Advertisement

Review articles

  • Hayden W. Ausland
  • Felicia Bonaparte
  • Theodore Ziolkowski
Article
  • 57 Downloads

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    John Sallis,Chorology. On Beginning in Plato's Timaeus (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press 1999), XI + 172 pp.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The Cambridge Companion to George Eliot, edited by George Levine (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2001), XVIII + 248 pp.Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    See P. Shorey, “The Interpretation of theTimaeus. I”,American Journal of Philology 9 (1888), 395–418 (reprinted in Shorey,Selected Papers II, ed. L. Tarán [New York and London: Garland, 1980], 125–149), here 407f. (138f.). The dialogue and its literary interpretation pose difficult problems confronted already by Plato's immediate successors in a conversation sustained throughout antiquity and beyond to the present. Prominent among these was a question pursued by Plutarch whether the formation of the world-soul described by Timaeus is meant literally or figuratively. Although its more particular teachings were regularly isolated and treated in doxographical form, the dialogue itself remained, through chalcidius' translation, of exceptional significance for a Latin discussion otherwise effectively denied direct access to Plato's works. When Arabic philosophy reintroduced the study of Greek thought to Europe, Aristotle's references to the Platonic dialogues were in this instance recognizable; for such access to most other Platonic texts the West had to await the efforts of Ficino. Thus natural to the modern manner of treating the dialogues that Friedrich Schleiermacher introduced in 1804 was not only an assumption that theTimaeus stands at the end of Plato's philosophy, but that its proper understanding comes from an appreciation of its peculiar literary character.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 2.
    Friedlaender was a partly wayward student of Nietzsche's nemesis Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff. His method was invoked later by Jacob Klein, who, together with Leo Strauss, had taken his departure from Heidegger, among others. Klein follows Friedlaender in tracing his method to the ancient Greek commentators. Strauss took his inspiration from the medieval Arabic tradition. For references to these scholars, see Section 3 of the Preface to J. Sallis,Being and Logos. Reading the Platonic Dialogues, Third Edition (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press: 1996), 12–22, contrasting the Prologue toChorology. For retrospective connections between his own earlier and later works, see Sallis, xvi–xvii andChorology 23–24. For the postmodern character of Sallis' new beginning, cf.Chorology “Acknowledgements” and 99 n. 8 with J. Derrida,Khôra (Paris: Editions Galilée, 1993; Eng. trans. in Id.,On the Name, ed. T. Dutoit [Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995], 86ff.), on which Sallis is heavily reliant both conceptually and thematically. On Derrida's own argument, see C. Zuckert,Postmodern Platos (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 235–43.Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    Chorology 65ff. Taylor reviews previous interpretations at length (A. E. Taylor,A Commentary on Plato's Timaeus [Oxford, Clarendon, 1928], 109–127) deciding that none is satisfactory and offering his own. Here he premises, “We are not at liberty to reason as though Timaeus had read the works of Plato …” (127), concluding that “The ‘psychogony’ of our dialogue is throughout Pythagorean… It is emphatically not Plato's own doctrine…” (133 n. 1). Proclus' reading was resuscitated by G. M. A. Grube (“The Composition of the World-Soul inTimaeus 35 A-B”Classical Philology 27 [1932], 80–82), who is followed by F. M. Cornford (Plato's Cosmology [London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd., 1937], 59–61). That one need not see the same doctrines in order to respect the similarity in the invocations of “the same and the other” in different dialogues had been indicated already by P. Shorey (“Recent Interpretations of theTimaeus”, Classical Philology 23 [1928], 343–362 [=Id., P. ShoreySelected Papers II, 187–207], 352; cf. Id. P. Shorey, “TheTimaeus of Plato. II,”American Journal of Philology 10 [1889], 45–78 [reprinted in Id. P. Shorey,Selected Papers II, 151–185], 52 [159]). But neither can one therefore simply identify “the same and the different” in theTimaeus with “indivisible substance and divisible substance.” For the history of this error during the previous century, see E. Zeller,Die Philosophie der Griechen in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung, II.i, vierte Auflage (Leipzig: Fues, 1889), 769ff. n. 1 (=Eng. trans. in Id. E. Zeller,Plato and the Older Academy, new edition, tr. S. F. Alleyne and A. Goodwin [London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1888], 342f. n. 125); cf. H. Cherniss,Aristotle's Criticism of Plato and the Academy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1944), 409 n. 337. Sallis will nonetheless speak of “multiple facets of a single blending” (68), invoking Nietzsche's precedent.Google Scholar
  6. 4.
