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the reader of books

I love England, France, Vogue, espionage, nachos, WWI, the Mitfords & naps. 

Currently reading

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris
David McCullough

Love, Sex & Tradegy: How the Ancient World Shapes Our Lives

Love, Sex & Tragedy: How the Ancient World Shapes Our Lives - Simon Goldhill My search for a basic yet comprehensive book about Greek and Roman times continues.

That being said I did learn about Greek sexy times. And saw a surprisingly diverse assortment of erection-themed art work.

The central thesis is that classic times still influence our modern lives and therefore it is important to understand how things such as marriage, homosexuality, Christianity, etc. originally came about in order to understand our modern notions. This was most strongly demonstrated, I think, by the section on homosexuality. Modern times look to Greek love as an indication that homosexuality flourished in previous civilizations; however, Goldhill's argument is that "homosexuality" and "heterosexuality" are modern constructs and one can't draw neat parallels to Greek ideas of love and sexuality. Similarly, in ancient times, dreaming of having sex with your mother was (at least according to one play) rather standard; whereas today, the idea can't be thought of without invoking Freud.

The book had some interesting ideas but the arguments were repetitive (one sentence would repeat the preceding, just worded slightly differently) and some of the connections were tenuous at best. Goldhill posits that our representations of Sappho reflect our modern ideas of female desire, yet the three examples provided date back to Victorian times (and one actually sketched by Queen Victoria).

I am really striking out with my library books. Someone please write Greek and Romans for dummies.