This is a major study of conceptions of selfhood and personality in Homer and Greek Tragedy and Philosophy. The focus is on the norms of personality in Greek psychology and ethics. Gill argues that the key to understanding Greek thought of this type is to counteract the subjective and individualistic aspects of our own thinking about the person. He defines an "objective-participant" conception of personality, symbolized by the idea of the person as an interlocutor in a series (...) of psychological and ethical dialogues. (shrink)
How were the Greeks of the sixth century BC able to invent philosophy and tragedy? In this book Richard Seaford argues that a large part of the answer can be found in another momentous development, the invention and rapid spread of coinage which produced the first ever thoroughly monetised society. By transforming social relations, monetisation contributed to the ideas of the universe as an impersonal system and of the individual alienated from his own kin and from the gods. Seaford argues (...) that an important precondition for this monetisation was the Greek practice of animal sacrifice, as represented in Homeric Epic, which describes a premonetary world on the point of producing money. This book combines social history, economic anthropology, numismatics and the close reading of literary, inscriptional, and philosophical texts. Questioning the origins and shaping force of Greek philosophy, this is a major book with wide appeal. (shrink)
The period from the eighth to the fifth centuries B.C. was one of extraordinary creativity in the Greek-speaking world. Poetry was a public and popular medium, and its production was closely related to developments in contemporary society. At the time when the city states were acquiring their distinctive institutions epic found the greatest of all its exponents in Homer, and lyric poetry for both solo and choral performance became a genre which attracted poets of the first rank, writers (...) of the quality of Sappho, Alcaeus and Pindar, whose influence on later literature was to be profound. This volume covers the epic tradition, the didactic poems of Hesiod and his imitators, and the wide-ranging work of the iambic, elegiac and lyric poets of what is loosely called the archaic age. The contributors make use of recent papyrus finds to fill out the picture of a cosmopolitan and highly sophisticated literary culture which had not yet found its intellectual centre in Athens. (shrink)
This essay defines history as an interaction of three elements: description, evocation, and expression. These three elements should interact and combine without any of them overwhelming the remaining two. In combining the three elements, history carries on from epic poetry, which was its source. Highlighting the three elements reveals the ways history synthesizes the three historical stages outlined by Comte, namely, the theological, the metaphysical, and the scientific.
This book is designed to appeal both to those interested in Roman poetry and to specialists in ancient philosophy. In it David Sedley explores Lucretius ' complex relationship with Greek culture, in particular with Empedocles, whose poetry was the model for his own, with Epicurus, the source of his philosophical inspiration, and with the Greek language itself. He includes a detailed reconstruction of Epicurus' great treatise On Nature, and seeks to show how Lucretius worked with this as his (...) sole philosophical source, but gradually emancipated himself from its structure, transforming its raw contents into something radically new. By pursuing these themes, the book uncovers many unrecognised aspects of Lucretius ' methods and achievements as a poetic craftsman. (shrink)
Benedetto Croce’s influence pervades Anglo-Saxon culture, but, ironically, before Giovanni Gullace heeded the call of his colleagues and provided this urgently needed translation of _La Poesia, _speakers of English had no access to Croce’s major work and final rendering of his esthetic theory.__ __ _Aesthetic, _published in 1902 and translated in 1909, represents most of what the English-speaking world knows about Croce’s theory. It is, asserts Gullace, “no more than a first sketch of a thought that developed, clarified, and corrected (...) itself through new literary experience and more mature reflection.” During the 34 years between _Aesthetic _and _La Poesia _, for example, Croce added a striking new element to his thought: the analysis of prose literature. Gullace’s introduction to _La Poesia _constitutes a major undertaking in its own right. It is aimed at acquainting the reader with the evolution of Croce’s thought and at explaining the relationship between this final work and the philosopher’s previous work in esthetic theory and literary criticism. __ _La Poesia _is divided into two parts, text and postscripts. The text consists of four chapters: Poetry and Literature; The Life of Poetry; Criticism and History of Poetry; and The Formation of the Poet and the Precepts. Croce saw the postscripts “as a relaxed conversation after the tension of theoretical exposition. In Gullace’s translation the text and relevant postscripts appear conveniently side by side in a double column. Gullace has annotated both text and postscripts. (shrink)