    Cf.Chorology 77–85 with R. Brague,Du Temps chez Platon et Aristote (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1982)Google Scholar
  7. 5.
    Chorology 104f., 111 nn. 21 and 22, 113 n. 23, and 114f.Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    Cf. H. Cherniss, “The Sources of Evil According to Plato,”Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 98 (1954) 23–30 (reprinted in Id.,Selected Papers, Ed. L. Tarán [Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1977], 253–60).Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    Cf. S. Benardete,The Argument of the Action. Essays on Greek Poetry and Philosophy. (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 376.Google Scholar
  10. 8.
    Ross,Aristotle's Physics. A revised text with introduction and commentary [Oxford: Clarendon, 1936], 22 and 24)Google Scholar
  11. 9.
    Solmsen, F., Prete, S. 1961Aristotle's Word for ‘Matter’Didascaliae. Studies in Honor of A. M. AlbaredaB. M. RosenthalNew York396408Google Scholar
  12. 10.
    Alex. Aphr.,Quaest. 1.1.4–9 Bruns).Google Scholar

References

  1. 1.
    The Secular Pilgrims of Victorian Fiction: The Novel as Book of Life (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kate Flint, “George Eliot and gender,” pp. 159–180.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    “George Eliot and the Classics,”Notes and Queries, 13 Dec. 1947, p. 545; 27 Dec. 1947, p. 565.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The Victorians and Ancient Greece (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980), esp. ch. 6 (“George Eliot and the Greeks,” pp. 112–132); cf. also Jenkyn'sDignity and Decadence: Victorian Art and the Classical Inheritance (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992) (see “Index”).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    George Eliot's Life as Related in her Letters and Journals, ed. John Walter Cross, 3 vols. (1885; New York: Merrill and Baker, n.d.), vol. 3, 353; cf.The George Eliot Letters, ed. Gordon S. Haight, VII.1878–1880 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978), 345 (her intention to seeAgamemnon).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Aristotle: a chapter from the history of science, including analyses of Aristotle's scientific writings (London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1864); see also, e.g., hisBiographical history of philosophy, vol. 1:Ancient philosophy (London, Charles Knight & Co., 1845).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    William Baker,The George Eliot-Georg Henry Lewes Library, (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1977), p. xxiii.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Geschichte des Drama's, 13 vols. (Leipzig: T.O. Weigel, 1865–76), vol. 1–2:Das griechische und römische Drama (vol. 1:Einleitung. Griechische Tragödie [1874]; vol. 2:Die griechische Komödie und das Drama der Römer [1865]). These two volumes are listed among the works included in the Dr. Williams Library. As Baker (above, n. 7)The George Eliot-George Henry Lewes Library, (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1977) indicates (p. 109), the volumes show some of Eliot's marginal linings; in addition, on the back pages of Volume 1, Eliot also jotted down the pages of subjects that interested her.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Although it was Jebb who was to become more directly embroiled in the controversy that erupted in the 1880s over the dating of strata at Hissarlik (see David A. Traill, “Schliemann and His Academic Employees,” in William M. Calder III and Justus Cobet, eds.,Heinrich Schliemann nach hundert Jahren [Frankfurt/Main: Klostermann, 1990], pp. 237–255; I am grateful to Professor Wolfgang Haase for introducing me to this volume), it was at Jowett's and much earlier—in 1877—that Eliot entered the debate over the value of Schliemann's work (see Gordon Haight,George Eliot: A Biography [New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968], p. 502). The Calder/Cobet volume also contains an interesting essay by John Vaio on “Gladstone and the Early Reception of Schliemann in England” (pp. 415–430; cf. Idem, “Schliemann and Gladstone: New Light from Unpublished Documents”, in: Joachim Hermann [ed.],Heinrich Schliemann. Grundlagen und Ergebnisse moderner Archäologie 100 Jahre nach Schliemanns Tod [Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1992], 73–76). For some more Victorian reactions to Schliemann see Frank M. Turner,The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981), 180–186.