Picking Next Book, May 2021

It's time to pick another book.  I propose either a selection of Tennyson's Arthurian Idylls or else Gulliver's Travels, which I have been intermittently rereading. My wife and I have been working through Herodotus after breakfast and have at last hit Book V, where we can turn from Scythians and Libyans and read about Macedonians and Greeks on the eve of the Ionian Revolt that leads to Darius' invasion of 490.  This week I'll be welcoming expressions of preference on any of the above.

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

5 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Strenk says:

    Any of the above-mentioned would be appreciated. I have not read either Tennyson or Herodotus before. I am currently reading the Iliad (Butler translation) for the first time, but if I step it up I should be able to finish within a week or so, Holy Week services permitting.

  2. Avatar Harry Colin says:

    I’ll toss in a vote for Tennyson, although either would be fine.

  3. Avatar Allen Wilson says:

    Tennyson or Gulliver would be most welcome, although some voice inside my cranial mental asylum is telling me Herotodus would be preferable. I’ll take what I can get.

  4. Thomas Fleming Thomas Fleming says:

    It is coming down to the wire: Tennyson or Herodotus. Since I am already half way through an oral reading of Herodotus, let us do that, concentrating on the sections that most concern his major theme: the conflict between Greeks and Persians. I will comment on the other “logoi” (accounts), especially the rise of the Persian Empire, but also the Egyptian and Scythian episodes that take up so much of Books II and IV. We could do the first four books in two weeks, that way, focusing on the Greeks and Persians, and then take a week each on the later books.

    For slow-readers, I shall indicate the sections they might omit, though everything, including his zany accounts of barbarian customs, is both interesting and significant.

    For translations, I prefer to use George Rawlinson’s Victorian version. He was the brother of the great Assyriologist Sir Henry R. A breezier version is offered by Aubrey de Selincourt in the Penguin series. David Green’s flabby translation with an impudent introduction slamming his predecessors is to be shunned–as all his translations should be.