It is equally beyond our power to enter into the vast imagination of those first men, whose minds were not in the least abstract, refined, or spiritualized, because they were entirely immersed in the senses, buffeted by the passions, buried in the body. That is why we said above that we can scarcely understand, still less imagine, how those first men thought who founded gentile humanity.The Goncourt brothers record a conversation of May 11, 1863:
'Homer', said Gautier, 'is just a poem by Bitaubé for most Frenchment. It was Bitaubé who made him acceptable. But Homer isn't like that at all. You've only to read him in Greek to see that. It's really very barbaric, all about people who paint themselves.'Do people paint themselves in Homer? Certainly his world is really very barbaric, and to imagine otherwise is to deceive oneself.