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)
German classicist's monumental study of the origins of European thought in Greekliterature and philosophy. Brilliant, widely influential. Includes "Homer's View of Man," "The Olympian Gods," "The Rise of the Individual in the Early Greek Lyric," "Pindar's Hymn to Zeus," "Myth and Reality in Greek Tragedy," and "Aristophanes and Aesthetic Criticism.".
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)
In this book, Matthew P. Meyer analyzes the archer and the bow as a metaphor for the human condition in Lacan, Nietzsche, and Greekliterature. The bow is a model of the tension at the heart of the human condition, while the archer is a symbol of control.
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)
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)
Oedipus the tyrant and the limits of political rationalism -- Blind faith and enlightened statesmanship in Oedipus at colonus -- The pious heroism of Antigone -- Conclusion: Nietzsche, Plato, and Aristotle on philosophy and tragedy.
This 1995 book takes as its starting point Plato's incorporation of specific genres of poetry and rhetoric into his dialogues. The author argues that Plato's 'dialogues' with traditional genres are part and parcel of his effort to define 'philosophy'. Before Plato, 'philosophy' designated 'intellectual cultivation' in the broadest sense. When Plato appropriated the term for his own intellectual project, he created a new and specialised discipline. In order to define and legitimise 'philosophy', Plato had to match it against genres of (...) discourse that had authority and currency in democratic Athens. By incorporating the text or discourse of another genre, Plato 'defines' his new brand of wisdom in opposition to traditional modes of thinking and speaking. By targeting individual genres of discourse Plato marks the boundaries of 'philosophy' as a discursive and as a social practice. (shrink)
This book is the first detailed study of the plays of Sophocles through examination of a single ethical principle--the traditional Greek popular moral code of "helping friends and harming enemies." Five of the extant plays are discussed in detail from both a dramatic and an ethical standpoint, and the author concludes that ethical themes are not only integral to each drama, but are subjected to an implicit critique through the tragic consequences to which they give rise. Greek scholars (...) and students of Greek drama and Greek thought will welcome this book, which is presented in such a way as to be accessible to specialists and nonspecialists alike. No knowledge of Greek is required. (shrink)
The Critical Circle investigates the hermeneutical circle involved in historical inquiry and literary criticism. Hoy attempts to analyze the interrelation of literary understanding and historical understanding, arguing for the essential interconnection of understanding, interpretation, and criticism. For Hoy, the account of the conditions for the possibility of understanding reveals the conditions for understanding and interpretation and sets the stage for explicating the role of criticism. According to the hermeneutical account, the understanding is conditioned by self-understanding, which is (...) "conditioned by the tradition in which it stands and the continuing community of researchers to which it relates". Such a hermeneutic rejects certain extreme dichotomies such as: objectivism-subjectivism; past-present; immanence-transcendence; literary understanding-historical understanding. (shrink)
The Critical Circle investigates the celebrated hermeneutic circle, especially as it manifests itself in historical inquiry and literary criticism. Formulated variously in different theories of hermeneutics, the circle generally describes how, in the process of understanding an interpretation, part and whole are related in a circular way: in order to understand the while, it is necessary to understand the parts, while to understand the parts it is necessary to have some comprehension of the whole. --from the Foreword This title (...) is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1982. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction; Part I. Theoretical Views about Pity and Fear as Aesthetic Emotions: 1. Drama and the emotions: an Indo-European connection? 2. Gorgias: a strange trio, the poetic emotions; 3. Plato: from reality to tragedy and back; 4. Aristotle: the first 'theorist' of the aesthetic emotions; Part II. Pity and Fear within Tragedies: 5. An introduction; 6. Aeschylus: Persians; 7. Prometheus Bound; 8. Sophocles: Ajax; 9. Euripides: Orestes; Appendix: catharsis and the emotions in the definition of tragedy (...) in the Poetics. (shrink)
The understanding of the soul in the West has been profoundly shaped by Christianity, and its influence can be seen in certain assumptions often made about the soul: that, for example, if it does exist, it is separable from the body, free, immortal, and potentially pure. The ancient Greeks, however, conceived of the soul quite differently. In this ambitious new work, Michael Davis analyzes works by Homer, Herodotus, Euripides, Plato, and Aristotle to reveal how the ancient Greeks portrayed and understood (...) what he calls “the fully human soul.” Beginning with Homer’s _Iliad_, Davis lays out the tension within the soul of Achilles between immortality and life. He then turns to Aristotle’s _De Anima_ and _Nicomachean Ethics_ to explore the consequences of the problem of Achilles across the whole range of the soul’s activity. Moving to Herodotus and Euripides, Davis considers the former’s portrayal of the two extremes of culture—one rooted in stability and tradition, the other in freedom and motion—and explores how they mark the limits of character. Davis then shows how _Helen_ and _Iphigeneia among the Taurians_ serve to provide dramatic examples of Herodotus’s extreme cultures and their consequences for the soul. The book returns to philosophy in the final part, plumbing several Platonic dialogues—the _Republic_, _Cleitophon_, _Hipparchus_, _Phaedrus_, _Euthyphro_, and _Symposium_—to understand the soul’s imperfection in relation to law, justice, tyranny, eros, the gods, and philosophy itself. Davis concludes with Plato’s presentation of the soul of Socrates as self-aware and nontragic, even if it is necessarily alienated and divided against itself. _The Soul of the Greeks_ thus begins with the imperfect soul as it is manifested in Achilles’ heroic, but tragic, longing and concludes with its nontragic and fuller philosophic expression in the soul of Socrates. But, far from being a historical survey, it is instead a brilliant meditation on what lies at the heart of being human. (shrink)
