Category Archives: The Great Books

Early Impressions of The Prince, Machiavelli

The best parts of reading the Great Books is seeing the delta between what you think a book is about versus what the actual text says. I say “what the actual text says” because there really is no substitute to … Continue reading

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A Quick Note About Talking About The Classics

Reading classic books is enjoyable in and of itself, but something that I’ve found surprisingly enjoyable is to take part in the conversations around these books. Much like the actual reading of books, “Discussions around the Classics” is a subset … Continue reading

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(Hopefully) Less inchoate thoughts on Dante’s Inferno

Continued from here. Intellectuals say that Paradiso is for pious theologians, Purgatorio is for brilliant, exacting scholars of Medieval cosmology, but Inferno, Inferno is for filthy casuals. —Books in 150 Words. I finished Inferno over the weekend, and there’s something about … Continue reading

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Inchoate thoughts on Dante’s Inferno

“Will you – should either head back to the world – bring comfort to my memory, which lies still lashed beneath the stroke of envious eyes?” Inferno, Canto 13.76-78. I’m about a third of the way through Inferno, just finished Canto 13, … Continue reading

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Similarities and Differences between The Iliad and Beowulf

We spent a bit of time in a recent discussion series noting the similarities and differences between Beowulf, the character, and Hector and Achilles, the central characters of The Iliad. Similarities Both present a worldview where warriors are valorized. Both present a … Continue reading

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Questions on The Canterbury Tales

How do we pin down how Chaucer really feels about things? Can we do so? Where are the tensions in the stories, or among the characters? What do we make of one of the central tales, the Wife of Bath’s? … Continue reading

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Bawdiness in The Canterbury Tales

I knew absolutely nothing about The Canterbury Tales before it was on my great books list and before I read it in the last two weeks. David and I decided to add it to “Reading The Greats” discussion series, and I’m … Continue reading

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Antigone, Redux

I’m co-hosting a discussion series on the great books over on the Interintellect, and we have two “sessions.” We do the same 15-book syllabus, but we have two groups staggered across a month: we discussed The Iliad with Group 1 … Continue reading

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Philosophers “preparing themselves for dying.” Plato’s Phaedo

I spent part of the weekend rereading Plato’s Phaedo ahead of the next Interintellect salon and an upcoming conversation I’m having with Agnes Callard on the book. It was both my first time rereading a Classic, and it’s also an … Continue reading

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Why does The Iliad remind me of the Marvel franchise?

This post sort of contains spoilers. I co-host a series of discussions on the Great Books on the Interintellect (with the incomparable David McDougall). We’re hosting two “sections” to accommodate demand, which is a nice thing to be able to … Continue reading

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