Sunday, November 25, 2007

Those who read Euripides also read...Nancy Drew!

Linkastic sent me to this place called The Literature Map. All was well and good. I typed in the name of an author, any author, and watched as a dozen or more names jostled for space close to the person named. I found some other name among those present and spent a pleasant two minutes jumping from 'map' to 'map'.

Then I clicked on Mervyn Peake and found Aristophanes. That made perfect sense, but what do you think happened next?

Turns out the ancient world is more underpopulated than we thought. Like some devastated part of the galaxy, all the old stars had
clearly died and any map of that part of the world can only contain large silences. Aristophanes was accompanied by maybe ten names. I spotted Juvenal and clicked. Clearly, his gift for satire endeared him to no one. While everyone else were off eating bread at the circuses, he had only Aristophanes and Euripides to talk to.

What was left but to see whose names Euripides threw up?

To be fair, I could have chosen Pynchon or William Carlos Williams but I'm sure our brains are elastic enough to make the stretch between these names. But Euripides and Nancy Drew?

Now understand this is not Amazon, where someone who bought Euripides might very well also have bought a few Nancy Drews; they could very likely have been doing their Christmas shopping or been overtaken with nostalgia or something.

Someone please make a five-step connection to explain to me how this is possible.


km said...

No idea how those are connected, but I do remember this awful pun:

A professor of Greek literature, to his dry-cleaner, who damaged the professor's new suit: "Euripides, Eumenides".

Falstaff said...

I suppose the connection is strong, central female protagonists. Relative to both Sophocles and Aeschylus, you could argue that Euripides places more emphasis on women (though of course part of that may just be a function of what's survived). There's hardly a classical heroine he doesn't cover - Andromache, Hecuba, Medea, Iphigenia, Electra, etc.

The group I think is most ill represented is the Beats. Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg don't feature in each other's maps at all (the closest person to Kerouac is apparently Oscar Wilde) and Gregory Corso ends up paired up with Appollinaire.

I must confess people like me may be partly to blame. I distinctly remember spending at least one very drunk night when gnod was first launched punching in the most wildly disparate writers I could come up with to see if the program could find someone in common.

Tabula Rasa said...

did anyone else notice paris hilton and madonna forming a cozy trio with shane warne?

Space Bar said...

km: old one that, but still groan-inducing. :D

falstaff: hmm. oddly enough, though it has not one but three female leads, i've never thought of the nancy drew series as being particularly strong on characterisation. so that was a connection that ought to have, but didn't occur to me.

and about this punch-drunk (all km's fault) two-name thing you used to do: you mean the format was different then? you only type one name at a time now and see what happens.

tr: huh?

not that i'm complaining. i can see which post is going to turn up most often on searches now.

Atenea said...

Clicking on your Euripides' LM link, I couldn't help but noticing how strange it would be to pass from Orestes to Rice's Mayfair witches, too.