Welcome to Utopiary

Welcome to Utopiary, a blog about imaginary worlds—the ideal (utopia), the opposite of ideal (dystopia), and the playful and speculative worlds of all types that people the world over and from time immemorial have created in many different media: written narrative, drama, ceremony, games, film, simulations, anything the human imagination can envision. I enjoy thinking of these fictions as pruned and shaped to their purposes like so many fanciful topiaries, those amazing hedges and shrubberies clipped into the forms of animals or geometric shapes. Why? Because human beings like to play and live to speculate. Fictions make us who we are.

About janewiseman

a retired college professor interested in imaginary worlds of all types.
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5 Responses to Welcome to Utopiary

  1. Kirk Werth says:

    The Telemachia tells us about the background of the story that is needed to be known to understand certain other parts. We learn about the curse on the house of Atreus. In the text Athena references when Orestes killed Aigisthos, who killed his father. Also, the fate of Agamemnon when he returns is hinted at. This shows us how the House of Atreus has been cursed and still is at this point in time. Another background fact that we learn is how much Poseidon hates the Greeks and Odysseus. The people of Troy are people of the sea, which Poseidon is the god of. Also, he is the god of horse who Troy is known for. When Odysseus uses a horse to trick the people of Troy, this enrages the god Poseidon. We learn later in the book another reason for Odysseus enraging Poseidon. In this section Poseidon makes Odysseus’ trip next to impossible by causing an earthquake. Some information about the Trojan War was given during this section of The Odyssey. We learn how long Odysseus has been away from home which allows us to gain insight on how long the war has lasted (10 years). We also learn that Odysseus is a witty soldier who helped to win the war.

  2. Kirkland Brown says:

    I’m responding to question A…

    In ancient Greece there were no written down stories. Everything was passed down orally. Through stories, such as The Odyssey, practical aspects of Greek lifestyle were explained. On pages 5 and 6, aspects of treating a visitor is explained. Suitors brought out golden bowls filled with wine and they also brought out loaves of bread. Dancing and singing to a harpist also took place at the feast. Guests were treated with the utmost respect. On page 10, Athena describes to Telemakhos how he should deal with his father being gone and if in fact he is dead. She advises him to go out and search for him, because she knows Odysseus is still alive. But if he is dead, then he needs to come home, “burn his gear”, “and give your mother another husband”. This scenario would be used in Greek households if a family lost a parent. When Athena gets Telemakhos to go search for his father, he has to pack a variety of things. On page 29 he has to grab a series of things and even calls on the nurse to help him. Clothes, fragrances, and jars filled with wine are prepared for the trip. Barley meal and other grains are also gathered up. These are things that would be essential for a Greek when taking a long voyage. Another practical aspect of Greek life described can be found on page 35. On the voyage they feel it necessary to sacrifice to the gods for safe travel. “Black bulls were being offered by the people to the blue-maned god who makes the islands tremble”. This was spiritual and not uncommon in order to get on the god’s good side.

  3. janewiseman says:

    Leigh! How are you doing? Yes, I’m still fascinated with this stuff. Come to Danville and visit me. Guess where I live now? The house I grew up in.

  4. Janice Small says:

    This is my response to question E, from class. I was not sure what tab you wanted us to post under . . .

    In the first four books of The Odyssey, there are many instances that indicate the place of women in the Ancient Greek society. First, there are many places in the story that describe maids waiting on hosts and their guests. They are constantly bathing and feeding people. These women are supposed to take care of guests and make them feel comfortable. This is a very important job since the host-guest relationship in Ancient Greece is so sacred. However, they are not treated as though they are important. No one ever has conversations with them and we never learn their names. They are all just a bunch of faceless women who are there to please others.
    Next, we see that Penelope is treated more like a prized possession than a person. Her suitors long to marry her because they want her fortune, home and title. They do not care to get to know her and love her; they just want to be chosen so they can take over. Since she is a “high-born” woman, she is being forced to pick a suitor and remarry. No one cares that she is grieving the loss of her husband, Odysseus. The suitors tell Telemakhos to ban his mother from the house or make her marry one of them (pg. 22). It is odd to think that a young boy has the power to ban his own mother.
    Finally, Helen seems to have the closest to equal place among the women in this society. I say this because she is able to take part in conversations and speak her mind around the men. Menelaos loves her and treats her well. However, she is not completely equal because she also helps the maids serve wine to the men. This is the treatment that we see in book four but if we saw more of Helen’s life, we would see that her place in society is the same as Penelope’s.

  5. Leigh Barnett Walker says:

    Jane, You’re still interested in the realm of fantasy fiction. Me, too! I live in Pittsboro now, and I would love to see you again. I’m a retired elementary school librarian from Harford County, Maryland. Leigh Barnett Walker

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