Homer’s “Odyssey” and What It Means to Be Human

By |2020-05-22T00:16:16-05:00April 4th, 2020|Categories: Books, Gleaves Whitney, Great Books, Greek Epic Poetry, Homer, Imagination, Literature, Odyssey, W. Winston Elliott III|

As we are forced into isolation and confronted by our mortality in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we begin to ask ourselves an important question: What does it mean to be human? Gleaves Whitney, Director of Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, and Winston Elliott III, The Imaginative Conservative’s Publisher and [...]

Heroes of Love

By |2020-01-15T15:10:03-06:00January 15th, 2020|Categories: Great Books, Greek Epic Poetry, Heroism, Homer, Iliad, Imagination, Literature, Love, Odyssey, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors|

One of the most defining aspects of our humanity is love. We are creatures of affectivity made in love for love. It is the recognition of this fact that makes Homer so eternal: his heroes are heroes of love. In a cosmos governed by lust, strife, and war, the loving deeds of our Homeric heroes stand [...]

Warfare in Epic Poetry

By |2019-08-11T15:38:58-05:00August 11th, 2019|Categories: Death, Great Books, Homer, Iliad, Odyssey, Timeless Essays, War|

A culture that fails to represent, or that misrepresents its wars in all their glory, gravity, and tragedy, is a weaker polity. Epic poetry, with its stark recording of the facts and feelings of war, can give cultures and communities access to the reality of warfare and inscribe its memory on the collective consciousness [...]

Homer’s “Iliad” and the Shield of Love and Strife

By |2019-08-08T09:43:26-05:00August 8th, 2019|Categories: Great Books, Greek Epic Poetry, Homer, Iliad, Literature, Love, Odyssey, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors, War|

The human characters of Homer’s grand epic, the “Iliad,” embody what Homer is driving home at with his poem: the tension between strife and love. Achilles transforms from a rage-filled and strife-filled killer to a forgiving lover touched by the very power of love. Homer’s Iliad is the defining epic of Western literature. Its [...]

Telling Lies

By |2019-06-21T12:34:08-05:00June 17th, 2019|Categories: Aristotle, E.B., Eva Brann, Friedrich Nietzsche, Homer, Iliad, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Odyssey, Plato, St. John's College|

We should learn to cultivate the unwillingness to tolerate the unwitting, untold lie in the soul, and the wit and wisdom to transmute the unavoidable lying of any utterance into the telling lies that reveal truth… The first lecture of the school year is, by an old tradition, dedicated to the freshmen among us. Whether [...]

The Wonders of the “Odyssey”

By |2019-09-19T13:10:10-05:00April 22nd, 2019|Categories: Classics, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, Homer, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Odyssey, St. John's College|

The “Odyssey” is a wondrous poem. Joe Sachs’ Afterword to his translation is a thought-inducing meditation on wonder, on Homer’s imaginatively and artfully conceived wonders and on Homer’s people, who are—above all, Odysseus—open to wondering and to its ensuing wisdom… the Odyssey by Homer, translated by Joe Sachs (Paul Dry Books: Philadelphia 2014) Joe Sachs’ [...]

Odysseus: Patron Hero of the Liberal Arts

By |2019-02-25T14:28:17-06:00February 4th, 2019|Categories: Audio/Video, Classics, E.B., Education, Eva Brann, Great Books, Homer, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, Odyssey, St. John's College|

Odysseus has the art we need. I think he came by it through a rare combination of acutely honed cleverness and deep-souled imagination; we can acquire it by education. This art, the art of discovering significance, is the art of interpretation... I am to write about my hero Odysseus and to connect him to Liberal [...]

Liberal Education and the “Much-Enduring” Odysseus

By |2019-01-25T08:46:09-06:00January 19th, 2019|Categories: Great Books, Homer, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, Literature, Odyssey, St. John's College, Wisdom|

The epithet “much-enduring” is often associated with moments when we see the interplay between Odysseus’ self-knowledge and his ability to use his experience to judge and adapt himself to circumstances; between his enduring self and purpose, and the many-ness of his schemes and courses of action... Editor’s Note: This essay is part of a series [...]

Love, Ancient and Modern

By |2018-12-08T21:36:00-06:00December 8th, 2018|Categories: Aeneid, Dante, Family, Love, Marriage, Odyssey|

“Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy.” The opening words to Homer’s Odyssey are among the most famous and recognizable in Western literature. That beginning stanza captures so much of the human condition and [...]

Homer’s Epic of the Family

By |2018-10-17T10:47:08-05:00October 16th, 2018|Categories: Books, Great Books, Homer, Iliad, Odyssey, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors, Virtue, Wisdom|

This is the ultimate message of Homer’s two epics: Where family is found, life is found; where family is found, true beauty is found; where family is found, piety is found; where family is dissolved, only death and destruction follows... The Trojan War, for our Homeric heroes, begins with marital infidelity and succumbing to temptation, [...]