Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday September 27, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:29 AM
The Holy Spook

Classics 101 —
The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07A/070915-HumanStain.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Prof. Coleman Silk introducing
 freshmen to academic values

(See September 15. )

"The communication
of the dead is tongued with fire
   beyond the language of the living."

— T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

The Boston Globe,
Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2007-

Psychiatrist treated veterans
using Homer

Work made him

Dr. Jonathan Shay
(Harvard Class of 1963)


"When Boston psychiatrist Jonathan Shay wanted to understand the psychological toll of the Vietnam War on the veterans he treated, he turned to the 'Iliad' and the 'Odyssey.'

The classical Greek epics perfectly encapsulate the mental damage of combat, said Shay, who works for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Boston….

Today, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation will announce that Shay, 65, has been selected as a 2007 MacArthur fellow 'for his work in using literary parallels from Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey" to treat combat trauma suffered by Vietnam veterans.'….

'I was hearing elements of the story of Achilles over and over again,' Shay said.

Achilles, the hero of the 'Iliad,' is mistreated by his commander, who takes a girl, a prize of war, from him. Achilles is also tormented by the loss of his best friend in the Trojan War. With his ethical universe upended, he goes berserk.

Soon, Shay began to work on his first book, 'Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character.'

In the book, he interspersed the story of Achilles with examples of his patients' losses and contentious relationships with their commanders in Vietnam to illustrate some of the causes of the troops' psychological wounds."

The first word of the 'Iliad,'
Menin, is written in Greek
on Professor Silk's blackboard
in the photo at top.
It means "wrath."

Related material:

The wrath of a Vietnam
veteran, portrayed by
Ed Harris, in the film
"The Human Stain,"
and a calmer Harris in
the illustration below,
from Log24, Oct. 8, 2005:

A History of Death

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/051008-HistHarris3.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Adapted from
the film
"A History of Violence"

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