This volume brings together Seth Benardete's studies of Hesiod's Theogony, Homer's Iliad, and Greek tragedy, of eleven Platonic dialogues, and Aristotle's Metaphysics. These essays, some never before published, others difficult to find, span four decades of his work and document its impressive range. Benardete's philosophic reading of the poets and his poetic reading of the philosophers share a common ground that makes this collection a whole. The key, suggested by his reflections on Leo Strauss in the last piece, lies (...) in the question of how to read Plato. Benardete's way is characterized not just by careful attention to the literary form that separates doctrine from dialogue, and speeches from deed rather, by following the dynamic of these differences, he uncovers the argument that belongs to the dialogue as a whole. The "turnaround" such an argument undergoes bears consequences for understanding the dialogue as radical as the conversion of the philosopher in Plato's image of the cave. Benardete's original interpretations are the fruits of this discovery of the "argument of the action.". (shrink)
The focus of this essay is on Xenophanes’ criticism of anthropomorphic representation of the gods, famously sounding like a declaration of war against a constituent part of the Greek religion, and adopting terms and a tone that are unequalled amongst “pre-Socratic” authors for their directness and explicitness. While the main features of Xenophanes’ polemic are well known thanks to some of the most studied fragments of the pre-Socratic tradition, a different line of enquiry from the usual one is (...) attempted by considering the multi-layered background of the religious beliefs revolving around the idea that the gods have human form as outlined in the tradition of epic poetry or represented in cult statues: in the light of this consideration Xenophanes’ text can take on some new characteristics. In the second part of the article, emphasis is put on the importance of the correlation Xenophanes established between the issue of the appearance of the gods and that of the certainty of knowledge, in terms that have exerted tremendous influence on later thought, most notably on Plato in the Timaeus. (shrink)
Combining literary and philosophical analysis, this study defends an utterly innovative reading of the early history of poetics. It is the first to argue that there is a distinctively Socratic view of poetry and the first to connect the Socratic view of poetry with earlier literary tradition.Literary theory is usually said to begin with Plato's famous critique of poetry in the Republic. Grace Ledbetter challenges this entrenched assumption by arguing that Plato's earlier dialogues Ion, Protagoras, and Apology introduce a (...) distinctively Socratic theory of poetry that responds polemically to traditional poets as rival theorists. Ledbetter tracks the sources of this Socratic response by introducing separate readings of the poetics implicit in the poetry of Homer, Hesiod, and Pindar. Examining these poets' theories from a new angle that uncovers their literary, rhetorical, and political aims, she demonstrates their decisive influence on Socratic thinking about poetry.The Socratic poetics Ledbetter elucidates focuses not on censorship, but on the interpretation of poetry as a source of moral wisdom. This philosophical approach to interpreting poetry stands at odds with the poets' own theories--and with the Sophists' treatment of poetry. Unlike the Republic's focus on exposing and banishing poetry's irrational and unavoidably corrupting influence, Socrates' theory includes poetry as subject matter for philosophical inquiry within an examined life.Reaching back into what has too long been considered literary theory's prehistory, Ledbetter advances arguments that will redefine how classicists, philosophers, and literary theorists think about Plato's poetics. (shrink)
Dilemma one, Between the theoretical concepts and authorial intention -- Dilemma two, Good manners and eristic -- Dilemma three, Between strangeness and familiarity -- Dilemma four, Between scholarly research and faith.
This paper examines the distribution of thematic infinitive endings in early Greekepic in the context of the long-standing debate about the transmission and development of Homeric epic diction. There are no aorist infinitives in - in Homer which would scan as -before a consonant or caesura (for example *). It is argued that this artificially ending - should be viewed as an actual analogical innovation of the poetic language, resulting from a proportional analogy to the futures. (...) The total absence of aoristic - in Hesiod is unlikely to be coincidental: the analogical form must have been the product of a specifically East Ionic Kunstsprache, and so could have been simply unknown in some other Ionian school of epic poetry where Hesiod was trained. Finally, the striking avoidance of anapaestic aorist infinitives in - is argued to be explained better under the approach to the Aeolic elements in Homeric diction than under the theory. (shrink)
Nasir-i Khusraw is a major literary figure in medieval Persian culture. He was a Muslim philosopher, poet, travel writer, and Ismaili da'i who lived a thousand years ago in the lands known today as Afghanistan, Iran, and Tajikistan. Although known in the West mainly for his Safarnama, or travelogue, which describes his seven-year journey from Khurasan, in the eastern Islamic lands, to Cairo, the city of the Fatimid imam-caliphs, his poetry and ideas are less familiar. Yet, over the centuries, Persian-speaking (...) lands have consistently ranked him as one of the finest poets of all time. But today, even among those who know Nasir-i Khusraw's poetry, few understand the philosophical and Ismaili concepts the poet expounds. And while mystical and epic genres of Persian poetry are memorized and studied, the genre of philosophical poetry in Persian remains basically unexplored. This collection of studies seeks to redress the balance. Originally presented at a conference at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in 2005 to commemorate the millenary of Nasir-i Khusraw's birth, the papers published here examine his poetry both for philosophical meaning and poetic method. They address a variety of topics, ranging from metaphysics, cosmology, and ontology to prophecy, as well as rhythm and structure, and analysis of individual poems and authorship. (shrink)
