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In all cases, the island is regarded as being near to the coast of North Africa.

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Both Herodotus and Strabo specifically allude to their belief that the myth was based on a real island in their writings, with Strabo reasoning that the purely mythological elements of accounts of the island could be easily explained by a mix of facts being distorted by time and poetic license on the part of Homer himself. Polybius is known to have used the word to refer to a type of tree whose berries could be used to make wine. One of the stronger arguments for identification with the lotuses described by Homer can be made for the the nymphaea caerulea, or Egyptian blue water lily.

This plant is native to North Africa and is known to have been used by the ancient Egyptians for its psychoactive properties. It has also been suggested that the plant in question is the opium poppy, which is still cultivated today for its powerful narcotic properties. Although they appear in Greek mythology, the lotus-eaters and their island were very likely based by Homer on a real tribe of people living on a real island.

The Vietnam Wars: ‘The Lotus Eaters’

It is interesting to note that, to this day, impractical people who give themselves over to luxury rather than to the pragmatic concerns of day-to-day living are sometimes still referred to colloquially as lotus-eaters in reference to the Homeric account. Wikipedia — Lotus-Eaters. Categorized in: Greek Mythology.

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Lotus-Eaters

While Linh is a better match, his personal tragedies have left him damaged and hesitant to fall in love. Soli portrays these love stories so thoughtfully, and with such care, that they take precedence over the fireworks of battle.

In this novel, love eclipses war, at least momentarily. Telling them fed me, yes.


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But their substance was not innocent. I had become an interpreter of violence. Like Chapelle, Helen is acutely ambivalent about her moral position as a war journalist. She is intent on pondering whether those who represent war — through reporting or photography — are doing anything but replicating the violence they depict.


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  • Do gruesome images of war foster revulsion and opposition to violence on the part of the public, or do the images simply translate into war porn? View all New York Times newsletters. In their worst moments, each of them feared being a kind of macabre Hollywood, and it was only in terms of the future that they regained their dignity, became dubious heroes.

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    BBC - The Lotus Eaters

    The metaphor is apt. Soli defines the unquantifiable desire that can seduce a person to danger, even to a kind of suicide wish. Sudden and awful.

    Lotus Eaters (BBC 1972) S01E01 Cold Wind From The North

    Everything distilled to its most intense. Helen may try to escape, but in the end she has become one of the lotus eaters herself.

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    But it was. Truer than anything here. Tell us what you think.


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