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    The Victorians & Ancient Rome (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 1997).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    We know that Eliot knew Müller's work. Among the books at the Dr. Williams Library is a copy of Volume I of Müller'sHistory of the Literature of Ancient Greece, published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge which has asked to publish it in a translation by George Cornewall Lewis and had done so, in 1840, even before the work had been made available in German (see # 1530 in Baker; cf. # 466 in Wolfhart Unte, and Helmut Rohling, eds.,Quellen für eine Biographie Karl Otfried Müllers (1979–1840). Bibliographie und Nachlaß [Hildesheim, Zürich and New York: Georg Olms, 1997], p. 58). In addition, in an entry in her Journal for January 23, 1869, Eliot refers to having browsed through Elizabeth Caroline Gray's loose translation of K.O. Müller's 1828 workDie Etrusker (Letters, V [1955], 6; cf. # 481 in Unte/Rohling, p. 60:Manners and Customs, Religions and Arts of the Etruscans. Freely translated from the German by E.C.G. [London: Hatchard, 1843]). And most importantly, in her review of Robert William Mackay's seminal volumeThe Progress of the Intellect, as Exemplified in the Religious Development of the Greeks and Hebrews (London: J. Chapman, 1850), which appeared in theWestminster Review (LIV [January, 1851], 353–368; the essay is reprinted by Robert Pinney inEssays of George Eliot [New York: Columbia University Press, 1963], pp. 27–45), Eliot discusses at some length, partly in connection with Mackay who is very much indebted to Creuzer, and partly on her own account, the competing views on myth of Karl Otfried Müller, on the one hand, and those, on the other, of Friedrich Creuzer in his extremely important bookSymbolik und Mythologie der alten Völker, besonders der Griechen (4 vols. [Leipzig: Leske, 1810–12; 2nd expanded ed., ibid. 1819–1828; 3rd ed. ibid. 1836–1843; repr. Hildesheim and New York: Georg Olms, 1973–1990]). Many have assumed that Creuzer was the model for Casaubon (see, for example, Emery Neff,The Poetry of History: The Contribution of Literature and Literary Scholarship to the Writing of History Since Voltaire [New York: Columbia University Press, 1947], p. 106 and Haight,Biography, p. 80) and there are some parallels that can mislead us in this direction, not the least of which is the fact that Casaubon is shown to get lost in his mythological research when he comes to the Cabeiri (Chapter 20). These deities were of great interest to Creuzer but he was far from alone in this interest. In hisDie Kabiren in Teutschland (Erlangen: Palm und Enke, 1832), Christian Carl Barth is far more centrally interested in these elusive figures as is George Stanley Faber in hisA Dissertation on the Mysteries of the Cabiri; or, the Great Gods of Phenicia, Samothrace, Egypt, Troas, Greece, Italy, and Crete (2 vols. [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1803]). It is probably Faber not Creuzer who is the model for Casaubon and what makes him the likelier choice is simply that he is one of the last to take precisely Casaubon's view that the mythologies of the pagans (whom he generally calls the “profane”, a word that tells the entire story) are corruptions of divine truths once revealed by the Judeo-Christian deity. Creuzer, although he believes there is corruption the farther we are removed from the urmyths of the species, is thinking not of a Judeo-Christian deity but of a pure and divine light that had been granted to early peoples. This was generally the view also of those early German Romantics to whom Eliot herself was indebted, and it was against this view that K.O. Müller offered his more scientific theory. Eliot's position, as she makes clear in her discussion of Mackay's book, is not so much between Müller and Creuzer but one that rather embraces both. Never inclined to reject science, Eliot sees all the virtues of Müller. But never prepared to forego the transcendent, she likes the idea of Creuzer as well. My sense is that Eliot's position is typical and that both Creuzer and Müller had a serious influence on Victorian thought and literature. For a somewhat different view see Robert Ackerman, “K.O. Müller in Britain,” in William M. Calder III and Renate Schlesier, eds.,Zwischen Rationalismus und Romantik: Karl Otfried Müller und die antike Kultur (Hildesheim: Weidmann, 1998), pp. 1–17, briefly dealing with George Eliot on pp. 7 (n. 10)The Victorians & Ancient Rome (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. 