“I wish I had a more reliable way of figuring out how to write. It’s all just intuition and waking dreams.” – Robbie Arnott
Posts tagged "Socrates"
Have you ever met the Greeks? They bear the most vital, wondrous gifts…

Have you ever met the Greeks? They bear the most vital, wondrous gifts…

Nearly two and a half thousand years ago, a very old man slept in a bare prison cell. He was not alone, however. An old friend was watching over him, reluctant to wake him up to the day that would mark the end of his life. It is a cameo of extraordinary tenderness and humanity,...
It takes guts to make good art

It takes guts to make good art

“As for you, the vultures will feast on you!” With these words of visceral triumph (quite literally, since he has just thrust his spear into his fallen opponent’s underbelly), Hector, “preeminent among the war-loving Trojans”, finishes off Patroclus in Book XVI of Homer’s Iliad, but only after the latter had been struck down twice already,...
Old news: the origins of originality

Old news: the origins of originality

The ancient Greeks are old news to us, or so we appear to be claiming. For some, at this very specific moment in time, they are not just antiquated, or relegated to the shades of oblivion, they are practically obsolescent, an existential black hole, even a socio-political and ethical-historical anathema. The question of the Greeks...
Armand D'Angour: A classically philosophical life?

Armand D’Angour: A classically philosophical life?

There are books that leave you silent – with awe, or shock, or both. And then there are some others that make you yearn for the space in between silence and voice: for a space for more of the author’s thoughts, a space for questions, for engaged and engaging exchanges. Armand d’Angour’s books belong to...
Before the beginning of years

Before the beginning of years

A chorus from Swinburne’s 1865 play Atalanta in Calydon was once an almost self-standing poetic topos, the expression perhaps of a particular moment in the progression of the human psyche – or of the temporal course of eternity, to fiddle with T.S. Eliot’s famous take on the pastness of the past and its presence. Before...
Modern fiction

Modern fiction

Reading Andrea Marcolongo’s The Ingenious Language: Nine Epic Reasons to Love Greek in certain ways lives up to its English title in providing an epic experience (the Italian original’s simpler 9 ragioni… emphasises the more light-heartedly catchy, yet didactic underpinnings of the text, rather than its epic claims, significance or proportions). As Marcolongo reminds us...
From heaven to earth

From heaven to earth

One of the most striking characteristics of Socrates, as we know him from Plato, Plutarch, Xenophon, Cicero or Diogenes Laertius, and the numerous, yet exasperatingly fragmentary sources that survive, was his talent for convincing his interlocutors of his utter ignorance of any subject – his signature style was to present himself to the unwary as...
Don't hurry over them

Don’t hurry over them

John Gaskin (he likes to write his first name with a soupçon of Hellenic omega in its spelling) is a rather extraordinary man. A banker quickly turned philosopher and academic, he has been lecturing and writing prolifically on almost all things ancient for more than half a century. Revered for his scholarship and mellifluous paeans...
Man the measure

Man the measure

Back in the roaring Sixties and Seventies, literary criticism and especially the philosophy of literary aesthetics and of socio-political analysis through literary texts acquired a distinctly ‘cool’ status. At last, academia was coming out of the dusty cupboards, climbing down from its ivory towers and marching into the streets arm in arm with the most...
Gods of human folly

Gods of human folly

Today, the very mention of the word myth raises eyebrows of incredulity at best, or provokes reactions of mild or not so mild dismissal from those whose truculent rational mind is the unfailing compass of their souls and everyday lives. A myth is to most people today a synonym for lies, fabrications, fairy tales and...