Comparison of literary passages is a critical procedure much favoured by Gellius, and is the main theme in several chapters of his Noctes Atticae: ch. 2.23 is dedicated to a comparison of Menander's and Caecilius′ versions of the Plocium; 2.27 to a confrontation of passages from Demosthenes and Sallust; in 9.9 Vergilian verses are compared with their originals in Theocritus and Homer; parts of speeches by the elder Cato, C. Gracchus and Cicero are contrasted in 10.3; two of Vergil's verses (...) are again compared with their supposed models in ch. 11.4; a segment of Ennius′ Hecuba is contrasted with its Euripidean original in 13.27; Cato's and Musonius′ formulations of a similar sententia are confronted in 16.1; in 17.10 Vergil's description of Etna is compared to Pindar's; the value of Latin erotic poetry is weighed against the Greek in ch. 19.9, in which an Anacreontean poem and four Latin epigrams are cited; and finally in 19.11 a ‘Platonic' distich is set side by side with its Latin adaptation, composed by an anonymous friend of Gellius, though in this case no comparison of the poems is attempted. (shrink)
En el artículo proponemos que la novela Mezquina memoria del escritor Antonio Gil actualiza la compleja relación entre poesía e historia que instituye a La Araucana de Alonso de Ercilla como canto épico fundacional. Según esta propuesta de lectura, Mezquina memoria se configura a partir de una hipótesis que constantemente se frustra y que dice relación con la imposibilidad de construir un relato --unitario, un “gran relato”-- sobre la escritura de Ercilla como acto poético creador. De esta manera, la dimensión (...) mitohistórica de la novela da lugar a una lectura crítica de Chile como territorio simbólico. In this text we propose that the novel Mezquina memoria, of the writer Antonio Gil, updates the complex relationship between poetry and history that establishes the La Araucana, of Alonso de Ercilla, as a foundational epic. In our proposal for reading, Mezquina memoria is configured from a hypothesis that constantly frustrates and that said relationship with the impossibility of constructing a story --unitary, a “meta recit”-- about the writing of Ercilla as an act of poetic creation. In this way, the mythistorical dimension of the novel, gives rise to a critical reading of Chile as a symbolic territory. (shrink)
This book is a study of ancient views about 'moral luck'. It examines the fundamental ethical problem that many of the valued constituents of a well-lived life are vulnerable to factors outside a person's control, and asks how this affects our appraisal of persons and their lives. The Greeks made a profound contribution to these questions, yet neither the problems nor the Greek views of them have received the attention they deserve. This book thus recovers a central dimension of (...)Greek thought and addresses major issues in contemporary ethical theory. One of its most original aspects is its interrelated treatment of both literary and philosophical texts. The Fragility of Goodness has proven to be important reading for philosophers and classicists, and its non-technical style makes it accessible to any educated person interested in the difficult problems it tackles. This new edition features an entirely new preface by Martha Nussbaum. (shrink)
This article examines the ethical and theological universe of the Homeric epics, and shows that the patterns of human and divine justice which they deploy are also to be found throughout the wider corpus of early Greek hexameter poetry. Although most scholars continue to stress the differences between the Iliad and Odyssey with regard to divine justice, these come not (as is often alleged) from any change in the gods themselves but from the Odyssey's peculiar narrative structure, with its (...) focus on one hero and his main divine patron and foe. Indeed, the action of the Iliad embodies a system of norms and punishments that is no different from that of the Odyssey. Values such as justice are shown to be socially constituted in each epic on both the divine and human planes, and each level, it is argued, displays not only a hierarchy of power (and the resulting tensions), but also a structure of authority. In addition, the presentation of the gods in the wider hexameter corpus of Hesiod, the Epic Cycle and the Homeric Hymns is analysed, revealing a remarkably coherent tradition in which the possibility of divine conflict is combined with an underlying cosmic order. Finally, consideration of Near Eastern myths relating cosmic order to justice brings out the distinctiveness of the Greek system as a whole and, in particular, of the way it uses the divine society under Zeus's authority as a comprehensive explanatory model of the world. (shrink)
In this study, Levin explores Plato's engagement with the Greek literary tradition in his treatment of key linguistic issues. This investigation, conjoined with a new interpretation of the Republic's familiar critique of poets, supports the view that Plato's work represents a valuable precedent for contemporary reflections on ways in which philosophy might benefit from appeals to literature.
