elettaria: (BNC)
[livejournal.com profile] elfbystarlight and I were recently discussing this charming passage from the end of Patrick O'Brian's The Surgeon's Mate. If you haven't read O'Brian's legendary Aubrey-Maturin series, then run along and do so. Here is an example to tempt you, in which Jack Aubrey is visiting HMS Oedipus.

***

"Perhaps you would like to see our figurehead, sir," said Babbington. "It is a new one: in the Grecian taste, I believe."

Oedipus might well have been in the Grecian taste, if the Greeks had been much given to very thick paint, an insipid smirk, eyes fixed in a meaningless glare, and scarlet cheeks. The two captains stared at the image and after a while Jack said, "I was never any great fist at the classics, but was there not something rather odd about his feet?"

"I believe there was, sir. But fortunately they don't show, he being cut off at the waist."

"Though now I come to think of it, was it not his marriage, rather than his feet?"

"Perhaps it was both, sir: they might go together. And I seem to recall something in Gregory's Polite Education to that effect."

Captain Aubrey pondered, staring at the dolphin-striker. "I have it," he cried. "You are quite right: both marriage and feet. I remember the Doctor telling me the whole story when we lay alongside Jocasta in Rosia Bay. I do not mean the least fling at your figurehead, still less your brig, Babbington, but that family was not really quite the thing, you know. There were some very odd capers, and it ended unhappy."

***

Take that, Mr Freud. Not to mention the whole Oresteia trilogy, all three weeks nine hours of it, or however long it takes on stage. There were some very odd capers, and it ended unhappy.

Then it occurred to us that it would be a treat to have put young Oedipus into Captain Aubrey's midshipman's berth. Or indeed any of the famed characters from classical literature - [livejournal.com profile] elfbystarlight particularly favoured Achilles. I can't write fanfic to save my life, and I haven't read any Greek classics in years, I'm afraid. So I am hereby putting out a request for other people to write this delightful notion for us. I'm not sure how many of you are classicists, but I know that several are medievalists, and medievalists are usually classicists on the side. And if you haven't read O'Brian yet, then a) you should remedy this appalling state of affairs at once, and b) we reckon you can write perfectly nice fanfic after reading the first book or so in the series.

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January 2014

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