Herodotus's Histories, or "Inquiries", traces the conflicts that emerged between the Greeks and the Persians (the Achaemenid Empire), culminating in the great battles of Thermopylae, Salamis, Platea, and Mycale. Herodotus was born in Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, or modern day Bodrum in western Turkey. Much of his life was spent in Exile, living in Samos, Athens, and apparently … Continue reading On Herodotus
As with much of ancient literature, the life of Sappho is shrouded in mystery. She is said to have been a poet hailing from the islands of Lesbos and was revered in antiquity for her short songs of revelry -praising the stars, the gods, children, a woman's love, carefree summer days, and cool evenings. We … Continue reading Notes on Sappho
The Tao Te Ching, sometimes translated as the "Classic of the Virtuous Way", is rumored to have been written by Lao Tzu. He is said to have been a sage of the royal court, or also a magistrate or astrologer, perhaps during the Warring States Period, though others claim he was a contemporary of Confucius. In … Continue reading Important Reflections on the Tao Te Ching.
Among Western scholars, comparisons between Confucian literature and the Platonic corpus are made frequently. To their credit, both literary characters are memorable for their obsession with virtue and the appropriate means of political life. Both, presumably, emphasize the importance of a rigid social or political order, devotion among the citizenry, and both were considered a threat to their … Continue reading Confucius and Socrates
42nd Street (1933) Director: Lloyd Bacon 42nd Street is an essential "backdoor musical" film set during the Great Depression, and also released during the Great Depression. Its success, based on the release of MGM's first sound film, The Broadway Melody, revitalized the struggling Warner Bros. Studios, as well as the musical genre. It was followed by two … Continue reading 42nd Street
Duck Soup (1933) Director: Leo McCarey The Marx Brothers' Duck Soup is a film of enduring delights. Whereas Horse Feathers is a parody of the elite nepotism integral to the status of higher education, Duck Soup is a parody of the fascistic dictatorships of the 1930s. Lamentably, the film was considered a commercial and critical failure … Continue reading Duck Soup