Let’s start in the middle (of things)

In the beginning was the word. In the middle was the story. Many ancient epic poems are known to begin in the middle of things, in medias res. Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil’s Aeneid all begin ‘into the thickst’ (Thomas Drant), at a point in the narrative where things had already moved significantly from the beginning.Continue reading “Let’s start in the middle (of things)”

Dante, Virgil, Minos and the hall of mirrors

My developing interest in Dante led a few weeks ago to a reflection on his narrative powers of expression and the way he breaks the canons of storytelling in order to bring out new possibilities and new narrative angles of attack. This is noticeable in the way he programs (or better yet engineers) his own projection in theContinue reading “Dante, Virgil, Minos and the hall of mirrors”

“If on a winter’s night” … an author and a reader…

Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler (‘Se una note d’inverno un viaggiatore’) is a brilliant postmodern novel dealing with the implications of our age-long narrative watertight compartments of author, narrator, character, narrative, stability, identity, persistence, etc – and playing with the fire of their inversion and dissolution. It is a novel aboutContinue reading ““If on a winter’s night” … an author and a reader…”

Moral relativism in the medieval church: St Nicholas

Today’s the feast of St. Nicholas, the 4th-century bishop of Myra (that’s in present-day Turkey). I thought it suitable to share with you a story from the life of the saint whose name I bear (as my middle name).  There were many lives of St. Nicholas written in the Middle Ages, but Jacobus de Voragine’sContinue reading “Moral relativism in the medieval church: St Nicholas”