About two-and-one-half years ago when I submitted my “Concept Paper” outlining my dissertation, I anticipated that the second chapter would introduce the goddess Athene, starting with her Minoan-Mycenaean origins and leading up her guidance and support of the (male) hero in Greek myth. Just over a year after that, I promised the chair of my dissertation committee that chapter on February 1, 2009.
Every time I started to write it, however, I didn’t seem ready. Some perhaps might say it was laziness. And perhaps it was.
Only when I saw the parallels between Sonny Corleone and Achilles, whose rage at the outset of the Iliad is about to ignite a civil war in the Achaean camp, did I realize that I couldn’t introduce the deity who restrains him until showing first the nature of his rage. Achilles was not alone–in Greek myth or human society. Other men have close to letting their anger getting the best of them before mastering it, while some never do.
In short, I had to show why the owl-eyed goddess was necessary and to introduce the a problem she addresses in Greek myth (and hence culture) and so show her meaning to that society–and, by extension, to our own. So, I added in a second chapter, an extended exegesis of the Bronze Age barroom brawl which begins the oldest of Greek epics. A female friend dubbed it my “testosterone chapter.” I submitted that two weeks ago.
And now, I’m about to submit the chapter I was supposed to have completed one year and 17 days ago. It came together in a matter of days (I took four days off in the two-week period). I had done most of the research (and all that I had used in the first week of writing) well before the initial “deadline.” It came together not then when the research was complete, but after that new chapter was.
There is something in this, though I am, at this moment, perhaps not qualified competent to express it in a succinct catch phrase. Perhaps, one of you can. I struggled over something for nearly a year, only to find it falling into place in little over a week.
All that said, I’m pretty drained from all this writing and may take the whole weekend off from blogging. I’ll see how I feel. While Bruce blogs up at storm from CPAC on Friday, I’ll be at the Getty Library where I do my research. And I won’t be bringing my laptop.