continent. 1.3 (2011): 201-207. “Poetry is experience, linked to a vital approach, to a movement which is accomplished in the serious, purposeful course of life. In order to write a single line, one must have exhausted life.” —Maurice Blanchot (1982, 89) Nikos Karouzos had a communist teacher for a father and an orthodox priest for a grandfather. From his four years up to his high school graduation he was incessantly educated, reading the entire private library of his granddad, comprising mainly (...) the Orthodox Church Fathers and the ancient classics. Later on in his life he sold the library for money, only to buy a little more time before he went broke again: “I carry sorrow like a cage/ I got no birds/ as I come back from her hair/ I see the profit emptied/ cool from terror.” (1993, Ι, 101) Nowadays—and ridiculously recently—we are more than apt to speak of a certain insouciance pertaining to the Greek form of expenditure: expenditure without any type of investment, sometimes not (even) symbolic. In the vaults of the European unconscious, this imprudent stance still conjures a “capital punishment” in the form of de-capitation, reflecting back the fear of excess and the terror of its consequences.1 Thus the Greek way of living is very close to what a stranger could have termed as “the Greek way of dying.” Yet, what is not often understood is that the Greek esprit , the same one that invented the maxim μηδ?ν ?γαν (“nothing in excess”), does not experience death solely as an imminent fear of bankruptcy. For it miraculously combines its unconditional acceptance with the promise of a resurrection that is always there in the scents of Spring, from Dionysus to the orthodox Christ: “Everyone resurrects himself through dying [….] Resurrection is the switching of mortalities.” (2002, 94) Hence, if an entire library was imprudently traded for a plate with seven olives, a sliced tomato and some fresh goat cheese, let us not be fooled: this is not the meal of the pauper, but that of “an aristocrat from God” (1993, II, 491) feeding his eloquent loudmouth, ridiculously cut open in an otherwise rock-solid caput . *** To speak of the Greek experience is to speak about a half-dead language that still utters in life what is seemingly excluded from it and thus forbidden to be talked about: death. Death as anything that is out of this world, as something that will never return . Still, along with an experience of death that recently waned as a worn-out academic fashion, the Greek experience is dead too. Nearly 2300 years of written words separating Homer from the fall of Byzantium equal 500 books on a library traded for money: “I am with the killed. Hence my deepest solitude. I do not feel this tremendous macho society, beyond from the fact that it is a ruthlessly consuming one. It is me who pays all the time .” (2002, 57) Let us do the math and see how much this dealing with the Greek experience is costing the poet and how much dealing with the Greek experience might cost us today. *** “I do not guarantee a single word.” (Karouzos, 1993, II, 454) Through its various dialects and forms, the Greek language speaks through an incessant historical dissemination. Anyone who is aware of this terrifying polymorphy and still calls himself a poet, must stand against a white sheet of paper, pen-in-hand, with a very particular duty: to be as fully inconsistent as possible. In the formally ironic uniqueness of the poem, the poet functions as “a band-aid for lesser and greater antinomies.” (1993, I, 251) Of course these antinomies are not exhausted in language—they are historical, political and, alas, existential. Yet, beyond appearances , it is language that ruthlessly encodes them through history, submitting the poet to the temptation of placing them one next to the other on a single white sheet. The closer their neighboring, the greater the scattering of the writer in the ironic uniqueness of the paper. In a work where poetic license is described as a “freedom-impasse” (2002, 51), this task is undertaken in full conscience of its personal consequences: “what I am interested in is to escape my individuality (envisioning the non-ego) […] Nevertheless, my dissociations never achieve duration.” (2002, 74-75) Hence, though poetry is the “deserted direction of will,” (1998, 62) the stance of the poet is not that of a Nietzschean “great man.”2 Whereas drunkenness provides a thread between the poem and the excess it both presupposes and infuses (“Poetry always enlarges. ‘Drunkenness’ is nothing more than that,” (2002, 85)), whereas language flashes in loudmouth spurts of déraison (“When I am alone I do something else. I utter words. For example, while having my ouzo and listening to music I am most likely capable of randomly shouting ‘Electricity!’” (2002, 138)), the poet never gives in to the double affirmation that would eventually risk the “element of pleasure in discourse.” (2002, 80)” It is exactly because the gap of the antinomies is so vast that poetry is not meant to be written with a hammer. Neither does writing consist in a reevaluation of those elements. In short, poetry is not an affirmation of difference, but the surprising beauty of