Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Discovering Literary Connections 

As I mentioned, I am working my way through (and am almost done with) the first in Dan Simmons' sci-fi quartet - Hyperion. Though a lot of the places names and book titles sounded familiar to me, I couldn't quite place them in my memory. Then, the book started talking alot about the poet John Keats. In fact, there is a city in the book named Keats. So, today, I got down my Keats collection and began flipping through it. Of course! He wrote three poems that stood out to me immediately upon gazing over the contents: Hyperion (a fragment, in books 1, 2, and 3), Endymion: A Poetic Romance (in books 1, 2, 3, and 4), and The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream. As far as Simmons' quartet is concerned, there's three of the book titles right off the bat. As I flipped through the book some more, I came across the poem Lamia (in parts 1 and 2). This peaked my interest as one of the characters in the book has as her last name, Lamia. After discovering that, I found one of my favorite Keats poems and re-read it, La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad. As I was reading it through, I saw in my notes that this poem may be about Keats lover, a woman named Fanny Brawne. Funny, cause the woman in the Simmons book whose last name is Lamia has as a first name, Brawne. (Incidentally, as I was re-reading that poem, I came to a line which I recognized has a far more blatantly erotic sense to it than my poetry professor ever let on.) So, it seems, Dan Simmons is fascinated with Keats. I started reading the poem fragment, Hyperion, but I didn't find any immediate connections. I'll read on and see.

I also looked to see if all these words have any other meanings, other than the way in which Keats or Simmons has used them.

Hyperion is from Greek mythology and refers to a Titan who is the son of Gaea and Uranus, and the father of Helios. Following from that, it also refers to the 12th moon of Saturn.

Endymion, also from Greek mythology, refers to a legendarily handsome young man, loved by a woman named Selene (moon), who preserved his youthful looks by an eternal sleep.

Lamia, the woman's last name and the title of one of the Keats poems, also comes from Greek mythology and refers to a singular monster, one who has the head and breasts of a human woman but the body of a serpent, who devours children and sucks the blood of men. It can also, more generically, refer to simply a female vampire.

I love it when I find out this kind of stuff!!!



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