Thucydides and the Philosophical Origins of History (Paperback)
  • Thucydides and the Philosophical Origins of History (Paperback)
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Thucydides and the Philosophical Origins of History (Paperback)

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£30.99
Paperback 284 Pages / Published: 01/10/2009
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This book addresses the question of how and why history begins with the work of Thucydides. The History of the Peloponnesian War is distinctive in that it is a prose narrative, meant to be read rather than performed. It focuses on the unfolding of contemporary great power politics to the exclusion of almost all other elements of human life, including the divine. The power of Thucydides' text has never been attributed either to the charm of its language or to the entertainment value of its narrative, or to some personal attribute of the author. In this study, Darien Shanske analyzes the difficult language and structure of Thucydides' History and argues that the text has drawn in so many readers into its distinctive world view precisely because of its kinship to the contemporary language and structure of Classical Tragedy. This kinship is not merely a matter of shared vocabulary or even aesthetic sensibility. Rather, it is grounded in a shared philosophical position, in particular on the polemical metaphysics of Heraclitus.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521120760
Number of pages: 284
Weight: 420 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Review of the hardback: '[Shanske's] book grasps tenaciously at important questions and never lets them out of sight. The author demonstrates an encyclopaedic grasp of the tradition and flashes of deep originality ... [Shanske] has reopened the question of Thucydides' importance and status in the present.' BMCR
'[Shanske] sensitively touches on themes of great importance for the contemporary use of Thucydides in international relations; his conclusion that 'those who believe that Thucydides the political realist is delving beneath events to uncover causal connections that must recur ... are actually attributing to Thucydides a form of what Nietzsche would call Platonism' ... is worth pondering.' Journal of Hellenic Studies
'This is a highly original and in many ways a productively provocative book. Following in the tradition of, e.g. Cochrane, H. -P. Stahl and Virginia Hunter, Shanske views Thucydides within a metaphysical framework, here Heracleitean, within which the central component in Thucydides' vision is that a man characterized by irreconcilable tensions.' Gnomon
'... I can only join in the author's wish, stated at the end of the acknowledgements, that this seminal work 'becomes a vehicle for ongoing dialogue'.' De novis libris iudicia
"Shanske's book grasps tenaciously at important questions and never lets them out of sight. The author demonstrates an encyclopedic grasp of the tradition and flashes of deep originality. Many useful insights are scattered throughout, and as I stated at the outset, Shanke's main line of questioning repays close attention: Shanke's has reopened the question of Thucydides' importance and status in the present." -Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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