chiming antinomies. We might never transcend them, but it is up to us to put them together. Yet again, this voisinage is not to be identified with the necessity of chance as an eternal return.4 On the contrary it is a return from that very return : Let us treat Yes as a No to No and No as a Yes […] And let us not forget that this pissed affirmation crumbled down Nietzsche’s intellect in the dark paths of this world. (2002, 88) This return from the “vicious circle” should in no way be taken as a form of artistic prudence. Rather it can be seen as a dribble of demonic inconsistency as Dionysus transforms himself into a Christ that is in turn de-theologized: “Who can forbid that? Every man is capable of his own theology, nothing can stop him.” (2002, 73-74) This is a turn towards an existential vision of the world, historically coinciding with a particular political defeat of the Left, to which the poet devoted all his life: after the defeat of the popular front I raised the question “why do we exist?” while others were asking “why we failed.” (2002, 57)5 But most of all it is a return to poetry that exceeds the existential question itself, going beyond the issue of faith. Poetry comes in as a question of return after a defeat that is confessed in full profanity. Though it accepts the necessity of the defeat, it does not affirm it. Though it negates it, the negation is not in the name of a promise to be delivered in the kingdom of heavens. Following a historical and existential defeat, poetry is born post mortem . It signals a return to Christ as “groundless religiousness in the surprise of the real as such” (2002, 72) which is at once a return to the refuge of childhood. It is not a question of endurance towards an eternal return. Rather it is a question on the possibility of an existential return. Returning in a world as someone who cannot enjoy any returns exactly because he is averse to guarantees. A return without returns. *** PHOTOCOPY OF HAPPINESS When I was young I used to pin down cicadas and step on ant nests. I used to stand there silent for hours. With threads I decapitated bees. Now I am a dead man breathing. (Karouzos, 1993, II, 336.) The return to the “paradise of childhood” (2002, 68) constitutes the devouring refuge of its own memory when defeat becomes the synonym of adulthood. The political struggles of a young communist in a country torn up by a civil war right after World War II fraught with incarcerations and exiles. Historically they resulted in the defeat of the communist movement in Greece and opened up a long turbulent road that would peak in the dictatorship of 1967. Existentially they led to a series of disillusionments: mental breakdown, divorce, abandonment of studies in law school. To the question “why do we exist” the answer was poetry. Still this exposé should not be read as a sweeping chronography of a man. For it actually happens to coincide with the historical fate of a nation that after its modern constitution never stopped dreaming of the glories of its past youth, in a present that was (and is) sweepingly disappointing. But isn’t this return to youth finally a way of compensating for a loss of youth that necessarily results in a losing adulthood? Will Greeks, the eternal children of Plato and Nietzsche, ever learn? How to return without dying, how to remember without wasting time? WE ARE IN THE OPEN MEANING Living the coldest mauve night right across Parthenon I went to take a piss on some foliage and I was enjoying the foliage as it was steaming. (Karouzos, 1993, II, 340) Beyond the historical tragedies of modern Greece and away from any personal disappointments, the relation that this land holds with language and history is mediated through the Greek light—whose omnipresence is the very condition of its transcendence. All historical contradictions from Dionysus to Christ took place under this light; all those disseminated dialects were spoken beneath its warmth. To paraphrase Lévinas,6 light is both the condition of the world and of our withdrawal from it—a withdrawal towards the invisibility of God, of the dead, of meta-physics, resulting from the temptation that all is still here, behind this light the visibility of which they once evaded: “birds, the allurement of God.” (1993, I, 17) Under that luminous sky, if Greeks can do anything at all, it is to envision a return that will never come. All they can do is write poetry—which is doing nothing; other than lending an ear to a disseminated language whispering a unity that cannot be promised, as an adulthood in defeat is ready to recognize. Trying “to trap the invisible in visibility” (1993, II, 483) they forget that they have grown up and one day they die—with the promise of return. Hence an additional meaning must be given to this return to childhood. It does not signal salvation but rather its promise. To the ears of an aged continent it means that the return to/of poetry is a losing game, a return without returns. “Europe, Europe… you are nothing more than the continuation of Barabbas.” (1993, I, 295) *** “Life is not there to verify theories.”7 The records show that Karouzos was finally given a second-class pension from the