Avenging Agamemnon, Compounding Tragedies, and Generational Trauma

The two reading lists that I am working my way through come together in today’s reading, which is “The Libation Bearer” by Aeschylus. In an early post, I tackled the first play of the trilogy, which was about how Agamemnon returned home from the Trojan war and subsequently was murdered by his wife, Clytaemnestra, for … Continue reading Avenging Agamemnon, Compounding Tragedies, and Generational Trauma

Harvard Classics April 6 — Wordsworth, Dictionaries, and Poetry in Our Lives

Wordsworth’s poems are today’s readings. We have poems about flowers, birds, old men, absent sons, and duty. It seems odd to try to pull an excerpt from a poem or even to reproduce an entire one here. The poems in the readding are “The Daffodils,” “To the Daisy,” To the Cuckoo,” “The Green Linnet,” “Written … Continue reading Harvard Classics April 6 — Wordsworth, Dictionaries, and Poetry in Our Lives

Harvard Classics April 6 – The Universe is Irrational, Be Good Anyway; A Roman Emperor’s Advice for a Good Life

When is comes to the secrets of success, the ruler of an empire might be a good source. In the April 6 reading, Eliot has us getting advice from Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius. While he did rule an empire, sometimes it still seems like Aurelius was figuring things out as he wrote … Continue reading Harvard Classics April 6 – The Universe is Irrational, Be Good Anyway; A Roman Emperor’s Advice for a Good Life

Harvard Classics, March 30: A 19th Century Italian Novel Predicts Behavior During the COVID19 Pandemic

Have you ever read something that amazed and depressed you at the same time? The reading for March 30 was a selection from I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed), an Italian novel by Alessandro Manzoni. The section covers the plague of Milan in 1630 and describes how people behaved in the town. If you had read … Continue reading Harvard Classics, March 30: A 19th Century Italian Novel Predicts Behavior During the COVID19 Pandemic

Harvard Classics March 9 – Jonathan Swift on Good Manners and Good Breeding

We need to proceed with caution on this, because Jonathan Swift was a satirist. Satire has been under a lot of pressure over the past four years, because reality has been so weird, that it is hard to actually write or perform something satirical anymore. Everyone has to stop and say, “Is this serious, because … Continue reading Harvard Classics March 9 – Jonathan Swift on Good Manners and Good Breeding

Harvard Classics March 8 – Don’t Ask Your Friend to Test Your Wife

Today’s reading is a variation on a story that has popped up in few places. Anselmo and Lothario are best friends, and then Anselmo marries Camilla. That doesn’t end the friendship, but Lothario doesn’t want to hang around his friend’s house and be a third wheel. All is well and good, but then Anselmo asks … Continue reading Harvard Classics March 8 – Don’t Ask Your Friend to Test Your Wife

Harvard Classics January 15 – Persian Poetry Passing as English Poetry

In this reading, we have the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam of Naishapur, a poem supposed written by a Persian astronomer and mathematician. For some reason, Dr. Eliot saw fit to include it in a volume of English Poetry because it was translated by Edward Fitzgerald.  Before we get to the meat of the matter, let … Continue reading Harvard Classics January 15 – Persian Poetry Passing as English Poetry

Harvard Classics Jan. 14 – Connecticut’s Constitution Prequel

In this reading we look at “The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut” from 1639. This is included as an example of an early organizing documents for European settlers in the new world. The document is primarily interesting for the early examples of things that ended up in the United States Constitution, including representative government for the … Continue reading Harvard Classics Jan. 14 – Connecticut’s Constitution Prequel