A fiercely independent thinker, colorful storyteller, and spirited teacher, David Grene devoted his life to two things: farming, which he began as a boy in Ireland and continued into old age; and classics, which he taught for several decades that culminated in his translating and editing, with Richmond Lattimore, the Complete Greek Tragedies. In this charming memoir, which he wrote before his death in 2002 at the age of eighty-nine, Grene weaves together these interests to tell a quirky and absorbing story of the sometimes turbulent and always interesting life he split between the University of Chicago—where he helped found the Committee on Social Thought—and the farm he kept back in Ireland. Grene’s form and humor are quite his own, and his brilliant storytelling will enthrall anyone interested in the classics, rural Ireland, or twentieth-century intellectual history, especially as it pertains to the University of Chicago. “An illuminating read for every classical scholar engaged with the current quest for the subject's roots, and the excavation of the way that it has evolved over the past century and a half.”—Edith Hall, Times Literary Supplement “David Grene reminds us of two crucial aspects of modern life exemplified by this rare individual. First is the symbiosis between the life of contemplation and action—and just how it is that hard physical and dirty work offers real value in rediscovering nature, bringing with it a certain pragmatism that permeates reading and thinking. . . . Second, Grene reminds us of what constitutes success in life.”—Victor Davis Hanson, New York Sun
David Grene (1913–2002) taught classics for many years at the University of Chicago. He was a founding member of the Committee on Social Thought and coedited the University of Chicago Press’s prestigious series the Complete Greek Tragedies.