The arts of poetry and the arts of criticism are uncovered and studied in their products, in poems and in judgments. Poetry and criticism, however, the making and judging of poems, are processes. The study of literature as a product - existing poems and existing interpretations and appreciations of poetry - develops a body of knowledge which is sometimes called "poetic sciences." The recognition and use of poetic and critical processes - producing and judging poems which did (...) not previously exist, and uncovering and analyzing aspects of existing poems which were not previously discerned or appreciated - develop things and values by use of arts which are sometimes called "heuristic arts." Knowledge or science is used in the processes of deliberate or artful making; art or criticism is used in the production of things or knowledge of things, natural or artificial. Knowledge is a product of inquiry; criticism is a process of judgment; the two are joined - knowledge of things and use of knowledge - in critical inquiries or critiques of judgment. Richard McKeon is Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Greek at the University of Chicago; he was a member of the U.S. delegations to the first three General Conferences of UNESCO and served as U.S. counselor to UNESCO. His numerous publications include The Philosophy of Spinoza, Freedom and History, and Thought, Action, and Passion; he also has edited The Basic Works of Aristotle and coedited the forthcoming critical edition of Abailard's Sic et Non. His contributions to Critical Inquiry include "Canonic Books and Prohibited Books: Orthodoxy and Heresy in Religion and Culture" and Pride and Prejudice: Thought, Character, Argument, and Plot". (shrink)
From the curator of The New York Times's "The Stone," a provocative and timely exploration into tragedy--how it articulates conflicts and contradiction that we need to address in order to better understand the world we live in. We might think we are through with the past, but the past isn't through with us. Tragedy permits us to come face to face with what we do not know about ourselves but that which makes those selves who we are. Having Been Born (...) is a compelling examination of ancient Greek origins in the development and history of tragedy--a story that represents what we thought we knew about the poets, dramatists, and philosophers of ancient Greece--and shows them to us in an unfamiliar, unexpected, and original light. (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. Each part has its own appendix of authors and works, a list of works cited, and an index. This volume studies the revolutionary movement represented by the more creative of the Hellenistic poets and finally the very rich range of authors surviving from the imperial period, with rhetoric (...) and the novel contributing a distinctive flavour to the culture of the time. Appropriately enough, the volume closes with a survey of books and readers in the ancient world, which draws attention to the bookish nature of Greekliterature from the Hellenistic period onwards and points forward to its survival into the Middle Ages. (shrink)
As well as producing one of the finest of all poetic traditions, ancient Greek culture produced a major tradition of poetic theory and criticism. Halliwell's volume offers a series of detailed and challenging interpretations of some of the defining authors and texts in the history of ancient Greek poetics: the Homeric epics, Aristophanes' Frogs, Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Poetics, Gorgias's Helen, Isocrates' treatises, Philodemus' On Poems, and Longinus' On the Sublime. The volume's fundamental concern is with how (...) the Greeks conceptualized the experience of poetry and debated the values of that experience. The book's organizing theme is a recurrent Greek dialectic between ideas of poetry as, on the one hand, a powerfully enthralling experience in its own right and, on the other, a medium for the expression of truths which can exercise lasting influence on its audiences' views of the world. Citing a wide range of modern scholarship, and making frequent connections with later periods of literary theory and aesthetics, Halliwell questions many orthodoxies and received opinions about the texts analysed. The resulting perspective casts new light on ways in which the Greeks attempted to make sense of the psychology of poetic experience—including the roles of emotion, ethics, imagination, and knowledge—in the life of their culture. Readership: Scholars and students of Greekliterature, Greek poetics, and literary theory and criticism. (shrink)
This article examines the place of tragic poetry within the early history and development of ancient literary criticism. It concentrates on Euripides, both because his works contain many more literary-critical reflections than those of the other tragedians and because he has been thought to possess an unusually 'critical' outlook. Euripidean characters and choruses talk about such matters as poetic skill and inspiration, the social function of poetry, contexts for performance, literary and rhetorical culture, and novelty as an implied (...) criterion for judging literary excellence. It is argued that the implied view of literature which emerges from Euripidean tragedy is both coherent and conventional. As a critic, Euripides, far from being a radical or aggressively modern figure (as he is often portrayed), is in fact distinctly conservative, looking back in every respect to the earlier Greek poetic tradition. (shrink)
This volume ranges in time over a very long period and covers the Greeks' most original contributions to intellectual history. It begins and ends with philosophy, but it also includes major sections on historiography and oratory. Although each of these areas had functions which in the modern world would not be considered 'Literary', the ancients made a less sharp distinction between intellectual and artistic production, and the authors included in this volume are some of Europe's most powerful stylists: Plato, (...) Herodotus, Thucydides and Demosthenes. (shrink)
This historical survey of Greekliterature from 700 BC to 550 AD concentrates on the principal authors and quotes many passages from their work in translation, to allow the reader to form his own impression of its quality, including Homer, Plato, Aristophanes, and Euripides. Attention is drawn both to the elements in Greekliterature and attitudes to life which are unfamiliar to us, and to the elements which appeal most powerfully to succeeding generations. Although it is (...) recognized that this appeal lies above all in the most creative and inventive period, an account is given of the eight hundred years which followed, which saw the impact of earlier inspirations. Poetry, tragedy, comedy, history, science, philosophy, and oratory are all examined through the available literature. This new edition has been revised to take account of recent scholarship, such as the influence of oriental traditions of Greekliterature, and includes several new translations and a thoroughly updated bibliography. (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)