Xenophon’s Perfect Country Gentleman in the Oeconomicus

The word "economics" comes down to us from the Greek meaning "household management" and the various contingents of the household. Thus the science of the economy is the science of the household or the estate. The title of Xenophon's seminal but brief dialogue points us to the theme of the text: household management, or more … Continue reading Xenophon’s Perfect Country Gentleman in the Oeconomicus

Socrates’s Desire to Die: On Xenophon’s Apology

Xenophon's Memorabilia ("recollections") is his public defense of Socrates, but the title is notably silent about whether or not the recollections are exclusively of Socrates. The text is, instead, rife with the recollections by Xenophon on the Socratic, and therefore, the philosophic life. As an alternative, his shorter Socratic writing, the Apology of Socrates, is clear about who … Continue reading Socrates’s Desire to Die: On Xenophon’s Apology

The War Between the Sexes in Lysistrata

Lysistrata is the only surviving Aristophanean play whose title designates the name of the main character. Most other plays convey the collective name of the Chorus or another chief theme of the play. Lysistrata means something like "releaser of war" or "army disbander" and we are invited by Aristophanes to consider her character above all others, as the … Continue reading The War Between the Sexes in Lysistrata

The Story of French Impressionism, Part XI: Georges Seurat and Paul Signac

Georges Seurat (1859-1891) and Paul Signac (1865-1935) are generally associated with "Post-Impressionism" and "Pointillism." Georges Seurat (pronounced "George Sir-rah") was born in Paris. His father grew wealthy from various real estate speculative investments. He studied art as a young man and developed refined sensibilities, as well as mathematical precision in his works. The Suburbs (1882–1883) … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part XI: Georges Seurat and Paul Signac

Dionysus’s Descent Into Hades In The Frogs

The Frogs is my favorite of Aristophanes's comedies. It is the only Aristophanean comedy to feature a god at the beginning -Dionysus, the god of the theatre, and his slave Xanthias. As they walk, Xanthias is meta-textually concerned with telling jokes that will make the audience laugh, and laughter presupposes some kind of suffering, though the … Continue reading Dionysus’s Descent Into Hades In The Frogs

Aristophanes’s The Birds: A New City in the Sky

Aristophanes The Birds ("Ornithets") is the only comedy written by Aristophanes whose entire action takes place far from the city of Athens. Consequently, the play makes little mention of the circumstances of the Peloponnesian War, or of contemporary Athenian politics. It won second prize at the Dionysia in 414 BC. It is a play about the … Continue reading Aristophanes’s The Birds: A New City in the Sky

The Story of French Impressionism, Part IX: Gustave Caillebotte

Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894) -pronounced "kye-bott"- was descended from a wealthy military textile family in Paris. His family owned a home in Paris and later bought a larger home south of Paris, as well. Photograph of Caillebotte circa 1878 Caillebotte studied law, and he was also drafted to serve in the armed forces during the Franco-Prussian War … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part IX: Gustave Caillebotte

The Story of French Impressionism, Part VIII: Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) is sometimes categorized as a "Post-Impressionist" painter by latter-day more sophisticated scholars of art history. In the same way that Manet is sometimes viewed as a bridge between "realism" and "modernism," Cézanne is sometimes viewed as a bridge between late Impressionism and other modernist movements, like Cubism. Both Matisse and Picasso are said … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part VIII: Paul Cézanne

The Story of French Impressionism, Part VI: Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt

Berthe Morisot (1841-1895) was one of the key female figures of French Impressionism. Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets (1872) By: Édouard Manet - she often posed for Manet, this time in mourning for the death of her father. Like the other artists of the time, she began her career vying for a spot at … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part VI: Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt