Advice for a Greek reading group?

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seanjonesbw
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Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by seanjonesbw » Sat May 25, 2019 8:06 am

There was a failed attempt last year to get an Odyssey reading group going on the Homeric board, but I'd really like to have some company reading Steadman's Odyssey book 6 onwards so I'm going to start one up (if you're interested, I'll put a post up over there next week).

I've never taken part in a reading group in any language, so I thought I'd try and harvest the experiences of those who have before jumping in.

Working from the principle that it's easier to correct someone's errors than anticipate them, here's how I would go about it. Tell me what's wrong with my plan!

1. We work through modest chunks of around 20 lines per week which have, as far as possible, a natural start and end point in the narrative.
2. Each person at the very least reads the text aloud to themselves during the week and reads the chunk in Greek with the help of Steadman's notes and vocab.
3. Each person notes down points of interest - things they enjoyed, difficulties they had with the text, potential ambiguities, issues with the metre. These are used to guide the discussion.
4. A translation into English is much less important than feeling the full meaning is grasped in the Greek, and that this can be used to discuss specific lines or words. I.e. we don't share and compare translations as the starting-off point, but if that's how people want to grapple with the text that's fine too.
5. I turn up every week at the same time having read the passage, and those who have done the same join in. The group keeps moving at the same pace rather than waiting for people to catch up, to minimise the chance of it stalling permanently.
6. Anybody can join whenever they like, dip in and out, do the hokey cokey etc.
7. I start a new thread when we get to a new book.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Sat May 25, 2019 2:09 pm

This sounds like an excellent plan to me. Setting a modest goal for the weekly amount is better by far than trying to do larger amounts, which can be difficult if life outside the reading group gets difficult.

I'd be glad to join in. Currently I'm in a "read through the entire Iliad in Greek" project, but I'd be glad to take some time to do a bit of the Odyssey each week.
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seanjonesbw
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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by seanjonesbw » Sat May 25, 2019 3:31 pm

You would be very welcome, Barry. Sorry for causing trouble over on B-Greek!
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Constantinus Philo
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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by Constantinus Philo » Sat May 25, 2019 3:53 pm

It would take about I don't know how many months to finish, I suggest you increase the number of lines at least to a hundred
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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by seanjonesbw » Sat May 25, 2019 8:05 pm

Constantinus Philo wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 3:53 pm
It would take about I don't know how many months to finish, I suggest you increase the number of lines at least to a hundred
I get where you're coming from - if you increase the number of lines per week then people get more of a feeling of progress and you could finish the whole of the Odyssey together in around 2 years, or in under a year if you increased it to 250 lines per week.

My thinking is this: Yes, it's possible to read and translate more than a hundred lines a week with commentary and vocab - I've done it myself with the Iliad and you do get through the narrative at a fair lick. But here's my problem with this pace - reading for comprehension was the only thing I could achieve between work and having a small child and wanting to get out of the house at the weekend. I didn't have time to read a more detailed commentary, or work on internalising any of the vocab, or think much about the metre or the narrative devices being used. In fact, I didn't much enjoy the text at all because I was just using it as a means to practise translation. I imagine most other people are either in a similar position, or can read Homer at a high enough level that they won't benefit much from a reading group in the first place.

Once you accept that you're not going to read the whole of the Odyssey as part of the reading group, the possibility opens up of having a more satisfying engagement with the text that you do manage to read. Most people will be able to find time to read through 20 lines a week in Steadman's edition. Some people will have the time to read a more detailed commentary like Heubeck & West (there's enough Greek in 20 lines of the Odyssey to fill 3 dense pages in Heubeck). Some people will have time to read a narratological commentary like de Jong. Some people will have time to focus interesting features of the metre, and so on. Everyone will have questions and everyone will have things they thought were interesting enough to share. After about 3 months we will have worked through the whole of Book 6 discussing it in a satisfying level of detail, rather than translating Books 6-10 at a much more superficial level. I personally would get much more out of that.
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Constantinus Philo
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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by Constantinus Philo » Sat May 25, 2019 8:50 pm

Ok whatever, I'm in
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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by seneca2008 » Sat May 25, 2019 11:14 pm

I recently read book 6 and had meant to post some thoughts about it so this would be an opportunity to share what I can recall. A modest target seems like a good idea but can of course be revised once people become more familiar with the repetitions and formulas.

Best not to be prescriptive about how to approach this but just see how it evolves. My experience is that a great of energy goes into “let’s read such and such a text” and then it peters out when faced with actually doing it. Being realistic about what can be achieved is important.

I suggest the first section Should be 23 lines as that takes us to the end of a sentence.

I am not sure how your point 5 works in practice. Does turn up = post something. Why not just open a thread each week and people can contribute during the week and then move on?

