The Crucifixion of Intellectual Man: Incorporating a Fresh Translation into English Verse of the Prometheus Bound of Aeschylus

The Crucifixion of Intellectual Man: Incorporating a Fresh Translation into English Verse of the Prometheus Bound of Aeschylus

The Crucifixion of Intellectual Man: Incorporating a Fresh Translation into English Verse of the Prometheus Bound of Aeschylus

The Crucifixion of Intellectual Man: Incorporating a Fresh Translation into English Verse of the Prometheus Bound of Aeschylus

Excerpt

This book is about Greece and Greek things, but it is also a tribute to the mind of modern America.

It could not well have been written in any century except the twentieth, and perhaps not in any country except the United States or Great Britain -- during this crisis of our destiny, when western man is trying to shape a world suitable to his genius. And yet the first part of this book is an act of meditation on a Greek play and a sort of commentary on the text of that play as it is given in the second part.

The best classical teaching in the United States has favored the tendency to present antiquity as a closed system of integrated and self-sufficient virtues. In this it has reflected the exacting standards of scholarship on the continent of Europe, where classical learning has resembled a discipline of the intellect rather than a life of the soul. This bias has much to commend it. It inhibits shallow generalizations and loose historical parallels. But this book came to birth in a different environment. It grew in response to a need felt by an audience far wider than those who are familiar with Greek and Latin, an audience in the first instance of students enrolled in a course in General Education at Harvard College. And for such, antiquity cannot and dare not be presented as a closed system. They need to know that Greek authors were human beings who, with due allowance for their genius, were still much like ourselves, and suffered from our perplexities. No amount of bathroom tiling and pots and lamps and curios, contributed by the archeologist, can compensate for the block in the mind induced by the traditional scholarship. The mighty dead and their works can be blighted by sanctification, a conspicuous example being Platonism, which, having escaped in America that fierce criticism to which it has been subjected in England, has on this continent all but disappeared from classical curricula.

It is particularly unlucky for the classics that administrative . . .

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