Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Genesis of the Hermead

Four years ago on 16 July 2011, while sitting by the pool where my daughters were swimming, I was reading "The Western Canon" by Harold Bloom, and came on a passage where he speculated about what the next epic would be about.

I pondered how most epics are about martial heroes, people who found civilizations through war, and as I gazed back over at least 3,000 years of human history, I noticed that it is philosophers and scientists who contribute more lasting concepts that form the long-term foundation of civilization.

So I decided to write an epic about all the great philosophers and scientists of history. I went inside and wrote the opening passage of what I came to call the Hermead, after Hermes. This is the current edited version of the opening lines of the Hermead.

Scientists researching nature and man,
sing, Muse Kalliope, about arcane progress
of inventive magicians, wizards, druids,
philosophers, alchemists, and physicists,
bright curious people who study our world
and organize knowledge in holy books
to record wisdom gleaned by supple minds
as they experiment on sacred quest
to discover truth and invent better ways
we perform tasks to rule civilization
that programs actions of each crafting hand.

Since that day, I have written 865,000 words in 120,000 lines of blank verse about the lives and ideas of 26 Greek philosophers. I am perhaps 1/4 the way through the epic I plan to write. I plan to keep writing as much as I can.

So far I have published 366,000 words in 50,000 lines of blank verse about 14 philosophers in the first 3 volumes. Soon I will be publishing 19,478 lines about Demokritos, Platon, and Aristoteles in volume 4.

I am proud of what I have written so far. I hope others enjoy reading these tales on the adventurous lives of philosophers as much as I enjoy writing them.


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