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Posts Tagged ‘Mary Beard’

What We’re Loving: ABCs, Akrasia, Antiquity

August 23, 2013 | by

Confronting

“Loving you isn’t the right thing to do / How can I ever change the things that I feel?“ This sentiment—so memorably expressed by Fleetwood Mac in 1977—is as old as philosophy itself. The ancients struggled to explain akrasia, or why we love and do certain things against our better judgment. Who’s in charge of our desires? As the NYU philosopher Jessica Moss points out in this Q&A, the latest psychological research can sound a lot like Aristotle’s Ethics. —Lorin Stein

I found the cover of Mary Beard’s Confronting the Classics—the torso of a marble Adonis that, at a cursory glance, looks sort of like an Abercrombie and Fitch bagso off-putting that I took it off. (The British iteration, which features a bust of Athena in a pair of red sunglasses, is hardly more dignified.) But I understand that the publisher was grappling with the very same issue Beard, an eminent classicist, addresses in this book: how to engage with the classical tradition in a modern world. The book is both a survey of classical antiquity and a compelling argument for the classics’ contemporary relevance; Beard bridles at those who champion the canon from a romanticized or ideological standpoint. Anyone who has read Beard’s work in The New York Review of Books knows how funny and passionate a writer she is, and how convincing. (You can only imagine how much fun her Cambridge classes must be.) In her hands, the classics really do argue for themselves. So does this book. Sexy cover not required. —Sadie O. SteinRead More »

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The NYRB Fiftieth Anniversary Kickoff, in Tweets

February 6, 2013 | by

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