Monday, March 21, 2011

A Love of the Joys of Life

David Denby's discussion of Homer in Great Books includes a shout-out to War and Peace:

The Homeric tenderness, held in check in the Iliad, bursts out fully in the Odyssey, and the reader enters the paradise of the patriarchal vision of life, in which young men long to assume the responsibilities of their fathers, and wives are faithful to the long-gone husbands, who, though unfaithful themselves, nevertheless long to return; the paradise in which hospitality is rendered to guests, slaves warm the beds of heroes, and servants remain loyal to masters. Everything abundant and splendid, fragrant and comfortable—in Western literature, one may have to jump all the way to Tolstoy’s
War and Peace to experience again so strong a love of the material and physical joys of life.

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