1977) and 17. for my acquaintance with this volume also, as well as with the one by Unte/Rohling cited earlier in this note, I am indebted to Professor Wolfgang Haase.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    I mention Herodotus but Eliot invokes many other historians as well to act as paradigms in her novel. Prominent among these is Plutarch. In his long discussion of Plutarch and his place in Victorian thought (Who Needs Greek? Contests in the Cultural History of Hellenism [Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2002], Chapter 5), Simon Goldhill reminds us that Eliot has one of her characters inMiddlemarch end by writing a children's book called “Stories of Great Men, taken from Plutarch.” Goldhill thinks it is “hard to determine” what Eliot's “interest” was in Plutarch (p. 287) but it seems easy enough to see what her purpose is in this novel. In its complex narrative structure, Mary, the author of this book, is a shadow of the heroine who is looking for some way to “lead a grand life here—now—in England” (Chapter 3). Eliot sees nineteenth-century England—confused, chaotic, incoherent—as a time and place in which grandeur is difficult to achieve, especially difficult for a woman, and whether the heroine, Dorothea, has achieved it by the end may not be, Eliot seems to be thinking, altogether clear to the reader. Although her influence has been great, and even had political consequences in that her husband, swayed by her, has now become a Member of Parliament working to right the wrongs of the nation, she has still remained obscure, much like the rivers described by her uncle who run underground in Greece (Chapter 5). Mary's book, which is introduced in this identical “Finale,” is an interpretative lens for the reader. What Mary has written, Eliot is saying, is what Dorothea has lived.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    On thetheogamia with Dionysus on the Anthesteria see, e.g., Richard Hamilton,Choes and Anthesteria (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992); A. Avagianou,Sacred Marriage in the Rituals of Greek Religion (Bern & New York: P. Lang, 1991), pp. 177–198; N. Richardson, “Athens' Festival of the New Wine,”Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 95 (1993), pp. 197–250.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Eliot's essay “The Antigone and Its Moral” appeared in theLeader, VII (29 March 1856), 306. The New edition of the play wasThe Antigone of Sophocles, With Short English Notes for the Use of Schools (Oxford: J.H. & J. Parker, 1855) (no editor mentioned).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ovid,Metamorphoses 8.174–182; Hyginus,De astronomia II,5.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    The Theory of the Novel, trans. Anna Bostock (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1971), p. 41 (“Die Theorie des Romans. Ein geschichtsphilosophischer Versuch über die Formen der großen Epik,”Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft XI (1916), 225–271 and 390–431 (first published as a book with the same title: Berlin: P. Cassirer, 1920).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    “Silas Marner', and the New Mythus,”Criticism 18 (1976): 101–121.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Machiavelli surfaces as an image in English fiction even before the nineteenth century. Ann Radcliffe's fascination, for instance, with Italians who wield power invariably in some sinister way (An Italian Romance, 1791;The Italian, 1797; and, most compellingly perhaps,The Mysteries of Udolpho, 1794, in which the dark figure of Signor Montoni creates a virtual archetype for Victorian literature) is surely, though his name is not mentioned., to be traced back to Machiavelli. The nineteenth century follows suit. There are a few important exceptions, the historian T.B. Macaulay being one. Reviewing, in 1827 inThe Edinburgh Review, the publication two years earlier of Machiavelli's works in France, Macaulay