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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by seanjonesbw » Sun May 26, 2019 7:26 am

seneca2008 wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 11:14 pm
I am not sure how your point 5 works in practice. Does turn up = post something. Why not just open a thread each week and people can contribute during the week and then move on?
Thanks! All good suggestions, especially starting a new thread each week. Yes - by turn up, what I meant was that I commit to setting up the thread each week and posting my own thoughts to keep the group moving along, regardless of whether anyone else happens to have done the reading that week. Seems like the best way to avoid apathy and group death.
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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by donhamiltontx » Sun May 26, 2019 5:07 pm

seanjonesbw wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 8:05 pm
a more detailed commentary like Heubeck & West
The first volume (of three) of this commentary runs over $30 in Internet stores, and perhaps for some that is too pricey. Much to my surprise, however, my local library has this volume. So if you are on a budget and want to use this source, give your own local municipal or university library a try.
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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by seanjonesbw » Sun May 26, 2019 6:48 pm

donhamiltontx wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 5:07 pm
The first volume (of three) of this commentary runs over $30 in Internet stores, and perhaps for some that is too pricey. Much to my surprise, however, my local library has this volume. So if you are on a budget and want to use this source, give your own local municipal or university library a try.
Good tip - I wish my library was that well stocked! I won't post a link because of textkit's previous copyright issues, but there is also a full copy available on Scribd (free to view but not download unless you have an account).
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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by Sohtnirybal » Sun May 26, 2019 6:54 pm

Well I just recently started to read my first platonic dialogue, sot Menexenus is my real first greek, as you could guess my greek is the one of an neophilus but if this is not a big deal I could joing you gladly, I really want to learn greek, and Homer is one of this author I want to read in greek.

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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by seanjonesbw » Sun May 26, 2019 7:16 pm

Sohtnirybal wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 6:54 pm
if this is not a big deal I could joing you gladly, I really want to learn greek, and Homer is one of this author I want to read in greek.
You would be very welcome. If you look at page x-xi of Steadman's edition, which we'll be working through, there's a good
synopsis of the key differences between Attic and Homeric Greek morphology [direct pdf link] https://geoffreysteadman.files.wordpres ... aug14w.pdf

Coming from Plato, the vocabulary will be mostly unfamiliar at first but Steadman provides the vocabulary you'll need and we'll be progressing in small chunks.
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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by wilberfloss » Sun May 26, 2019 8:13 pm

Janet Watson’s edition of Books VI and VII of the Odyssey has the following natural divisions of the text of Book VI, if you might like to use them as a guide for the group.

Lines 1 – 14: Athene visits the land of the Phaeacians;
Lines 15 – 40: The goddess brings a message in a dream to Nausicaa;
Lines 41 - 47: Athene returns to Athens;
Lines 48 – 70: Nausicaa and her parents;
Lines 71 -98: Nausicaa and her attendants wash the clothes;
Lines 99 – 126: A game of ball wakes Odysseus;
Lines 127 – 147: Odysseus sets out from his hiding place like a lion;
Lines 148 – 185: Odysseus’ supplication to Nausicaa;
Lines 186 – 197: Nausicaa’s reply;
Lines 198 – 216: Nausicaa gives orders to her attendants;
Lines 217 – 237: Odysseus bathes and Nausicaa enhances her beauty;
Lines 238 – 250; Nausicaa’s reaction to Odysseus’ transformation;
Lines 251 – 296: Nausicaa advises Odysseus on how they should approach the city;
\lines 297 – 315: How Odysseus is to find the palace and supplicate Arete:
Lines 316 – End: Odysseus’ prayer to Athene.

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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by Sohtnirybal » Mon May 27, 2019 3:15 am

thanks, what I'm trying ist almost obscene, 'm reading my first dialogue without any help its without following any comment or comentators, of course it would be insane if I do not have someone better than me who makes me understand why and where I did it wrong, so fortunately in class the teacher correct me so I have the chance to clarify and understand better whats going on. Thanks for Steadman´s recomendation, his work is awesome.
seanjonesbw wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 7:16 pm
You would be very welcome. If you look at page x-xi of Steadman's edition, which we'll be working through, there's a good
synopsis of the key differences between Attic and Homeric Greek morphology [direct pdf link] https://geoffreysteadman.files.wordpres ... aug14w.pdf

Coming from Plato, the vocabulary will be mostly unfamiliar at first but Steadman provides the vocabulary you'll need and we'll be progressing in small chunks.

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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by seanjonesbw » Mon May 27, 2019 7:36 am

wilberfloss wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 8:13 pm
Janet Watson’s edition of Books VI and VII of the Odyssey has the following natural divisions of the text of Book VI, if you might like to use them as a guide for the group.
That's extremely handy, thanks!
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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by seanjonesbw » Tue May 28, 2019 11:15 am

For everyone who is interested, my plan is to do an introductory post this Friday (31st) with information about the group and the first reading, then give everyone a week to mull that over before starting the discussion in earnest the following Friday (7th).

I'm working on a list of resources for those who are looking into Homer for the first time or want to explore the text more widely (scholia etc.). I'd appreciate any suggestions people have, especially good recordings of the Odyssey (I couldn't find a complete recording with pitch accents or reconstructed pronunciation). Also, I'm not an expert so please point out anything that is flat out wrong.

Here's the link to my pdf:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/5f32mgpciamtz ... s.pdf?dl=0

edit: updated the link
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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by Sohtnirybal » Thu May 30, 2019 4:26 pm

i would like also add this: http://hypotactic.com/ I think I don´t see it in your resources. Is a page for metric and so on.

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Re: Advice for a Greek reading group?

Post by seanjonesbw » Thu May 30, 2019 6:38 pm

Sohtnirybal wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 4:26 pm
i would like also add this: http://hypotactic.com/ I think I don´t see it in your resources. Is a page for metric and so on.
Brilliant, I see he also has the pitch accent recitation of the Odyssey I was looking for. Thanks!
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