Greek government, at the time when he was being recognized by the literary press as one of Greece’s major contemporary poets. Being neither a bourgeois nor a nobelist, he proclaimed himself to be an anarcho-communist, unconditionally faithful to the utopia of a classless society. He also drank, heavily. “Capitalism made an animal out of man/ Marxism made an animal out of truth/ Shut up.” (1993, II, 369) Perhaps one of the most scandalous divides of our times has been the one between the living and the dead, the latent prohibition that the living should not be concerned with the dead based on the mere impossibility of the dead to be concerned with the living in the first place. What adds to this scandal is that this divide abuses anything that cannot return to us by subsuming it under the same futility. Hence death is no longer “loss” in the usual sense. It no more refers to the things we lost but to our “loss” (of time, money and well-being) as we insist to dwell on them. Death is a waste —of time. It is this waste that we find in the insouciance of Greek expenditure; the waste in dealing with a language that most of its historical part is no longer spoken (a dead language); the waste in translating a poet who is ex definitio untranslatable; the waste of his vision, his money, his life. The waste of dealing with anything that cannot return and that cannot bring in any returns . But it is also the waste of life that poetry itself presupposes, the waste of dealing with invisibility, with anything that is out of this world and thus invokes the fear of death that is in turn—and surprisingly— nowhere to be found. Instead of death, what is there, beyond the light, is the being without us (to recall the Lévinasian il y a ), the mumble of our own nothingness which constitutes the price to be paid for writing poetry under an evergreek light. To understand this to-and-fro, is to realize that poetry is something out of this world that nevertheless takes place in this world, by virtue of this world. But to ridiculously equate this to-and-fro with death as non-existence, is to exile poetry along with its own possibility from this same old world: I do not believe that poetry will ever disappear from this world. […] But I am also sure that it does not have many chances of playing, as you say, a redemptive role in our vertiginous technological future. Without being endangered as a creative need, it will be placed on the side of history. (2002, 32) It is mainly there that we would like to locate the meaning of Nikos Karouzos’s poetry today. If we are willing to include the Greek original it is because we consider that it will be both a waste of time for us to do so (since most of you cannot read Greek) and because it might induce you to the even larger waste of learning it. We would additionally be glad if this small introduction served as an equally wasteful, academically useless piece of reading, gesturing towards a taboo of investing in anything Greek—that is in anything dead among the living, in anything that will never come back and maybe was never here in the first place. This is the only way to reserve for ourselves the possibility of poetry and preserve the light of its promise. “To return: that is the miracle.” (1993, I, 17) Athens, Greece July 10, 2011 NOTES 1 “ Capitale (a Late Latin word based on caput “head”) emerged in the twelfth to thirteenth centuries in the sense of funds, stock of merchandise, sum of money or money carrying interest.[…] The word and the reality it stood for appear in the sermons of St. Bernardino of Siena (1380-1444) ‘… quamdam seminalem rationem lucrosi quam communiter capitale vocamus ’, ‘that prolific cause of wealth that we commonly call capital’” (Braudel, 1992, 232-233). 2 “A great man – a man whom nature has constructed and invented in the grand style – what is he? First : there is a long logic in all of his activity, hard to survey because of its length, and consequently misleading; he has the ability to extend his will across great stretches of his life and to despise and reject everything petty about him, including even the fairest, ‘divinest’ things in the world.” (Nietzsche, 1968, 505, §962) 3 Cf. Deleuze, 1986, 186-9. 4 “Return is the being of becoming, the unity of multiplicity, the necessity of chance: the being of difference as such or the eternal return.” (Deleuze, 189)5 In this 1982 interview Karouzos refers to the defeat of the communist movement in Greece after the civil war of 1946-1949 between the Governmental Army and the Democratic Army of Greece, the military division of the Greek communist party. Karouzos’s father was a member of the communist National Liberation front (EAM) members of which formed the mainl resistance movement (ELAS) in Greece during WWII. The poet was a member of the United Panhellenic Organization of Youth (EPON), which was a youth division of EAM. After the end of the war, ELAS was called to disarmament in view of the formation of a National Army. The members of EAM resigned from the government of national unity and a series of protests led to a 3 year civil war between ELAS and the Government Army. After the defeat of ELAS the Communist party was outlawed and many communists were exiled in deserted Greek islands. Karouzos, who took action in the Greek resistance and was active during the Greek civil war, was exiled in Icaria on 1947 and in Makronisos on 1953 where he was called two years earlier to do his military service. 