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CLIMBING OLYMPOS, PART 3

All right, here goes nothing.

Depending on your outlook, this column is either the most mind-numbing you’ll ever read, or the most fascinating. As I told you in previous installments, I’ve endeavored to locate all the quotes in OLYMPOS, in order to find their French translations (if any) and use them in MY translation.

So, for your edification, all of you literature-lovers out there, here is a complete rundown. But before that, a few well-deserved thanks.


Jean-Daniel Brèque
Photo Credit: Fabienne Rose
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To my friend and colleagues of the Babeliste discussion board, who helped me in my research.

To the Bibliothèque d’Etude et du Patrimoine of Toulouse, a beautiful place full of old books and competent librarians.

And to my colleague Peter Robert, who is busy right now translating OLYMPOS into German: thanks to this column, we were able to help each other. All OLYMPOS translators are welcome to use this research–and to correct and complete it if needed.

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

Page 58
“When we chat, it is no longer we who speak–”. This comes from Marcel Proust (A L’OMBRE DES JEUNES FILLES EN FLEUR)

Page 59
“But your reach should always exceed your grasp.”
Orphu alludes here to ANDREA DEL SARTO, a poem by Robert Browning, who says: “a man’s reach should always exceed his grasp”.

Page 106
This conversation between Mercutio and Benvolio comes from Shakespeare’s ROMEO AND JULIET, act 1, scene 4.

Page 123
The Virgil quote comes from book 1 of THE AENEID.

Pages 128-130
In their dialogue, Prospero and Setebos often quote THE TEMPEST, act 1, scene 2.

Page 129
“Manesque exire sepulcris”: this is from Ovid’s METAMORPHOSES, book 7, verse 206 (look it up!).

Page 136
A quote from Seneca’s TROADES, as mentioned. There is another one on page 141.

Page 137
A quote from Propertius’ ELEGIES, book 3, poem 11. My most heartfelt thanks to Thomas Hockenberry, Ph.D., who always mentions his sources.

Page 153
The expression “star-crossed lovers” comes from the prologue of ROMEO AND JULIET. My thanks to Harman, who follows Hockenberry’s sterling example.

Page 180
As he (it?) did in ILIUM, Dan Simmons’ Caliban quotes Browning’s CALIBAN UPON SETEBOS–which I’ll have to translate from scratch. He (it?) does it again on page 286.

Page 184
This quote from Homer’s ILIAD was already used at the beginning of ILIUM.

Page 219
“Hell is empty, and all the devils are here”: this comes from THE TEMPEST, act 2, scene 2.

Page 220
Dan Simmons’ Ariel quotes Shakespeare’s Ariel, from THE TEMPEST, act 5, scene 1.

Page 221
Another TEMPEST quote, from act 1, scene 2.

Page 280
Hockenberry quotes sportswriter Jimmy Cannon, and I’ll write a footnote here, as he is unknown in France.

Page 284
This long quote from Marcel Proust–which figures twice in the text, here and on page 459–comes from LE COTE DE GUERMANTES. This might be the crux of the ILIUM/OLYMPOS diptych, if not of Dan’s entire œuvre.

Page 328
“Above, half-seen, in the lofty gloom–”
These verses come from REVERIE OF MOHAMED AKRAN AT THE TAMARIND TANK, by Laurence Hope. Note the Khajuraho connection here–shades of PHASES OF GRAVITY.

Page 349
“The centre cannot hold./Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world–” This is from Yeats’ THE SECOND COMING, which Prospero already quoted en passant on page 128.

Page 380
“A dreadful sound troubled the boundless sea–”
Now, the jury is still out on this one: Peter Robert thinks it may be from Milton, while I think it’s a particularly bombastic translation of Hesiod’s THEOGONY. Maybe it’s Milton quoting Hesiod.

Page 381
“Those who walk in darkness”: this come from ASH WEDNESDAY, by T.S. Eliot.

Page 383
“Fumigation with torches–”
This does come from an Orphic Hymn, as mentioned by Nyx herself.

Page 418
Here we have Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s TITHONIUS, as mentioned in the text.

Pages 438-439
The poem quoted here by Ariel and Moira is Percy Bysshe Shelley’s TO A LADY, WITH A GUITAR (or TO JANE, WITH A GUITAR–sources vary).

Page 439
Moira concludes in a blaze of glory by quoting (surprise!) John Keats’ THE FALL OF HYPERION.

Page 457
“The imagination may be compared–”
Another Keats quote, which Dan already used in his own THE FALL OF HYPERION. Did you say intertextuality?

Pages 462-465
This is the complete text of William Blake’s poem THE CRYSTAL CABINET.

Pages 465-466
William Blake again, with a poem called TO THE ACCUSER WHO IS THE GOD OF THIS WORLD (an epilogue to THE GATES OF PARADISE).

Page 498
Odysseus quotes Tennyson’s ULYSSES (for which I found a French translation this time).

Page 502
“They say that Achilles in the darkness stirred–”
These verses are apparently Rupert Brooke’s, but their exact source remains elusive so far. Note that Brooke was buried on Scyros, where Achilles lived as a boy.

Page 571
“No stone there without a name.”
According to Mahnmut, this “probably” comes from Lucan, but I’m not so sure. The closest thing I found in Lucan–in the poem he wrote about the battle of Pharsale (book 8)–is: “But if the stone deserves/So great a name.” Wait and see.

Page 573-574
As mentioned in the Acknowledgments, “Still Born” was written by Jane K. Simmons (source unknown).

Pages 579-580
These two long quotes are from Shelley’s PROMETHEUS UNBOUND.

Page 585
Orphu playfully misquotes THE TEMPEST, act 5, scene 1: “Oh brave new world, that hath such people in it.”

Page 598
“I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.”
This “Miltonic line” comes from the BIBLE (Isaiah, 14.13).

Page 610
“An old trunk of olive–”
This, of course, is from the ODYSSEY (book 23).

Page 614
“What is your substance–”
This is from Shakespeare’s Sonnet # 53.

Page 628
“High barrows without a marble or a name–”
This is from Lord Byron’s DON JUAN, book 4, poem 76.

Page 635
“Ay, but to die, and to go we know not where–”
This comes from MEASURE FROM MEASURE, act 3, scene 1.

Page 638
“The crisis consists precisely–”
A quote from Antonio Gramsci’s huge PRISON NOTEBOOKS, as mentioned in the text.

Page 689
“Be not afeard./This isle is full of noises–”
THE TEMPEST, of course–act 3, scene 2.

And we come full circle on the last page…
… where Orphu quotes the ILIAD.

Here you have it. I hope this enlightens you as you read the masterpiece that is OLYMPOS.

Best,

PS. Here is a new entry in the “As if I didn’t have work enough already” dept. I’ve signed a book contract and have to deliver next year an essay about one of my favorite authors who:
–once wrote a story whose plot followed a chess game;
–wrote several stories inspired by mythology, including two about Greek myths;
–was fond of using and quoting poetry in his novels (he even wrote a space battle as an epic poem);
–imagined an alternate universe in which everybody was reliving Shakespeare’s plays;
–mostly wrote science fiction but occasionally dabbled in mystery and horror fiction;
–once wrote that his main claim to fame would probably be that he fathered his daughter.

Oh, and his initials ain’t DS.

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