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READ DOWNLOAD õ Classical Literature (Pelican Introduction) Ø Any list of the six greatest European poets would include Virgil, Aeschylus and Homer A recent history of philosophy named Aristotle and Plato as two of the world s four greatest philosophers The greatest historian of all is likely to be Thucydides Why was Ancient Greek and Roman literature so great Sweeping across a thousand years, acclaimed professor Richard Jenkyns provides a lucid and lively introduction to the foundation of all Western literature As Jenkyns shows us, the Greeks were masters of invention they pioneered nearly all the major literary forms, including epic poetry, tragedy, comedy, and history The Romans, like us, already felt in the shadow of Greek literature, and, as Jenkyn puts it, they first invented imitation In short, engaging chapters, Jenkyns illuminates the most enduring and influential works of the classical world, from the Homeric epics to the golden age of Latin poetry, and explores their unparalleled and continuing influence on Western literature A nifty little tour of Ancient Greek and Roman literature, which really should have been the title of the book, it is also necessarily slightly superficial Still it is interesting enough to keep your interest going and it really picks up as you move away from thefamous Homeric and ancient Greek works and into lesser known authors of the Hellenistic and Roman world It is then in this later part of the book that you get some surprises, the accepted idea that Romans did littlethan imi A nifty little tour of Ancient Greek and Roman literature, which really should have been the title of the book, it is also necessarily slightly superficial Still it is interesting enough to keep your interest going and it really picks up as you move away from thefamous Homeric and ancient Greek works and into lesser known authors of the Hellenistic and Roman world It is then in this later part of the book that you get some surprises, the accepted idea that Romans did littlethan imitate Greek literature comes across as overly simplistic and it is in these original contributions that there are some gems to be found here It s actuallyinteresting to read about Virgil s Georgics or Juvenal s Satires than the Aeneid, you know that one already.It is in some ways similar to the Oxford Short Introduction on Classics by Mary Beard, but it isfocused on a whistle stop tour of the works and authors themselves and being over twice the size of it is aexhaustive list of those than the smaller volume An accessible read and one that s recommended if you have any interest in the subject at all Really, really excellent I didn t really expect a survey of Greek and Roman literature to be this lively and engaging, but it is Jenkyns gave me new things to appreciate in the works I ve already read, and made me eager to get to quite a few that I haven t yet gotten to Highly recommended. As a humanities major, I had read most of the ancient Greek writers major works Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Euripides, Sappho, Solon, Plato, Aristotle, Hesiod, Pindar, and many others But Richard Jenkyns Classical Literature An Epic Journey from Homer to Virgil and Beyond has not only reintroduced these major figures to me, but it has also revealed how complex their work was It s still amazing to read how profound they were at such an early point in we As a humanities major, I had read most of the ancient Greek writers major works Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Euripides, Sappho, Solon, Plato, Aristotle, Hesiod, Pindar, and many others But Richard Jenkyns Classical Literature An Epic Journey from Homer to Virgil and Beyond has not only reintroduced these major figures to me, but it has also revealed how complex their work was It s still amazing to read how profound they were at such an early point in western history They were laying a foundation for what followed, functioning as guides into the complexities of philosophy, history, drama, poetry, and even the novel Contemporary writers who haven t read their work are incomplete without it.Jenkyns, Emeritus Professor of the Classical Tradition and the Public Orator at the University of Oxford, has a fine ear for what sings in these early writers, his own prose clear and lilting In this example, Jenkyns is reflecting on the Odyssey In the Odyssey poets are honoured but subordinate people who perform in the halls of chieftains, a picture which surely reflects a historical reality It was a remarkable idea to give the greatest warrior imagination and sensitivity The poetry of his mind comes out in two strange similes that he uses In his most furious speech he likens himself to a bird collecting morsels for her young and going hungry herself an odd image, and for all his passion almost a humorous one Later, talking to Patroclus, he compares him to a little girl running alongside her mother and tugging her dress until the mother picks her up that simile is teasing and affectionate, but also self aware, for Achilles recognizes that he is going to give in to his friend s request And both times this supreme example of masculinity has the quirkiness to compare himself to a female No one else in the poem talks like this page 9 And no other classicist that I m aware of has made this observation, setting up Achilles as a very different tragic hero, one who isn t afraid of having feminine qualities as well as his obvious masculine ones Jenkyns ability to see these works freshly opens them up in new ways, offering thoughtful, nuanced interpretations We moderns tend to think we have progressed, leaving behind our forefathers mothers But just as with our biological parents, our belief that we have surpassed them and sometimes we have prevents us from really appreciating their gifts So too with our culture s classical period As a novelist, I was amazed to discover that while the 18th Century witnessed the rise of the novel as we know it, there were earlier writers already exploring that form The Golden Ass by Apuleius is the only ancient Roman novel AD 125 to survive in its entirety, a precursor to the episodic picaresque genre It contains several different narrators and stories, including Cupid and Psyche s tale Jenkyns translates what he believes to be the most sheerly beautiful sentences ever written in Latin prose She sees the festive tresses of his golden head drunken with ambrosia, the clusters of ringlets that roam over his milky neck and rosy cheeks beauteously trammeled, some hanging a little before, some hanging a little behind, at whose excess of brilliance, flashing like lightening, the very light of the lamp wavered Along the shoulders of the flying god dewy feathers glisten, their flowers sparkling, and although his wings are settling to rest, the ends of the featherlets, tender and delicate, wanton restlessly in tremulous dance p 240 It is gorgeous writing, and magical realism exists even then, each sentence swollen with those qualities that lift the reader from the mundane to the sublime The ringlets come across as in motion, and this god has flowering feathers that end in the featherlets tremulous dance The passage is a tour de force My comments here offer only a slice of what this study covers I hope you gentle readers and writers will make time to read this inspiring work It seems important in this tumultuous era to be grounded in material that still sings to us of what it means to be human And it s uplifting to be reminded that the ancients set us off on such a prolific path In Classical Literature An Epic Journey from Homer to Virgil and Beyond, Richard Jenkyns displays his extensive knowledge of the classics He surveys 1,000 years of classical Greek and Roman literature Jenkyns brings the greatest thinkers of classical literature to life through lively, engaging, and informed discussions of their work He sprints from one figure to the next, evaluating their work, expressing his opinions, challenging outworn interpretations while simultaneously dropping gems of In Classical Literature An Epic Journey from Homer to Virgil and Beyond, Richard Jenkyns displays his extensive knowledge of the classics He surveys 1,000 years of classical Greek and Roman literature Jenkyns brings the greatest thinkers of classical literature to life through lively, engaging, and informed discussions of their work He sprints from one figure to the next, evaluating their work, expressing his opinions, challenging outworn interpretations while simultaneously dropping gems of insight He discusses the plays of the great tragedian Aeschylus in new and thought provoking ways His sentences can take unexpected turns His views can be somewhat unorthodox as when, for example, he describes Sophocles Ajax as leaving us in a state of appalled wonderment Or when he says of the Romans that their original achievement was to invent imitation Throughout the work, Jenkyns peppers his analysis with humor and tongue in cheek irony, which makes for a thoroughly engaging and informative read The breadth and scope of his knowledge is impressive This book is highly recommended for those with an interest in Greek and Roman literature