Monthly Archive: April 2016

1

Mr. Autodidact’s Poem(s) of the Week

First is a sonnet by Tennyson, not one of his best, perhaps, but indicating his distaste for professional critics and men of letters: Poets and Their Bibliographies Old poets foster’d under friendlier skies, Old Virgil who would write ten lines, they say, At dawn, and lavish all the golden day To make them wealthier in the readers’ eyes; And you, old popular Horace, you the wise Adviser of the nine-years-ponder’d lay, And you, that wear a wreath of sweeter bay, Catullus, whose dead songster never dies; If, glancing downward on the kindly sphere That once had roll’d you round and round...

13

Mr. Autodidact’s Reading List: English Literature (Update 2 May)

Absolutely Essential Classics of English and American Literature for Readers from 12 to…. These works have been chosen partly for their literary excellence but even more because they were, until recently, taken for granted, as part of our common Anglo-American heritage.  This first version, which will be expanded from time to time, is only a sketch, and the omission of some beloved classic may be due to an oversight or a decision to include the work in a subsequent list.  If the list is somewhat boring and predictable, it is ibecause I have left off many of my favorite writers,...

1

Neocons Losing Friends Over Trump

I didn’t know Neocons had friends. I thought they only had interests. But both Peter Wehner in the NY Times and Tom Nichols at The Federalist whine they have “lost friends” over opposing Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. Well, some friends of mine in 2006 “lost” their son in the Iraq War, which these two chickenhawks supported, Wehner even as the head of Bush’s Office of Strategic Initiatives. I went to the funeral. And another former neighbor of mine got a 100% disability in Iraq. It’d say each is a bigger “loss” than somebody de-Friending you on Facebook. One of the...

2

Latin, Episode 4

By

In this episode of Latin, Dr. Fleming discusses the third declension, the dative case, and the inapt uses of English words that have Latin roots, particularly “fabulous,” “tremendous,” and the like. Remember that this podcast is not a formal course but a foray into the study of Latin. Original Air Date: April 29, 2016 Show Run Time: 1 hour 10 minutes Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner   The Fleming Foundation Presents Latin℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright 2016. All Rights are Reserved. Notes for Latin: Episode Four A.  Clarifying Texts  (Acts 2:1) et...

1

Glossed in Translation

Every one of us knows something about lying – not that I’d ever dream of casting aspersions on the probity of my readers–and it isn’t always from books that the bitter knowledge comes.  And the one thing about lying that any normal person who’s ever been caught with his hand in the cookie jar understands is that the lie has to be convincing, otherwise it would be best to simply say nothing and look injured, leaving it to others to make the necessary excuses. A convincing lie, in fact, needs to surpass the truth in verisimilitude, because a salient feature...

15

Aristotle: Politics I, chapters 1-2 On the House

In English we think of “politics” as the art of gaining maintaining, and using power.  Partly, we owe this understanding to Machiavelli, who is unfairly accused of degrading political philosophy from the pursuit of truth to the pursuit of power.  Utter nonsense!  Machiavelli was not a philosopher in the pure sense of the world, but a Florentine writer and statesman who loved Florence and Italy and thought hard about the ways they could be made independent, free, and republican.  Aristotle, by contrast, was interested in the nature of politics or ta politika, the things pertaining to the polis.  The word...

0

Boethius Book Club, Episode 2: Anthony Trollope, The Warden

By

This early work by one of the masters of the novel is the introduction to his magnificent series of novels set in or near the mythical cathedral town of Barchester. We meet some of the enduring characters—Mr. Harding and his daughter Eleanor, and that model of “stupid” conservatism, Archdeacon Grantly . The humor is broader than it is in later books, and in his portrait of the ardent liberal John Bold, Trollope lays his cards on the table as he never will again. The Warden is a wonderfully entertaining novel, but it is only one that raises very important moral...

7

Properties of Blood, I.7: Kith and Kin, Part C

The Nature and Duties of Kinship:  Rome Euthyphro’s mistake, from the conventional Greek point of view, was not that he overvalued piety toward the gods but that he failed in his duty to love and respect his father.  Ancient Greeks were hardly unique in putting a high value on filial piety, familial solidarity, and the duties of kinship.  These are moral tendency so common, both in primitive societies and advanced civilizations,  that they can be regarded as universal human traits.  Of course, every traditional society has its own peculiar customs and laws, which make generalizations difficult; nonetheless, ancient Greeks, Romans,...

8

The Ealing Comedies

Will Barker, a commercial traveler with a passion for photography, bought “the Lodge” overlooking Ealing Green in West London in 1902 for the purpose of making movies. Cinema–very often television programs rather than movies–has been made there ever since. Recently, a couple of its studios hosted the servants’ quarters of Downton Abbey. The place reached its perihelion after World War II, when the production company, Ealing Studios, made a string of 17 comedies, from Hue and Cry in 1947 to Davy in 1958.  Those films brought British cinema to world consciousness as few never before, pleasing critics as well as...

10

The Face on the Barroom Coin

The Good News [from Matthew 22]: And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying…Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?  But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?  Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?  They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.  When they had heard...