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Baucis & Philemon

 

1 May 2019 - 31 October 2019

   
Dedicated to my parents, Thomas Averill and Sue Edwards Huckins, who were married for 50 years before passing away within ten days of one another.     
 

The First Image of the Exhibit

 

            The story of Baucis and Philemon first came to my attention as an undergraduate at Brown University, studying classics under the late, great teacher, Charles Alexander Robinson, Jr. The story was a small part of our suggested reading for Robinson’s introductory courses, but it made a big impression on me.

Baucis & Philemon. Yamadera, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. 4 May 2012.

 

 

 

 

            While elements of this tale probably originated before the dawn of writing, the story itself was put to paper by Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso, 43 B.C. – 17 A.D.) in his Metamorphoses (VIII, 611-724) and was translated into English by John Dryden (1631-1700).

            As I have taken the liberty of excerpting salient points of the story to suit the purposes of this exhibit, viewers are encouraged to read it elsewhere in its entirety. The version presented here is extracted from the very volume suggested by Professor Robinson, namely: Latin Literature in Translation, edited by Kevin Guinagh and Alfred Paul Dorjahn (Longmans, Green and Co., 1942 – 1960).

            Only a brief story, Baucis & Philemon nevertheless contains a number of diverse threads reminiscent of the Bible, including: the flood; Lot and his wife and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; Mary Magdalene washing Christ’s feet; and the miracle of the loaves and fish. Moreover, it illustrates any number of virtues always worth attention, including: devotion, friendship, frugality, generosity, gratitude, hospitality, humility, prudence, and reverence.

            For this reader, Baucis & Philemon is such a powerful love story that, even after first reading it almost sixty years ago, instead of just river boulders, trees, or even a happy, oblivious couple, I often see Baucis and Philemon living, toiling and loving together, at least until the Twelfth of Never…

 

The First Image of the  Exhibit

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