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Comments

moominpapa

Very cool! This is indeed what great literature is for, and why it endures. I love your silly putty analogy!

Why the Dido romance?
When reading The Aeneid in college I often stepped out of the story to consider Vergil's reasons for writing the poem. Among them was to create a mythic/poetic/spiritual origin for Rome and much of its history. I think it was a dizzyingly brilliant move to explain the origins of the Rome/Carthage rivalry with this love tragedy between Aeneas and Dido. It lifts the conflict above simple territorial or trade competition and also puts the heat of the conflict beyond question. Just as Shakespeare will later use a shattered romance to smother generations of vendetta in Romeo and Juliet, Vergil started wars with a shattered romance. Love is the prime mover - both the immovable object and the irresistable force.
So the gods serve the poet's need, love sent by his mom as one of the original dei ex machina.

Connie

Interesting comments on Campbell's assertions about the hero's journey. I just finished a SpringBoard lesson (English curriculum from College Board) on this with my 8th graders, which pumped Campbell as the authority of all time on myths. If nothing else, his framework for the hero's journey gives students a way to analyze literature, but the next time I teach this lesson, it will be with the thought at least one person thinks of Campbell as a "dilattente." Thank you for providing a valid contrast to the "usual."

~connie

DF

MP, Welcome back from your travels and thanks for shaping the playdough with us. I think it's true that Vergil is going for love as the origin of the Rome-Carthage feud, which would make it parallel to the cause of the Trojan War-- Helen, and all. At the same time I find other "jangly" things going on in the poem that make me think Vergil was tweaking his readers through this romance. I think the humanity of the affair is hard to ignore, which makes putting Love with a capital L as the grand and glorious cause a little too Romantic (big r) for me.

Connie, I'm glad you investigated the Joseph Campbell post. I'm swimming upstream, unfortunately. Campbell is well on his way to becoming the Edith Hamilton of our time, because he has made a way in the wilderness for our lesson plans. If all goes true to form, it will be a hundred years before anyone supplants Campbell.

kellincatty

Hey - I'm in Greensboro Monday and Tuesday. e-mail me if you're in the area - I actually have no idea how far Gboro is from Raleigh.

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