COURTESANS AND FISHCAKES PDF

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The astonishing cultural legacy of ancient Athens can leave the impression that ordinary Athenians during the Golden Age spent their leisure-filled lives contemplating the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. This refreshing look at Greeks at play corrects that idea. By examining the pleasures of eating, drinking, and sex, Davidson is able to draw broader conclusions about the distinctiveness of Athenian culture as a whole.

Wine, he shows, was central to Athenian merry-making, though the ancients appear not to have recognized the addictive and destructive powers of drink. Davidson also discusses at length the complex world of Greek sexuality: in the male-dominated society of Athens, an active commercial market in sex, the subjects of which were women classified as concubines or courtesans decent women were so secluded that they seemed invisible , coexisted with a flourishing homosexual culture.

Athenian attitudes toward pleasure had pervasive political implications as well: the pleasure-seeking class was the powerful minority, and excessive pleasure-seeking, or pleasure of the wrong kind, could emerge as a public issue when the private lives of public figures were scrutinized Davidson discusses the trial of the politician Timarchus in b. The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey. It was surreal. Brian Karas. Already have an account?

Log in. Trouble signing in? Retrieve credentials. Sign Up. Pub Date: Aug. No Comments Yet. Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

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Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens

Part of James N. Davidson's answer is that the ancient Greeks understood the temptations of pleasure somewhat differently from us. We think of some desires as being addictive -- those for alcohol, cigarettes or cocaine, for example -- and often we see addictive desires as bringing misery rather than pleasure. Meanwhile, most pleasures, Davidson suggests, do not seem to us compulsive at all; controlling a desire for bacon sandwiches or beach holidays is not like controlling a weakness for the bottle. The Greeks, on the other hand, while not conceiving addiction as a special category of desire, considered a fierce struggle against desire to be a normal state of affairs. In contrast with the clear dos and don'ts of the Judeo-Christian tradition, Greek ethics were more a matter of degree. The Greek motto was meden agan, ''nothing in excess''; the goal was not to conquer desire but to manage it.

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Courtesans and Fishcakes

As any reader of the Symposium knows, the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates conversed over lavish banquets, kept watch on who was eating too much fish, and imbibed liberally without ever getting drunk. In other words, James Davidson writes, he reflected the culture of ancient Greece in which he lived, a culture of passions and pleasures, of food, drink, and sex before—and in concert with—politics and principles. Athenians, the richest and most powerful of the Greeks, were as skilled at consuming as their playwrights were at devising tragedies. Weaving together Greek texts, critical theory, and witty anecdotes, this compelling and accessible study teaches the reader a great deal, not only about the banquets and temptations of ancient Athens, but also about how to read Greek comedy and history. History: Ancient and Classical History.

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COURTESANS AND FISHCAKES

As any reader of the Symposium knows, the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates conversed over lavish banquets, kept watch on who was eating too much fish, and imbibed liberally without ever getting drunk. In other words, James Davidson writes, he reflected the culture of ancient Greece in which he lived, a culture of passions and pleasures, of food, drink, and sex before—and in concert with—politics and principles. Athenians, the richest and most powerful of the Greeks, were as skilled at consuming as their playwrights were at devising tragedies. Weaving together Greek texts, critical theory, and witty anecdotes, this compelling and accessible study teaches the reader a great deal, not only about the banquets and temptations of ancient Athens, but also about how to read Greek comedy and history. Although I love ancient Greece, I am about sick of fish and floozies after this. Actually this is a well researched sociological take on Greek society viewed through the lens of food and women. To the

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