Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ovid in Our Day

To say Catherine and I are enjoying Ovid is an understatement. I don't think I've ever read anything aloud as well as Metamorphoses and that's due to the fact that I don't think I've ever enjoyed reading anything aloud so much. Catherine is constantly interrupting with giggles or with connections to past Greek tales or Bible stories or even pop culture. She's also decided Metamophoses is almost as good as Harry Potter. High Praise indeed.

Last night we ended with the story of Echo and Narcissus and it was one of my favourite parts so far. The way Ovid built the story was marvelous. First the tale of Echo and then the framing of the story of Narcissus as the boy falling in love (real, passionate, sorrowful love - not simply self-absorption) with an echo of himself. The whole tale was a play on the idea of echoes. And Rolfe Humphries' language is marvelous. I was often stopping to reread a portion because I found something so thrilling or poignant that I had to hear it again.

I have to admit though, I was beginning to wonder how more conservative Christian parents would handle Ovid. I know he's required reading for many classical homeschoolers but he's so darn engaged with the sexual lives of those in the story and nothing is shied away from. Not Jove lusting after every pretty thing he sees, not Juno lusting after her brother/husband, not all the girls and boys lusting after Narcissus. Not that anything is vulgar but geez, this is passionate, earthy stuff that taps into exactly what lust feels like. I can see a lot of parents being downright uncomfortable with Metamorphoses.

Today we'll be taking some cues from Ovid and Catherine will be doing some cursive copywork:

...The South-wind came out streaming with dripping wings, and pitch-black darkness veiling his terrible countenance. His beard is heavy with rain-cloud, and his hoary locks a torrent, mists are his chaplet, and his wings and garments run with the rain.

After she's finished she'll read the excerpt to Harry and hopefully he'll help her come up with an image to draw that shows what the passage describes. If I want to dig into the passage more then we'll probably discuss the use of commas, the grammar and go through all the words to make sure she understands the meanings. I'm also thinking she may rewrite the passage somehow...By the end of it we'll probably have something similar to what we did with the LOTR ring poem last summer. Hopefully copying, deconstructing and playing with Ovid will be something we continue.

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