Athens in Paris: Ancient Greece and the Political in by Miriam Leonard

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By Miriam Leonard

Classical PresencesSeries Editors: Lorna Hardwick, Professor of Classical reviews, Open college, and James I. Porter, Professor of Greek, Latin, and Comparative Literature, college of Michigan The texts, principles, photos, and fabric tradition of historical Greece and Rome have continually been the most important to makes an attempt to acceptable the previous so as to authenticate the current. They underlie the mapping of switch and the statement and not easy of values and identities, previous and new. Classical Presences brings the most recent scholarship to undergo at the contexts, concept, and perform of such use, and abuse, of the classical past.Athens in Paris explores the ways that the writings of the traditional Greeks performed a decisive half in shaping the highbrow initiatives of structuralism and post-structuralism--arguably the main major currents of considered the post-war period. Miriam Leonard argues that thinkers in post-war France grew to become to the instance of Athenian democracy of their debates over the function of political subjectivity and moral selection within the lifetime of the fashionable citizen. The authors she investigates, who contain Lacan, Derrida, Foucault, and Vernant, have had an incalculable effect at the course of classical reports over the past thirty years, yet classicists have not begun to provide due consciousness to the the most important function of the traditional international within the improvement in their philosophy.

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That the Spirit of the Egyptians presented itself to their consciousness in the form of a problem is evident from the celebrated inscription in the sanctuary of the Goddess Neith at Sais: ‘I am that which is, that which was, and that which will be: no one has lifted my veil ’. . 24 And it was left to the Greeks to resolve this contradiction—to make the leap from the symbolic to the conceptual: The Greek Apollo is its solution; his utterance is ‘Man, know thyself ’. In this dictum is not intended a self-recognition that regards the specialities of one’s own weakness and defects: it is not the individual that is admonished to become acquainted with his idiosyncrasy, but humanity in general is summoned to selfknowledge.

In other words, Vernant’s Greeks were at their most Vernantian at the very moment he insisted on their radical otherness. 51 I do not want to accuse Vernant of disingenuity, or to make the unoriginal claim that all readings are in some way partial. Rather, I want to illustrate how Vernant’s departures from the Sophoclean text are in a speciWc sense revealing of structuralist preoccupations. 49 50 Lloyd-Jones (1985), 70. Loraux (1993). Loraux had already begun to formulate some of these ideas in her review article of Myth and Tragedy, Loraux (1973).

We may say, on the contrary, that the Egyptians are vigorous boys, eager for self-comprehension, who require nothing but clear understanding of themselves in an ideal form in order to become Young Men. In the Oriental Spirit there remains as a basis the massive substantiality of Spirit immersed in Nature. To the Egyptian Spirit it has become impossible—though it is still involved in inWnite embarrassment—to remain content with that. 23 Hegel thus saw Egypt as a land of contradiction. That the Spirit of the Egyptians presented itself to their consciousness in the form of a problem is evident from the celebrated inscription in the sanctuary of the Goddess Neith at Sais: ‘I am that which is, that which was, and that which will be: no one has lifted my veil ’.

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