begins by arguing that the man was utterly honorable. He does so, however, because he, knows, as he says, that no “name in literary history” is as “generally odious” as his. Indeed, that is the view most take. Thomas Carlyle refers to him frequently in hisHistory of the French Revolution (1837) and speaks of “hollow Machiavelism” as one of the causes, along with “Scepticism” and “Sensualism,” of the bloodiness of the revolution (Book III, Chapter 1). In fiction, one very striking example is the character of Fosco in Wilkie Collins's novelThe Woman in White (1860). A “wily and suspicious” Italian, Fosco holds everyone in his power, producing the disastrous consequences from which the hero, a noble artist, must save the damsel in distress. This association, moreover, is not limited to men. InA Terrible Temptation (1871), Charles Reade speaks of his heroine, although with humor at a moment when she uses her feminine wiles, as “a Machiavel in petticoats” (Chapter XXVII). The image is so fully established that Edward Bulwer-Lytton, for instance, can play against it inMy Novel (1853) by creating an Italian who is a reader of Machiavelli and whom everyone takes to be the incarnation of evil thoughts only to find that he is, in fact, a likeable, God-fearing man. And, to add just one more instance, Machiavelli in his own person appears as an important character in George Eliot's novelRomola (1863). Representing the machinations of a kind ofRealpolitik, he stands as the antithesis to the higher and nobler ends epitomized by Christian ideals as figured in Savonarola.—For reception of Machiavelli in general see Giuliano Procacci,Machiavelli nella cultura europea dell'età moderna (Roma, Bari: Editori Laterza, 1995), especially “Letture e interpretazioni machiavelliane tra illuminismo e romanticismo” (pp. 341–379) and “Machiavelli nella storiografia della prima metà del XIX secolo” (pp. 381–419).Google Scholar

References

  1. 19.
    For another view of the ways in which the classics are connected to England and its imperial designs, see Victoria Tietze Larson, “Classics and the acquisition and validation of power in Britain's ‘imperial century’ (1815–1914),” in this journal (IJCT), 6 (1999–2000): 185–225.Google Scholar
  2. 20.
    A scene very much like this one in Eliot is to be found inThe Man of Property in John Galsworthy'sThe Forsyte Saga (1906–1921), a series of narratives often taken to be the height of mimetic realism but which, in fact, are frequently mythical, beginning with the name of the family, a translation of Prometheus, for the focus of theSaga is the very civilization attributed mythically to this Titan. Many and varied myths are embodied in the course of these long tales but the heroine, Irene, is primarily associated with the figure of Persephone. Described as a “flower” just “opening,” Irene has built for her a house on a site called Robin Hill (to suggest the season of spring) which looks out on a field of “corn” (The Man of Property, V). She is abducted and almost abducted many times in the course of this story, and sometimes, as the author explores the ironies of the modern world, by figures not quite appropriate for it, but once by the man who is her Hades in his role as a god of fertility (IX). Corn is a common Victorian device for suggesting the myth of Persephone. George Gissing, thus, in his novelThe Whirlpool (1897), has only to mention that one of his characters, having tried religion and law, ends up entering the corn trade, to tell us, as he proceeds to do, that he worships “Mother Earth” (III, 1). Names (as with the Forsytes in Galsworthy) are often a clue to the myths being invoked and while a nineteenth-century writer is not likely to use Persephone or even Demeter as a name for a character in a novel, there are many obvious substitutes that cannot but suggest this myth. Alluding to her “maiden bloom” (XLIII), Dickens, for instance, names the heroine of hisDombey and Son (1847–8) Florence and picks a variation, Flora, for her counterpart inLittle Dorrit (1855–7). Both of these women have the function of bringing to life those dead in spirit, as does the “blooming” Lucie Manette in hisA Tale of Two Cities (1859). Dividing the goddess into two characters, George Meredith likewise inRhoda Fleming (1865) names his Persephones Rhoda and Dahlia. Their mother, a gardener who grows poppies, is an obvious Demeter figure. Meredith