Love, Sex & Tragedy
How the Ancient World Shapes Our Lives
Marx, Clark Gable, George W. Bush, Oscar Wilde, and Freud—Goldhill's range here is enormous, and he takes great delight in tracing both follies and fundamental philosophical questions through the centuries and continents to the birthplace of Western civilization as we know it. Underlying his brisk and learned excursions through history and art is the foundational belief, following Cicero, that learning about the classics makes a critical difference to our self-understanding. Whether we are considering the role of religion in contemporary society, our expectations about the boundaries between public and private life, or even how we spend our free time, recognizing the role of the classics is integral to our comprehension of modern life and our place in it.
When Goldhill asks "Who do you think you are?" he presents us with the rarest of opportunities: the chance to let him lead us, firmly but with a wink, back two thousand years to where we are.