6 “Existence in the world qua light, which makes desire possible, is then, in the midst of being, the possibility of detaching oneself from being. To enter into being is to link up with objects; it is in effect a bond that is already tainted with nullity. It is already to escape anonymity. In this world where everything seems to affirm our solidarity with the totality of existence, where we are caught up in the gears of a universal mechanism, our first feeling, our ineradicable illusion, is a feeling or illusion of freedom. To be in the world is this hesitation, this interval in existing, which we have seen in the analyses of fatigue and the present.” (Lévinas, 1988,43-4) 7from a TV interview. THE POETRY OF NIKOS KAROUZOS From Redwriter [ Ερυθρογρ?φος ], in Collected Works, Vol . II, Athens: Ikaros. 1993, 463-4. [Athens: Apopeira, 1990, 9-10.] JESUS ANTI-OEDIPUS* Why were we once saving till the fifth day the Paschal lamb? The scriptures say: with this victim’s meat we ought to cleanse all of our senses. To give life to the whitest wave miraculous odors in the extension of the chest. Ideals to death. For us to witness the illustrious dawns of Absinthe and for the soul to be a deeply carved ornament on the fore we named will. Then many deer running amidst the evergreen growth with watery hymns, then, the unintended angels descending with heights spiraling in their momentum offer themselves to the luminous Adventure. Whence the need for speech and our sufferings covered with flags like the glorified dead. An incorporeal finger pointing at the flamboyant and fragrant holocausts within the tired horizons and the exhausted breadths with joys of the mistletoe on fire and shivering all of the green-leaved love. Something would have chirped again had we not driven it away— maybe the ewe’s grass. Something would have called us to the eternal resurrection— maybe the grace of spring. But now our heart is fiercely blinded, withdrawn to the appearances of Hades. Silence and ice incessantly cover the Infant Spirit in thatched times. While the cherry trees are dreaming faintly glowing in absolute darkness there’s nothing the Babylonians can contemplate in labs with automatic colored lights. How to rejoice now in the fifth day of the lamb? We have forked the stars. We’ve gradually become supposedly sublime with plucked chimeras in our hands. Avenged relentlessly by science. *Though the poem appears in a 1990 collection, it was actually written in 1968. Hence the reader must be aware in not associating Karouzos’ Anti-Oedipus with the famous 1972 work of Deleuze and Guattari, given that the former precedes the latter. ΙΗΣΟΥΣ ΑΝΤΙ-ΟΙΔΙΠΟΥΣ Γιατ? κρατο?σαμε κ?ποτε ?ς την π?μπτη μ?ρα το πασχαλιν? πρ?βατο; Τα κε?μενα λ?νε: μ’ αυτο? του θ?ματος το κρ?ας ?πρεπε να καθαρ?σουμε ?λες τις αισθ?σεις. Για να δ?σουμε κ?μα στη ζω? λευκ?τατο θαυμ?σιες ευωδι?ς στην ?κταση του στ?θους. Ιδανικ? στο χ?ρο. Για να βλ?πουμε τα λαμπρ? χαρ?ματα του ?ψινθου και να ’ναι η ψυχ? στ?λισμα βαθυχ?ρακτο της πλ?ρης που την ε?παμε θ?ληση. Τ?τε πολλ?ς δορκ?δες τρ?χοντας αν?μεσα στην καταπρ?σινη φ?ση με τους υδ?τινους ?μνους, τ?τε, κατεβα?νοντας οι αθ?λητοι ?γγελοι με κυλινδο?μενο το ?ψος στην ορμ? τους χαρ?ζονται της αστραφτερ?ς Περιπ?τειας. ?θεν η μιλι? γι’ αυτ? χρει?ζεται και τα δειν? σκεπ?ζονται ωσ?ν τους τιμημ?νους νεκρο?ς με σημα?ες. Ασ?ματο δ?χτυλο δε?χνει τα φλογ?δη και μοσχοβ?λα ολοκαυτ?ματα στους κουρασμ?νους ορ?ζοντες στα εξουθενωμ?να πλ?τη καθ?ς αν?βουν οι χαρ?ς του νερα?δ?ξυλου και τρ?μει ολ?κληρη η πρασιν?φυλλη αγ?πη. Κ?τι θα κελαηδο?σε π?λι αν δεν το δι?χναμε— μπορε? της προβατ?νας το χορτ?ρι. Κ?τι θα μας καλο?σε στην απ?ραντη αν?σταση— μπορε? του ?αρος η χ?ρη. Μα η καρδι? μας ?γρια τυφλ?θηκε π?ρασε στα φαιν?μενα του ?δη. Σιγ? και π?γος αδι?κοπα σκεπ?ζει στους αχυρ?νιους καιρο?ς το Ν?πιο Πνε?μα. Την ?ρα που ονειρε?ονται οι βυσσινι?ς και λ?μπουν αμυδρ? μεσ’ στο απλ?τατο σκοτ?δι τ?ποτα δε στοχ?ζονται οι βαβυλ?νιοι στα εργαστ?ρια με τ’ αυτ?ματα χρωματιστ? φ?τα. Π?ς να χαρο?με πια την π?μπτη μ?ρα του προβ?του; Φουρκ?σαμε τ’ αστ?ρια. Γ?ναμε σιγ?-σιγ? δ?θεν υπ?ροχοι με μαδημ?νες χ?μαιρες στα χ?ρια. Μας ν?μεται σκληρ? η επιστ?μη. From: Redwriter [Ερυθρογρ?φος], in Collected Works, Vol. II, Athens: Ikaros. 1993, 472. [Athens: Apopeira, 1990, 18.] DIALECTΙCS OF SPRING Christ the straight angle; Christ the Pythagorean theorem. Christ the infinitesimal calculus from above the blessed Sets Christ. Christ the tessellation of massive particles Christ the zero mass. Hence we spray numbers and fields of lust. We are carabineers of diseased logic plus something— Observed means observer and Hekate The darkness luminous and light in the dark Astarte banqueters demons from today. ΔΙΑΛΕΚΤΙΚΗ ΤΟΥ ΕΑΡΟΣ Χριστ?ς η ορθ? γων?α· Χριστ?ς το πυθαγ?ριο θε?ρημα. Χριστ?ς ο απειροστικ?ς λογισμ?ς ?νωθεν ?λβια Χριστ?ς τα Σ?νολα. Χριστ?ς η ψηφιδογραφ?α στα μαζικ? σωμ?τια Χριστ?ς η μ?ζα μηδ?ν. ?ρα ψεκ?ζουμε αριθμο?