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Who was Cassandra?


  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.

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March 14, 2009

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Thank you (both) as always, for a gift to read.

Of recent, my spiritual development has found ever greater room for porous boundaries, shadow regions, ambiguities, and, lately, for the idea of embodied intermediaries. This is why I have become more interested in how these intermediaries have been narrated: Hermes, Mercury, Esu and, in the case of the Christian religions, angels. But no, to say “interested” is insufficient. Better to call it “invested”—an investment in what, it now occurs to me, I might call a parentheses, a parenthetical mode of life.

This is, perhaps not surprisingly, the bit of this essay which fascinates me most. Though the whole piece is lovely.

I will come back for a second and third reading but even on this first fast and gluttonous swallowing, I am gob-smacked. Teju, you have absorbed in a short visit so much of what is essential about Rome. Your eyes and all your senses, your mind and your words come together in a harmony that can only be compared to music. Thank you. I'll be back.

Thank you.

A good travelogue describes a place I'll never experience, not because I won't get to Rome (in this case) -- though I won't, probably -- but because the travelogue is more about the writer than the place. I value the place for what it does for the writing, so I think I love Rome.

I overstate my point. I did learn a lot about Rome here tonight.

And I'm glad you had such an experience, Teju.

What a great letter. Thanks, T.C.

Thanks to Teju for writing this and to Beth for sharing it with all of us. It's a privilege to be able to read such writing and to experience vicariously the sensibility of one who sees, thinks, and feels so well. The ending reminded me of one of my own favorite poems, Richard Wilbur's "Love Calls Us to the Things of This World." I have no particular interest in Rome (the centers of the world that fire my imagination are Alexandria, Constantinople, Ch'ang-an, and Baghdad), but reading this essay (like watching the movies of the great Italian directors) makes me want to go there and fall in love with it myself.

(A couple of minor typos that should be fixed, since the writing deserves to stand unblemished: Pater Patrie should be Pater Patriae, and San Carlo alle Quatro Fontane s/b San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane.)

Hat, thanks! I'll fix those right away.

Thanks to all the readers. Posting on Beth's blog is such a luxury: where else in Blogistan can one count on readers attending so carefully to this kind of meandering essay? I do feel fortunate. Thank you.

Fine indeed, to receive these signals from the organ known as Cole -- It's as if part of me had been to Rome!

I have been out of the loop for so long so my comment is terribly late - I read this while I was on the road in SE Asia and really what a lovely, lovely travelogue and what lovely photos.

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