Greek Jive by Peter Laurien”He fell with a thud to the ground and his armornclattered around him.”n—HomernWar Music: An Account of Booksn16-19 of Homer’s Iliad bynChristopher Logue, New York:nFarrar, Straus & Giroux; $12.95.nW arnMusic, called by its author,nChristopher Logue, an “account”nof four books of the Iliad ofnHomer, is not a minor event. Its receptionnboth in its native England,nand now here, has been enthusiastic.nFor, English writing, especially innverse, may not generally be said tonhave overcome its mortal challengenfrom the likes of Yeats, Eliot, andnPound, either to assimilate or displace,nand Mr. Logue looks, at least here,nlike he means business. It is fair to saynthat—compared with the virtual armiesnof English-speaking poets of bothnsexes around the world who have developedndrab ways of saying less thannnothing but no will to stop sayingnit—Logue looms. He has a voice, henhas technique, his audacity is immense,nand he manages to say something.nYet, it was impolitic on his part tonlabel what he has done even annaccount—a maneuver intended to getnhim off the hook as a translator (merenor otherwise)—as War Music mustnsimply be judged a new work. Now, In(for one) tend to like this sort of thing.nTwenty-five years of rereading havennot yet dimmed tire luster of Pound’snaudacities with respect to Li Tai Po andnPropertius, precursors to what Loguendoes here. But more than to Pound,nLogue has apprenticed himself to thenChaucer and Shakespeare of Troilusn(who both derive not so much fromnHomer as from the medievally extantn”account” of Troy attributed to onenDiktys, “of Crete,” a self-claimedneyewitness)—and even more than tonany of these, to the Marlow ofTamburlane,nEdward II, and Faustus. And,nPeter Laurie is a poet and scholarnwhose work has appeared in Poetry,nSt. Andrews Review, and ThenHarvard Advocate.nalas, more than to even these, to thenwhole modern medley of movies, TV,ncauses, tics, and ads.nIf War Music must be denied itsnalmost universal accorded encomiumnof authenticity with respect to Homern(and it must, for reasons I hope tontouch upon, however briefly), neverthelessnit remains all too true to thisntime. Mr. Logue and his well-wishersnmay feel this is all to the good, thatnthey are satirizing modern life. If itnwere only that simple. Not knowingnany more about Mr. Logue than thisnone volume tells me, I find his purposesnmurky, twisted, and self-defeating.nBut in the long war of the fashionablenintelligentsia of the West against thenWest, this volume is a monument nonserious reader can afford not to takenseriously.nThey call it Deconstruction, and itninfests our higher life, using our universitiesnas a base and oozing bogusnrevolution, conformism, pseudopacifism,nrevisionism, inversion, and in­nnncompetence, dedicated to convincingnthe immature and the unformed therenis something better beyond the limitsnof traditional civilizations that traditionalnrestraints (called “hypocrisies”)nare blocking everyone’s way to, everyone’snright to. So the past is not taughtnbut “tried” in the light of our superiornunderstandings. The victims end bynconvicting not the past but their ownnsoul—of revolting nullity. For therenis, of course, something “beyond” civility,nonly it’s called savagery. In thisnrace, I fear Achilles will never catchnup with Mr. Logue.nItem: the willful transformation ofnAchilles and Patroclus into overt andnactive lovers—as Aeschylus did in thenMyrmidons. The shrewd assumption isnthat for close on three millennianHomer has been hiding somethingnonly our superior powers of sleuthhoodnhave found out. Unconsiderednare the thousands upon thousands ofnliving, ungay buddies who becamenand stayed fast friends from havingnwithstood a barrage or taken anmachine-gun nest side by side, or thenphysical demonstrations of affectionnamong, specifically, Mediterraneannmen (even Mafiosi) who have nevernOCTOBER 1987 I 2Sn