Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Take Me Out to Tea, Virgil

For Jen, who wisely reminds me, "fandom is something of a refuge" from our species behaving badly.

["Virgil and Dante in Hell," right, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, (1850). Virgil's the one in laurels, Dante's in red.]


"Everyone's so horrid today, Uncle Arthur. Let's go out to tea."

Little Minnie Beebe speaks these deathless lines to her uncle, the Reverend Mr. Beebe (Simon Callow), in the movie A Room with a View, and I am borrowing the sentiment, because indeed this evening everyone is being horrid. So much so I'm not even going to relate to you the intricacies of their horridness.
(I ascribe it to Scorpio lashing out its poisonous tail in spite as convivial Sagittarius hurries it on apace, out of its place in the Sun.)

In times like these, I am grateful that my passions--this year anyway--tend toward the utterly ridiculous, because I too could find it in myself to be perfectly horrid otherwise. After several unpleasantnesses tonight, however, instead I retreat in gratitude to my latest very silly thing: creating my own Rude Person Story.
(As I blogged a bit back, RPSs are Star Trek fan-fiction stories that send up fan-fiction stories, in dialect or in the style of a famous author.)

The central fanfic scenario that the RPSs mock--Kirk and Spock, after their shuttlecraft crashes on a lonely planet, shelter from a storm in a cave, Spock goes into heat, and intimate acts hitherto unknown between the friends ensue--reminded me right away of Queen Dido and Aeneas, the Trojan hero, in Book IV of Virgil's Aeneid, you'll recall, when the two are out hunting and a storm comes up and they take shelter in a cave and Dido is inflamed with lust and one thing leads to another.

I hear Virgil cry out to be transformed into Star Trek slash, and what better cause have I toward which to put my Classics degree than in answering that cry?
None! I tell you. I am barely gainfully employed otherwise. To spend fruitful hours searching the archives of for screencaps fitting to illustrate such a story is my delight. As is the work of editing the verse of the master to fit the change in circumstances, gender, and technology the central characters find they have undergone.

It would not be so very difficult, except that I have made it so by pilfering several various translations for words that please me most, thus creating a pastiche that is not altogether flawless in its texture and will necessitate the work of further happy hours in endeavoring to smooth.

Be that as it may, here I present a portion of the tale, rendered into K/S:

"...But a storm plunges the craft downward, towards the shores of a planet,
in foggy vapors bound, and lashed by winds.
The Captain speaks, “The ship is wrecked, and skies are hostile.”
Thunder rouses the heavens, and dark rain pours down.
Lost in obscure night, the men take shelter in a cave.

"Pon Farr seized the Vulcan and fed his veins a hidden flame.
Wounded by all-pow’rful love, his anxious mind recalls his Captain’s courage,
and his noble Earthly face. Sick with desire, the Vulcan ponders ..."

Tea, vicar?


Manfred Allseasons said...

Uh-oh, there is a Silmarillion size epic backstory here, is there not??

I hope the tea tray wasnt overturned....

Excellent picture, by the way...William-Adolphe Bouguereau eh? Time to get googling!

Jennifer said...

Oh my, Virgil/Dante just became a lot less academic. ;D

Spock "wounded by all-pow'rful love" is a lovely image. I'm hoping to see more! *grins* There's something about seeing the "classics" of fandom tranformed into the classics of literature that delights me no end.

As a (long) side note, I went out to dinner tonight with various professors here--Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and French-Canadian. The elction came up as a topic, and I cringed, knowing the French-Canadian professor to be openly contemptuous of America. He spoke of his experiences in America fifty years ago, how his Japanese companion was told she couldn't go on a beach because she wasn't white, how he intervened and they allowed it but the day was ruined, she sat on the beach and wept. And he said, "This election is proof that America can change, that it still can the great country we always want it to be." And all the other professors nodded and said how impressive it was, how moving, and I was torn between deep pride and shame, unsure how much we deserved that but so glad to see it. I'm always amazed and humbled by how much people want to believe that the American Dream isn't a flase one, even the most jaded and cynical (and it's hard to get more jaded and cynical than this guy).