is much concerned not only with these mythic paradigms but with the ways in which these myths are misunderstood in the modern world, even by his characters who think in material terms, not in mythic ones, and much of the tragedy of this novel is the result of actions taken by those who fail to grasp these myths. This subject also haunts Thomas Hardy who reenacts the myth of Perspehone in virtually every novel he writes. It is just such a misunderstanding, a misapprehension of her own nature, that causes Tess inTess of the d'Urbervilles (1891) to reject the character in whom Hades is embodied and to marry Apollo instead, with predictably deadly results. InDesperate Remedies (1871), which reflects the popular Victorian passion for comparative mythology, the character named Cytherea is clearly an Aphrodite figure but also a Demeter/Persephone, a “maiden”, as she is often called, with hair of “corn yellow” and a glow that recalls a “bright-red poppy” (III). As does Meredith, Hardy here, and in many of his novels, splits his mythic representations, creating another Cytherea who embodies Vergil's Venus, Vergil's epic being the paradigm on which the novel's frame is built. (Hardy calls his hero Aeneas just in case we miss the point.) These splits suggest the fragmentation that marks the thought of the modern world, the mechanization of the organic, the shattering of mythic power. Hardy was a friend of Meredith's and D.H. Lawrence, who saw himself as inheriting Hardy's mantle, writes of myths in the same manner, lamenting the passing of Persephone among other fertility gods: “‘Knowledge’ [by which he means mostly science] has killed the sun, making it a ball of gas, with spots; ‘knowledge’ has killed the moon.” We have to find a way, he writes, “back to Apollo and Attis, Demeter, Persephone, and the halls of Dis” (Apropos of Lady Chatterley's Lover [London: M. Secker, 1931], pp. 86–7). Predictably, the myth turns up in the graphic arts as well, in Frederick Leighton's painting, for instance, entitledThe Return of Perspehone (1891) and in a number of designs for wallpaper by William Morris, his “Poppy” and his “Pomegranate” being the two most striking perhaps. A very short list of additional works in which the myth of Persephone figures in nineteenth-century literature is to be found in my “The Deadly Mis-reading of Mythic Texts: Thomas Hardy'sTess of the d'Urbervilles” which appeared in “Classical Mythology and Nineteenth-Century English Literature,” a special thematic issue of this journal:IJCT 5.3 (Winter 1999), pp. 415–431 (see pp. 420–421), an excellent collection of essays that shed some new and exciting light on the subject of the uses to which the classics were being put in the nineteenth century.Google Scholar
  3. 21.
    It is greatly to be regretted that there is not only no study but very little recognition of this metaphoric function in Victorian thought of Thucydides. His popularity was immense. This was due in part to the fact that Thomas Arnold, devoted to him and editor of a superb edition published in 1830–5, taught the countless boys who passed through the halls of Rugby School during his very long tenure there (fourteen of which he served as headmaster: 1828–42) not only to read the text in Greek but to emulate the virtues he considered embedded in it: honor, strength, endurance, loyalty. It is in this spirit that Edward Bulwer-Lytton, elaborating the brief account to be found in Thycidides, writes his novelPausanias the Spartan (not quite finished at Bulwer's death but completed by his son and published in 1876) about the victor of Plataea. But, in an age whose conceptual universe had been so entirely shattered that total collapse appeared to be imminent, Thucydides seemed a prophet as well of how civilizations perish, and it is much more in this role that Victorians invoke his work. In his essay on “Ancient History,” F.D. Maurice, the kindly minister who founded the movement of Christian Socialism that inspired so many Victorians, remarks, for instance, of Thucydides that “at each step of his narrative we are reminded of what must become of a nation, even though it be the cleverest nation that ever existed in the world, as the Athenian probably was, if there were no order which it was obliged to follow but its own ingenuity and caprices” (in F.D. Maurice,The Friendship of Books and Other Essays, edited, with a Preface by T. Hughes, M.P. [London: