“It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force.”
Would you pick a fight with a god? Today, we read the opening of Euripides’ The Bacchae, which is the complaint of Dionysius, a sone od Zeus, that Pentheus, the king of Thebes has picked a fight with him. Now Cadmus yieldeth up his throne and use Of royal honour to his daughter's son Pentheus; … Continue reading Harvard Classics January 10 – Picking a Fight With a God
Men in row boats, carefully trained by their captain, wait until 3 a.m. to sneak ashore under a battery guns to attack a sleeping seaside town. The speed of their action, their weapons, and tactics confuse the defenders into thinking a much larger force has landed. They clear the town, and it is only until … Continue reading Harvard Classics January 9 – Commando Raid 16th Century Style!
The reading guide only gives us the first part of the Book of Job, which tells the story of how Satan tests Job to show Jehovah that Job’s faith is a fair-weather faith. What’s interesting is that the Book of Job is often described as God testing Job, but it seems that the Devil is … Continue reading Harvard Classics January 8 – The Book of Job, Testing Our Patience
Today's reading was the beginning of The Thousand and One nights. This is a collection of ancient Arabic stories, and the introduction says that the exact origin is not exactly clear. This collection of stories gives us Aladdin and his Magic Lamp and Ali Bab and the 40 Thieves, so the stories have held a … Continue reading Harvard Classics January 7 – The Thousand and One Nights Begin!
What a day for this reading. It is hard to process everything that has been going on at the U.S. Capitol today. In looking to find a little escape in literature, I discover that today's reading is from Virgil's Aeneid. In it, Aeneas is being advised by Hector's ghost that nothing can save Troy now, … Continue reading Harvard Classics January 6 — The Fall of Troy
Today’s reading took me more than 10 minutes. It is interesting how we can lose the habit of close reading if you don’t have the occasion to do it. One of the benefits of reading through these sets is that it is forcing me to read works that are challenging and attempt some intellectual heavy … Continue reading Harvard Classics January 5 – Byron, Goethe, Poetry, Genius & Society
Today’s reading is one of Grimm’s fairy tales that the note tells us the Grimm brothers heard from “Mr. Henry Crabbe Robinson, who learned it from an old woman.” The introductory notes explain that the Grimm brothers wanted to collect the stories of their home country. This particular story is about a man and his … Continue reading Harvard Classics January 4 – Grimm’s Fairy Tales
In the reading for January 3, we get a brief excerpt from Roman Senator Cicero’s book on Friendship. The reading drops us into the middle of a dialog about what friendship is. This was the Romans copying their Greek predecessors in using the dialog format. A couple of interesting things pop up in this dialog. … Continue reading Harvard Classics Cicero on Friendship
On Day 2, Eliot recommends we read John Milton’s poems, “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity,” “A Paraphrase on Psalm CXIV,” and “Psalm CXXXVI.” It’s kind of a fitting set of readings for the Christmas season, especially if you are part of a tradition that does not end on Christmas day, though many of us … Continue reading Harvard Classics Jan. 2 – John Milton’s Poems And More Thoughts About This Set