The Greek Way. Edith Hamilton. Time, Inc. 1930 (12).
Why read It? The Athenians were a people who lived their view of truth which was many-sided and often contradictory. They accepted and lived the contradictions. They were individuals who also participated in the community. They were poets who were also soldiers. They needed to suffer in order to achieve exhilaration. The ancient Greeks’ view of life is summed up in this quotation from Edith Hamilton’s The Greek Way: “The Roman games played an important part in the life of the Romans, but, as has often been remarked, the Greeks played; the Romans watched others play.” P. 320.
When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, his brother Robert F. Kennedy was completely distraught. His sister-in-law Jackie Kennedy gave him a copy of The Greek Way. That book enabled Robert to survive the tragedy in his life. The Greek Way provided a model for how to deal with tragedy.
The purpose of this blog? To find interesting ideas in books.
“Within himself…no man is helpless.” P. 240. ………. “Sophocles is a Greek of the Greeks, lovers ever of antithesis and of a pithy saying.” P. 241. ………. “Sophocles is direct, lucid, simple, reasonable.” P. 242. ……….”Excess—the word is not to be mentioned in Sophocles’ presence.” P. 242. ………. “Restraint is Sophocles’ as no other writer’s.” p. 242. ………. “What joy is there in day that follows day/ now swift, now slow, and death the only goal.” P. 243. ………. “Sophocles: A great tragedian and a supremely great poet, and yet a detached observer of life.” P. 245. ………. “Sophocles and Milton are the two incomparable stylists.” P. 245. ………. Euripides: The Modern Mind. ………. “Euripides is the poet of the world’s grief.” P. 252. ………. “Out of the pages written more than twenty-three hundred years ago sound the two notes which we feel are dominant in our world today, sympathy with suffering and the conviction of the worth of everyone alive.” P. 252. ……….. “The modern minds in each generation are the critics who preserve us from a petrifying world, who will not leave us to walk undisturbed in the ways of our fathers.” P. 253. ………. Definition of “the modern mind”: “What is good in the age they live in they do not regard; their eyes are fixed on what is wrong.” P. 254. ………. “Isaiah stands with Euripides as the great example of the modern mind in literature.” P. 255.
To be continued.