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Backing into the Future: The Classical Tradition and Its Renewal

Backing into the Future: The Classical Tradition and Its Renewal

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by Bernard Knox

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Eminent classicist Knox mines history for insights into the renewal of cultural traditions in this miscellany of 18 previously published essays, reviews and lectures. In a panoramic survey of ``the Athenian century'' (fifth century B.C.), he assesses the achievements of Greek democracy. In another piece Knox ( The Oldest Dead White European Males ) muses on the Achilles of Homer's Iliad , whose stubborn attachment to an ideal image of self was his downfall. There is an engaging essay on Roman poet Ovid's fruitful exile afer emperor Augustus banished him to what is now Romania, and a meditation on how Plato, Socrates and Sophocles answered the question, ``How shall we live?'' Knox gauges modern encounters with classical tradition, such as T. E. Lawrence's immersion in Greek literature and philosophy, refracted through his travels in Arabia, and Derek Walcott's epic poem Omeros , which appropriates Homeric tradition to tell the saga of villagers in his native Caribbean island of St. Lucia. (Feb.)
Library Journal
What at first appears to be a self-aggrandizing collection of previously published introductions and reviews by Knox is that and much more. Knox ( The Oldest Dead White European Males , LJ 3/1/93) deals with several issues and questions of recent scholarship in the classics and thereby reveals how multicultural they actually are. As Knox shows, Homer, Catullus, and Euripides are poets whose talents still fascinate, and they are as worthy of study as, for example, Derek Walcott. Knox reviews Ovid's death in Asia as a superb study of a poet abandoned by his culture. Oedipus's agony holds as much meaning today as it once did, as do the very different emotions of Catullus. Certainly, the scene between Achilles and Priam speaks for fathers and sons everywhere. Knox claims that the lessons of scholarship are universal; his article about Marilyn Nussbaum and her work on Aristotle shows how great the scholarly opportunities presently are in philosophy and poetry. Recommended for all academic libraries.-- Clay Williams, Bluefield State Coll. Lib., W. Va.

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Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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Backing into the Future: The Classical Tradition and Its Renewal 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
manirul01 More than 1 year ago
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