ς και πεδ?α λαγνε?ας. Ε?μαστε τυφεκιοφ?ροι νοσο?σης λογικ?ς και κ?τι-- παρατηρο?μενο σημα?νει παρατηρητ?ς και Εκ?τη σκ?τος το π?μφωτο και φως εν τ? σκοτ?? η Αστ?ρτη συνδαιτημ?νες δα?μονες απ’ ?ρτι. From: Redwriter [Ερυθρογρ?φος], Athens: Apopeira, 1990, 18. [1993, II, 472]. CREDO (as we are used to say in Latin) Α I believe in one Poet expelled from heavens / fugitive from the god and vagabond, Empedocles / and here on earth / exile on the earth etc. of Baudelaire /. Β I believe in one Computer inside thunder and through matter. Γ Suffering undefiled / substantive / the Poet uplifts himself slow-burning suicidal implying lengthy sleeps. Δ Cutting down on prospective mistakes. Ε Of all things visible and invisible officiating the onion-peelings. Ζ The Poet has nothing / see the departed /. Η I believe in one Poet that says: madness I enjoy; he ridicules existence; let me light up from my mana. Θ Syntax he doesn’t care about when musicality commands him. Along with still more licenses, and Ts are played according to the concept sound anywhere. E.g. the winters here, he winters there; it will not come—I will not rest, etc. etc. Ι The Poet exercises thought until it’s stripped down. Κ And if he’s Greek he must always study the fineness of Attica, in light, mountains, fields and sea. For this fineness teaches language. Λ And if he’s deeply destined the Poet expresses the unexplainable of the explained; he happens to be a rightful heir to the scientist and his predecessor. Μ On the froth he does not last; the Poet blusters at the bottom of the pot. Ν Flamebred and never redeemed. Ξ The Poet must sometimes say: what a consumption of presence — be a bit lonely for a change! Ο The Poet is twilit. Π He is susceptible of deaths and resurrections. Ρ He looks from the corner of his eye and exists in a glance. Σ He follows behind the mother. Τ Eveningless when it comes to age. Υ I believe in one Poet who says: let the purities coincide. Until the Corinth of the Universe or even further. Φ In a higher despair. Χ In a brighter quintessence. Ψ In one sensation that lifts off. Ω Forgiving everyone. CREDO (ως ε?θισται να λ?με λατινιστ?) Α Πιστε?ω εις ?να Ποιητ?ν εκτ?ς ουρανο? / φυγ?ς θε?θεν και αλ?της, Εμπεδοκλ?ς / και επ? της γης / εξ?ριστος π?νω στη γη κ.λπ. του Βωδελα?ρου /. Β Πιστε?ω εις ?να Υπολογιστ?ν εντ?ς κεραυνο? και δια της ?λης. Γ Υποφ?ροντας ?χραντα / ουσιαστικ?ν / ο Ποιητ?ς ανατε?νεται βραδυφλεγ?ς αυτ?χειρας εξυπακο?οντας πολ?ωρους ?πνους. Δ Τα υποψ?φια λ?θη λιγοστε?οντας. Ε Ορατ?ν τε π?ντων και αορ?των ιερουργ?ντας την αποκρομμ?ωση. Ζ Ο Ποιτ?ς ?χει τ?ποτα / βλ?πε τους αναχωρ?σαντες /. Η Πιστε?ω εις ?να Ποιητ?ν που λ?ει: η τρ?λα μ’ αρ?σει· γελοιοποιε? την ?παρξη· ας αν?ψω απ’ τη μ?να μου. Θ Συνταχτικ? δεν το γνοι?ζεται στην προσταγ? της μουσικ?τητας. Μαζ? και μ’ ?λλες ακ?μη λευτερι?ς, και τα νυ πα?ζονται κατ? την ?ννοια ?χος οπουδ?ποτε. Π.χ. τον χειμ?να εδ?, το χειμ?να εκε?· δε θ? ’ρθει – δεν θα καταλαγι?σουμε, κ. λπ. κ.λπ. Ι Ο Ποιητ?ς γυμν?ζει τη σκ?ψη σε απογ?μνωση. Κ Κι αν ε?ναι ?λληνας οφε?λει να σπουδ?ζει π?ντοτε της Αττικ?ς τη λεπτ?τητα, σε φως, βουν?, χωρ?φια και θ?λασσα. Διδ?σκει γλ?σσα η λεπτ?τητα το?τη. Λ Κι αν ε?ναι βαθι? πεπρωμ?νος ο Ποιητ?ς εκφρ?ζει το ανεξ?γητο του εξηγητο?· τυγχ?νει ν?μιμος δι?δοχος του επιστ?μονα και προκ?τοχ?ς του. Μ Στον αφρ? δεν ?χει δι?ρκεια· στο πατοκ?ζανο μα?νεται ο Ποιητ?ς. Ν Φλογοδ?αιτος και ποτ? ξελυτρωμ?νος. Ξ Ο Ποιητ?ς κ?ποτε πρ?πει να λ?ει: μεγ?λη καταν?λωση παρουσ?ας – γενε?τε και λ?γο μοναξι?ρηδες! Ο Ο Ποιητ?ς ε?ναι αμφ?φλοξ. Π Επιδ?χεται θαν?τους και αναστ?σεις. Ρ Ακροθωρ?ζει και υπ?ρχει σε ξαφνοκο?ταγμα. Σ Ε?ναι ουραγ?ς της μητ?ρας. Τ Αν?σπερος απ? ηλικ?α. Υ Πιστε?ω εις ?να Ποιητ?ν που λ?ει: να συμπ?σουν οι αγν?τητες. Μ?χρι την Κ?ρινθο του Σ?μπαντος ? μακρ?τερα. Φ Σε αν?τερη απελπισ?α. Χ Σε φαειν?τερη πεμπτουσ?α. Ψ Σε μια α?σθηση που πτηνο?ται. Ω Συγχωρ?ντας τους π?ντες. From Large Sized Logic [ Λογικ? μεγ?λου σχ?ματος ], Athens: Erato, 1989, n.p. [1993, II, 521-3]. (shrink)
In an interesting paper read some time ago to the Cambridge Philological Society , H. J. M. Milne analysed the first Ode of Sappho and showed that it is constructed according to those principles of poetical form which we should expect to find in the work of so delicate a Greek artist. If more of these lyrics had survived in their entirety, the task of expounding the technique of Greek poetry would be simpler than it is, because naturally (...) the principles are more easily grasped in a short lyric than in epic or drama. (shrink)
This series provides individual textbooks on early Greek poetry, on Greek drama, on philosophy, history and oratory, and on the literature of the Hellenistic period and of the Empire. A chapter on books and readers in the Greek world concludes Part 4. Each part has its own appendix of authors and works, a list of works cited, and an index.
This series provides individual textbooks on early Greek poetry, on Greek drama, on philosophy, history and oratory, and on the literature of the Hellenistic period and of the Empire. A chapter on books and readers in the Greek world concludes Part IV. Each part has its own appendix of authors and works, a list of works cited, and an index.