The Greek Genius and Its Influence: Select Essays and Extracts

The Greek Genius and Its Influence: Select Essays and Extracts

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The Greek Genius and Its Influence: Select Essays and Extracts

The Greek Genius and Its Influence: Select Essays and Extracts

Read FREE!

Excerpt

This volume appears in response to the needs of one of my classes, and is meant to supply a part of the necessary background for the study of Greek and Latin masterpieces in standard English translations, and to stimulate and rectify the comparison of ancient with modern literature. But I hope it will be useful also to classical students in the narrower sense, and trust it may in some fashion promote the study of Greek in America, if only by striking a blow at the provincial notion that we have nothing to learn from the past.

Doubtless there is an element of chance in the selection of materials for a volume like this. Indeed, I must admit at the outset my inability to secure from the publishers the right to reprint Butcher's first essay (What We Owe to Greece) in Some Aspects of the Greek Genius, and Livingstone's third chapter (The Note of Directness) in The Greek Genius and its Meaning to Us, both of which I would gladly have included. But aside from these I may affirm that the choice is probably less fortuitous than may appear on the surface, since I have been guided by conscious principles in selecting and rejecting materials, and for the most part in arranging the materials selected.

Of purposeful omissions, what shall I say? I seem to have read much (of course, not all) of what has latterly been written on the nature of the Greek genius and its legacy to modern times; and a great deal of what is said on the topic strikes me as misleading. Partly under the influence of Boeckh and Croiset, I have, in the course of a dozen years, formed a somewhat definite notion of the Greek spirit, and have come almost instinctively, and yet for definite reasons, to eliminate what have seemed to me perilous deviations from a true perspective. One could not very well proceed otherwise.

The selections have been taken from humbler and loftier, and from more or less erudite, sources. I have had to keep in mind the probable effect of the part and the whole upon a certain kind of student, and have not scrupled to use any legitimate means to this end, however remote and abstract, or however homespun the means (as, for example, in the Introduction) may be; it is better . . .

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