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The Classical Literature Thread
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Diocletian Offline

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The Classical Literature Thread
Does anybody else here read a lot of classical literature? Shakespeare, especially--his writings contain a lot of great observations on humanity, which was part of his genius. Read through his works and it becomes obvious why the modern liberal arts establishment denigrates his work and the rest of classical literature--too much wrongthink. If you read, discuss, and understand Shakespeare, or the Bible, Milton, Chaucer, etc. then the establishment runs the risk of people realizing that they've been lied to about reality and society.

If you've got thoughts about classical literature post them in this thread.


Polonius' speech to Laertes in Hamlet, Act 1 Scene 3 is a great condensation of how a man should live his life. It is a father giving this advice to his son. It describes much of what is lacking in modern Western society.

Quote:Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproprtion thought his act.

Don't let every man know all of your thoughts, and likewise control your actions--you don't need to act on every single thought that goes through your head.

Quote:Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.

You shouldn't be overly formal and stuffy, but don't reduce yourself to your basest behavior. Don't curse, don't swear, but don't be insufferable and condescending.

Quote:Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade.

Loyalty. To those friends of yours whom you know to be loyal--who you've gone through the trials and experiences of life with--you must return that loyalty absolutely. On the other hand, don't spend excessive amounts of time with every single new friend.

Quote:Beware of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.

Don't be argumentative and quarrelsome; avoid arguments, fights, etc. whenever possible but if you must be in such a situation then you must always fight to win.

Quote:Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.

Be willing to listen to other men, but don't always give your thoughts and opinions on everything, and likewise take each man's criticism but don't always give out your own judgment.

Quote:Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.

Dress well but within your means, wear nice clothes but not flashy clothes. People will judge you based on how you dress. If you dress like a slob then people will take you for a slob; if you dress like a thug then people will take you for a thug. In Shakespeare's day and in the time Hamlet was set France was considered one of the most civilized nations, and this should be taken as advice to emulate civilized people.

Quote:Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

Don't borrow money and don't lend money to other people. Debt will often neither be repaid; you will not only lose money but also the friend from whom you borrowed. On top of that, borrowing reduces personal initiative. If you have easy access to loans then you have little incentive to work hard and honestly increase your wealth.

Quote:This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

"Thou shalt not lie," either to yourself or to others.

Everything in this monoloque is precisely the opposite of the values our modern culture espouses. Stoicism, laconicism, loyalty to friends, and avoiding quarrels goes against the social media framework of exhibitionism, the sharing of every intimate detail, pointless keyboard debates, and judgement for every perceived slight. Modest attire and avoiding debt goes against consumerism.

Moreover, much of this contains either direct or indirect Biblical references that up until just a few decades ago even the poorest and least educated people would have recognized. In fact, much of it is taken directly from Proverbs. Shakespeare was well-versed in Scripture.

Quote:Thou shalt not lie.

Exodus 20:16

Quote:Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

James 1:19

Quote:The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Proverbs 22:7

Quote:In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array

1 Timothy 2:9

Quote:A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17

Quote:The beginning of strife [is as] when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.

Proverbs 17:14

Quote:Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.

Proverbs 3:14

Quote:Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

Proverbs 4:1

Live by this wisdom and you can definitely have a good chance at a successful life, not just economically but socially and personally. There is a reason that this type of literature had been required reading in schools at all levels--apart from creating a unified culture, it also transmits universal truths that all men should live by.
01-19-2020 10:25 PM
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MichaelWitcoff Offline

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RE: The Classical Literature Thread
Anton Chekhov’s short stories had a lot of insight into the various things that a human can feel and experience, on top of being one of the world’s all-time greatest fiction writers. Stories like “Misery” and “Gooseberries” you will likely never forget.

19th century Russian authors in general beat almost anything you’ll find in America, with the caveat that most of them had pessimistic outlooks on life. But in terms of writing talent they really can’t be beat, with the exception of Nathaniel Hawthorne in the USA and maybe Gustave Flaubert in France.

Jewish convert to Orthodox Christianity and best-selling author of "On The Masons And Their Lies."
(This post was last modified: 01-20-2020 12:22 AM by MichaelWitcoff.)
01-20-2020 12:20 AM
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