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.".
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)
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)
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 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 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)
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)
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 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)
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)
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)
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)
The bulk of Henry's book is devoted to such a critical study. It has led him to a "singular disappointment" and to the conclusion that "we are not yet ready to interpret ancient histories, like the Hellenica". There is a general and a particular cause of the failure of nineteenth and twentieth century study of Greek historical writing. The general cause is insufficient attention to the peculiarity of Greek historiography as distinguished from its modern counterpart: the ancients did (...) not study history "for its own sake," since their approach was "esthetic". A moment's reflection on the historical origin of this meaning of "esthetic" would show the inadequacy of Henry's characterization of classical historiography. For the classical Greek, "history was a form of literature.... History is literature when an artist perceives the genius of an age and reveals it through the facts of history". This seems to be Henry's interpretation of a saying of Quintilian which he renders "History has a certain affinity to poetry". Granting for a moment that the three classical historians perceived the spirit of the ages which they described, was their primary intention to reveal those spirits? A glance at the openings of Herodotus' and Thucydides' works would show the impropriety of this suggestion. This is to say nothing of the fact that the suggestion could not be expressed in their language. However justified Henry's criticism of nineteenth and twentieth century students of classical Greek historiography may be, he shares with them the prejudice that "we know today" the meaning of historiography in general and of classical historiography in particular. (shrink)
Bits and snatches of the poetry, drama, philosophy, history and oratory of Greekliterature are gathered with minimal biographical and introductory notes. Only one translation is acknowledged, that of Aristophanes' The Birds. The selection, though varied, shows no underlying plan.—W. G. E.
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)
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)
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.