of fiction.


Wormholes – Essays and Occasional Writings is a book containing writings from four decades by the English author John Fowles.


It was published in 1998. Most of the contents are short, non-fiction pieces that had been written for various purposes since 1963, including forewords to other authors’ books, and pieces written for science journals or other periodicals.


Finally, there are The Journals – Volume 1 (2003), and The Journals – Volume 2 (2006), which chart John Fowles’ early life (Volume 1) and writing career (Volume 2).


Here’s a complete bibliography:


  • (1963) The Collector
  • (1964) The Aristos
  • (1965) The Magus
  • (1969) The French Lieutenant’s Woman
  • (1973) Poems
  • (1974) The Ebony Tower
  • (1974) Shipwreck
  • (1977) The Magus (A Revised Version)
  • (1977) Daniel Martin
  • (1978) Islands
  • (1979) The Tree
  • (1980) The Enigma of Stonehenge
  • (1982) A Short History of Lyme Regis
  • (1982) Mantissa
  • (1985) A Maggot
  • (1985) Land
  • (1990) Lyme Regis Camera
  • (1994) Ourika (by Claire de Duras) Translated by John Fowles
  • (1998) Wormholes – Essays and Occasional Writings
  • (2003) The Journals – Volume 1
  • (2006) The Journals – Volume 2

Here is a short film (by R J Dent) about the works of John Fowles:

If you’re new to John Fowles, it might be worth starting with The Collector, The (revised) Magus, The French Lieutenant’s Woman or Mantissa. That way you get John Fowles at his best.


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