Macmillan And Co., 1874], p. 168). John Ruskin, in a similar manner, writes in his autobiography, composed in the latter 1880s—as he recalls the pains it cost him to learn to read the work in Greek in Arnold's edition of the text—that the subject of Thucydides, and it is clear that it reminds him of the collapse of his own age, is “the central tragedy of all the world, the suicide of Greece” (Praeterita: The Autobiography of John Ruskin. Introduction by Kenneth Clark [New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978], pp. 197–8). It is with this identical thought that Matthew Arnold, Thoma's son, concludes his poem “Dover Beach” when he depicts the modern world as one “Where ignorant armies clash by night”, an allusion to the description of Thucydides in Book VII of the night on which the Athenians launched an attack on Syracuse. So great was the confusion that night, Thucydides proceeds to explain, that it became impossible to distinguish friend from foe. The Greek historian keeps turning up even into the twentieth century, as, for instance, inWomen in Love (1920), a novel in which D. H. Lawrence explores those characteristics in Western thought that brought about World War I. Although the war is never mentioned, it is suggested on every page in the militaristic imagery and in the apocalyptic collisions implied in its mythological imagery. Thucydides makes an appearance in connection with Hermione, a woman who is identified as the novel's “Kulturträger” (Chapter VIII), a term of great contempt for Lawrence, who belongs to that neoromantic movement of the late nineteenth and the earlier twentieth century that prefers the instinctual life to the intellectual. And, to cite just one more instance, in Max Beerbohm'sZuleika Dobson (1911), a novel anticipating this war in an almost prophetic manner, Thucydides is introduced in the same chapter in which we find the image of the coming apocalypse in the simultaneous suicide of every last Oxford undergraduate (XXII).Google Scholar

References

  1. 1.
    Walther Rehm,Griechentum und Goethezeit. Geschichte eines Glaubens (Leipzig: Dieterich, 1936); E. M. Butler,The Tyranny of Greece over Germany: A study of the influence exercised by Greek art and poetry over the great German writers of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1935).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    This piece might have profited from a contrastive look at treatments in contemporaneous writing in the Federal Republic. See Theodore Ziolkowski, “The Odysseus Theme in Recent German Fiction,”Comparative Literature 15 (1962): 225–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    W. B. Stanford,The Ulysses Theme: A Study in the Adaptability of a Traditional Hero (Oxford: Blackwell, 1954; 2nd ed. ibid. W. B. Stanford,The Ulysses Theme: A Study in the Adaptability of a Traditional Hero (Oxford: Blackwell, 1963; various reprints, most recently with a new foreword by C. Boer, Dallas: Spring, 1992).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    E.g., the paragraphs on Richard Newald and Ernst Bloch (258, 310), which occur in “Der Beste der Griechen” (154–55).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gilbert Highet,The Classical Tradition: Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature (New York: Oxford University Press, 1949).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Theodore Ziolkowski, “August Böckh und die Sonettenschlacht bei Eichstädt,”Antike und Abendland 41 (1995): 161–73.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    E.g, George Schoolfield,Janus Secundus (Boston: Twayne, 1980); James A. Parente, Jr.,Religious Drama and the Humanist Tradition: Christian Theater in Germany and in the Netherlands, 1500–1680 (Leiden/New York: Brill, 1987); Theodore Ziolkowski,The Classical German Elegy, 1795–1950 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980); and, generally, articles in such publications asClassical and Modern Literature.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hayden W. Ausland
    • 1
  • Felicia Bonaparte
    • 2
    • 3
  • Theodore Ziolkowski
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Foreign Languages and LiteraturesUniversity of MontanaUSA
  2. 2.Departments of English and Comparative Literature CCNYUSA
  3. 3.the Graduate Center, CUNYUSA
  4. 4.PrincetonNew Jersey

Personalised recommendations