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The Greek View of Life

The Greek View of Life by Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson
By: (1862-1932)

“With the Greek civilisation beauty perished from the world. Never again has it been possible for man to believe that harmony is in fact the truth of all existence.”

This elegantly-written work provides a splendid introduction to the Greeks of the classic period: how they thought, wrote, and organised their lives and loves. Although it dates from the 1890s, there is very little about it that has dated. To its author’s credit, the subject of “Greek love” is dealt with in a sane and factual context - despite the judicial assassination of Oscar Wilde going on in the background.

A Cambridge don much admired by his students (including E. M. Forster), Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson belonged to the Apostles, a secret society with a strong ethic of male friendship. Alfred Tennyson and his beloved Arthur Hallam were early members. Dickinson is chiefly remembered as a historian and pacifist who played a significant part in the founding of the League of Nations. Inevitably, given his interests and intellectual background, he became a close associate of the Bloomsbury Group.

The Greek View of Life is no dry academic tome. It is a popularizing work in the best sense: accessibly written and illustrated with apt quotations given in sturdy translations, never in the original Greek. It is a joy to read.
(Introduction by Martin Geeson)

First Page:








The following pages are intended to serve as a general introduction to Greek literature and thought, for those, primarily, who do not know Greek. Whatever opinions may be held as to the value of translations, it seems clear that it is only by their means that the majority of modern readers can attain to any knowledge of Greek culture; and as I believe that culture to be still, as it has been in the past, the most valuable element of a liberal education, I have hoped that such an attempt as the present to give, with the help of quotations from the original authors, some general idea of the Greek view of life, will not be regarded as labour thrown away.

It has been essential to my purpose to avoid, as far as may be, all controversial matter; and if any classical scholar who may come across this volume should be inclined to complain of omissions or evasions, I would beg him to remember the object of the book and to judge it according to its fitness for its own end... Continue reading book >>

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