Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Classics Revisited

Like most people in school, both high school and college, I suffered through the classics with just enough effort to pass required tests and write required essays. Consequently, I never felt like I really appreciated what the classics have to offer.

Recently, I came across a required reading list from St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland. I was stunned to see just the Freshman list. It is dedicated to classical Greek literature and starts with the Iliad, followed by the Odyssey, and goes from there, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Plato, Thucycides and more, much more. You can find the complete four-year list here.

I decided to work my way through as many works on the list as I could during the year. I started with the Odyssey which I read many years ago, when I was too young to understand a lot of it, much less appreciate it. I can honestly say that my second reading was an enjoyable experience. Now I am ready for the Iliad. I know, I should have started with the Iliad, but I had the Odyssey on hand and so read it first. I am one who likes to make notations in my own books and thus didn't want to borrow the Iliad from the library where I work. After finishing the Odyssey, I started Sophocles Oedipus Trilogy, Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone. I had read Antigone in French and got a lot more from the English translation.

Maybe the freshman list will be more than I can handle in one year. I have many other reading lists to wade through, and other avocations to occupy my time. I have been trying to dedicate at least one hour a day to my "serious" reading. Maybe if I quit doing daily blogs (I have more than one), I could proceed more quickly.

I urge you all to find just one book on the list that you either have never read or read under duress and give it a go.

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