A Classical Introduction

My father loved to recite  Shakespeare and Dryden and Milton . Perhaps that set the seeds of what I was to like in my life . In my early twenties , I encountered an article about “The Great Books of the Western Civilization” and what started as a trickle of interest in my early 20s has became a deluge that I have to address.  This post is an introduction to this category “Reviews on Literature”. This category is where I put in my two cents about ancient literature. I welcome comments , brickbats , bouquets , donations to my secret Swiss account (I am quite flexible in that regard, I can also accept donations via PayPal or bitcoin or wire transfers to my Cayman islands account) . I keep hearing that money is the root of all evil ,so I have decided to sacrifice myself for my human brethren and consign my immortal soul to perdition. I am working on considering myself a charitable institution , friendly to all religions , political parties and ideologies . The IRS seems to have other ideas on that matter but for now , donate away .

Coming back to the classics , I have had an incessant urge to read these books even though nothing in my background prepares me for it and if anything I have had the interesting experience of encountering naysayers who believe that it is impossible to read and understand Shakespeare or ancient Greek Literature without help. But nothing can be further from the truth , if anything most of these works pertain to the human condition and they speak to all of us , moreover I had once read that the hallmark of a great work is that you can read it after 10 years and discern another layer of meaning that was not evident on the first read . A Great work is like an onion  , hopefully we wont cry as we peel the layers   . The Iliad and Odyssey are epics in dactylic (heroic) hexameter verse . On another note ,personally speaking ‘heroic’ suits me fine ,    I have always liked the idea of doing something heroic but have been stumped for lack of a suitable objective but I finally found one in the sport of competitive couch lounging . Though the space on my couch would probably fit about half a dozen individuals comfortably , the moment I sit down , my cats decides to compete with that space , actually both of them sometimes decide to compete with me as well as with each other . Sometimes their enthusiasm gets quite contagious and one or both of them manage to bury their razor sharp claws into my legs which usually leads to me or them leaping up 3 feet in the air like the Chinese martial artists  from those old Kung Fu movies  . All of this seemed to have all the elements of an active athletic lifestyle and I decided that this was my calling in life so I started practicing for the (future Olympic) sport of competitive “Couch lounging” . But I am distinctly discouraged by what I see as the glacial pace of progress on that front.  In spite of incessant (and somewhat scathing) letters to the Olympic committee , there seems to be no interest in entering the sport of “couch lounging” into their list of athletic events and I will address the apathy of said individuals in a suitably titled blog in the future. Coming back to the classics  , the complexities of understanding hexameter skipped me completely , partly because theory bores me and partly because I come from a boring theoretical technical background so I focused instead on the story and the poetry when I could appreciate it and that is pretty much what I will focus on , for every book that is reviewed here

The books have been picked from the list provided by  How to Read a Book and the reading list used by St Johns College 



One thought on “A Classical Introduction

  1. I think couch lounging would make a wonderful Olympic sport. It would certainly prove inspirational to me and the many other amateur couch loungers watching it on TV.

    If the Olympic Committee will not budge on the issue of inclusion, then the only other suggestion I have for getting your talents recognized is to lounge in the middle of the floor at MOMA and call yourself a performance artist.

    Liked by 1 person

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