"I cried," said Dan, and the Chinese professor said, "You cried?" "We all cried, all of us in Canada," said the man who blocked my tenure promotion in part because I was American, and it was a very complicated and yet hopeful moment.

Rudyinparis said...

Sorry about the unpleasantness... Scorpios... well, I try not to speak of them as I don't want to attract their notice.

Your slash is awe-inspiring! Let the Scorpios and Sags do their worst, if this is one end result!

momo said...

Wow, what an amazing image! I almost emailed you a mashup of K/S set to the Justin Timberlake song "Sexy Back" but I figured you must have already seen it. If not, it's an easy YouTube search away.

For my Comp Lit degree, I had to satsify a classics language reading requirement in either greek or latin. I chose latin and one of the courses I took was Virgil's Aeneid (because there was only one meter and I was afraid of Horace). I have very fond memories of translating line-by-line and then chatting with our professor over all the little details. If you asked him the right kind of question, he would launch into long, fascinating stories and we could kick back and not worry about being called on to provide our translations. Oh, we were bad. Of course I have forgotten most of my latin, but I still love to say "ablative absolute"!

Lady P said...

So even scorpios have linings of precious substance. I can't *WAIT* to see this vid. I'm practically in musth at the thought of it. And the word verification is "liabo" which my feverish eyes construed as "libido". I'll have some bromide in my tea, thanks, vicar.

fresca said...

Golly gee, I love youse guys--all these great comments! It's like a pile of presents!

MANFRED: I'm afraid the backstory is a boring story of listening to people expressing their scary xenophobia followed, unwisely, by balancing my checkbook. (Eeek!) Nothing so exotic as JRRT, though possibly as long.

Tea trays, hmmm... How might a nonsense K/S version go?
"Up above the world you fly,/ Like a tea-tray in the sky" --surely this is a proto-reference to a schuttlecraft???

Surely you know Bouguereau? Prime-time schlock--I love it!

JEN: *I* cried--well, got teary eyed--reading that. If only we could all live up to our own best ideals. Hell, if we could even remember we had 'em, that'd be a good start!
Thanks for wanting to see more--and so you shall! I am plugging along, founding my little empire of silly fanvids. It makes me so happy!

RUDY: Gemini and Scorpio--complete opposites, I believe...

OOpps--phone call I must take--more later.

fresca said...

MOMO: Yeah, I have seen the ST "Sexy Back" --how did you come to see it? Please don't stop passing along ST references/links: I know I have not seen them all and I don't want to miss any!

"Ablative absolute"! I'd forgotten that! I like "future imperfect" too! Grammar is so evocative, eh? : )

Translating Virgil's "Aeneid" line-by-line was very potent for me too, in fact, it was my first experience of translating real lit from another language, not just made up stuff. The night after we translated the Fall of Troy, I dreamt about fire and destruction. I realized I had never before read slowly enough to truly let the words sink into me--like, what was that ad where they dropped pearls one by one into a thick dishwashing liquid? like that.

LADY P: Musth! I never heard of that before.
You are a pearl of great price.

[Per WIKIPEDIA: Musth is a periodic condition in bull elephants, ... characterized by highly aggressive behaviour. It is accompanied by a significant rise in reproductive hormones ...]

bink said...

Of course your Virgil K/S is going to be another piece of "bloody genius"! And the sexy Bouguereau painting is a good fit with all the vampire movies opening lately.

But what really struck me was your insidious and sly insinuation of "the fly" into this blog that is seemingly about the classics and K/S.

I know that the repeated use of the phrase "tea, vicar?" came into your (our) lives after view Alexi Sayles' Merchant/Ivory version of "the fly"!

I think what you secretly want to do is include the fly in a K/S story...perhaps as a rival for someone's affection; perhaps as a Gorn replacement; perhaps in a three-way; perhaps as a butler serving tea...

If so, unleash this creative urge!

Or maybe it's just the subconscious calling of your own fly movie wanting not to be put on hold too long while you wrestle with K/S.

fresca said...

Oh dear, stop! stop! No more wonderful ideas! But, um, yeah, maybe we should make a Fly version...