This book views Homer’s Odyssey an allegory for the soul’s quest for reunification, a journey back from the strife and division of the Trojan War to the love and unity of one’s “native land,” enduring trials and temptations along the way. This volume contains the complete Samuel Butler translation, recently updated by the faculty of the Center for Hellenic Studies at Harvard University, and used by permission. This is a terrific book which shows a steady idealism, and an invoking of Emersonian personal reunification. Its language is a great strength; vigorous, colloquial, open, appealing, un-condescending, unshrinking from what must be included. It is substantial, engaging and important. Robert D. Richardson Jr., Bancroft Prize-winning author of Emerson: The Mind on Fire
The essays on this blog have been collected into book form, available through amazon.com.
A commendable attempt to beat back the darkness and inspire revelation.
In clear, uncluttered prose, free of undue sophistry, Beardsley covers an immense amount of territory with alacrity, beginning chronologically with Athens in its golden age and touching next on the Greek-influenced Roman philosophers. He then moves on to the Renaissance, and finally to the 19th-century transcendentalists of New England. … Readers who brushed lightly against the Greek philosophers in the course of their educations will appreciate this chance to replenish and expand their store of knowledge, but those starting from scratch could do worse than learning the basics from Beardsley. At its best, his book may even spark a flame that leaps “from one soul to another” and ignites deeper understanding—though he believes, like Socrates, that the spoken word of the dialectic, face-to-face method can create a spark more surely than the written word ever could. –Kirkus Reviews, Sept. 2015
Walt Whitman thought that books distilled from other books “would probably pass away.” David Beardsley, like Whitman himself, gives the reader of The Ideal of Beauty the real thing, his own personal, felt, known, lived experiences, perceptions, and ideas. He makes the old Neoplatonic tradition as bright and attractive and relevant as today’s newspaper. Beardsley burns with a great incandescent philosophical blaze. It is all his own and it is contagious. It is a wonderful experience just to read it.
Robert D. Richardson Jr., Bancroft Prize winner and author of Emerson: The Mind on Fire.