By Richard Jenkyns
The writings of the Greeks and Romans shape the bedrock of Western tradition. Inventing the molds for histories, tragedies, and philosophies, whereas pioneering radical new sorts of epic and poetry, the Greeks and Romans created the literary international we nonetheless inhabit this day. Writing with verve and perception, extraordinary classicist Richard Jenkyns explores 1000 years of classical civilization, wearing readers from the depths of the Greek darkish a long time in the course of the glittering heights of Rome’s empire.
Jenkyns starts off with Homer and the delivery of epic poetry ahead of exploring the hypnotic poetry of Pindar, Sappho, and others from the Greek darkish a while. Later, in Athens’s classical age, Jenkyns indicates the unconventional nature of Sophocles’s option to painting Ajax as a psychologically wounded warrior, how Aeschylus constructed tragedy, and the way Herodotus, in “inventing history,” dropped at narrative an epic and tragic caliber. We meet the strikingly sleek determine of Virgil, suffering to reflect epic artwork in an age of empire, and event the affection poems of Catullus, who imbued verse with obsessive ardour as by no means earlier than. Even St. Paul and different early Christian writers are artfully grounded the following of their classical literary context.
A dynamic and accomplished advent to Greek and Roman literature, Jenkyns’s Classical Literature is vital studying for an individual looking a deeper knowing of the classics—and the intense origins of Western tradition.
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Extra resources for Classical Literature: An Epic Journey from Homer to Virgil and Beyond
511) ‘Une langue de femme n’est bonne qu’à torcher un cul’ (p. ’ (p. 422) he tells Duclos, the female narrator, 40 Sade whose tongue is employed to tell stories on command for men and who is herself, therefore, an arse-licker of sorts. 13 On the other hand, the choice of female narrators is characteristic of the eighteenthcentury novel, and even of libertine writing, in which it carries appreciable erotic advantages. 14 Against the hatred of women in general and the maternal in particular, identifiable so often at the surface of the Sadean text, Frappier-Mazur’s analysis thus suggests the possibility of a lingering unconscious erotic dependency on the mother.
Secondly, style and structure are informed by a ‘contained and single-minded vision’: the classical utopia is a fortress. 19 This classical modelling has implications for the reader’s role, to which we shall return later. First, we shall examine how the entire framework of Les 120 Journées is dictated by order and systematisation. Number and symmetry dominate the structure and meanings of Les 120 Journées to an obsessive degree. In all Sade’s writing, symmetry governs the constructions of the living tableaux, in which men and women are sexually linked to each other as in a chain or rosary beads, or the human towers of circus acrobats.
The latter are brutally punished if their chamber pots are found to be full in the mornings, and there are similar consequences if they are found to have wiped their bottoms without permission. Eventually, it is forbidden to shit anywhere, or even to fart, except directly into the mouth of a libertine. Just as details of stronger perversions are withheld until a time deemed appropriate for their revelation, so the defecation of victims is placed under systems of sadistic control by the libertines which ensure the retention of faeces until a similarly appropriate time.