Books/Fav Forums/Sites/TV -  Anybody Care For an Ambitious Readalong? (2589 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: RebeccahQPDec-12 12:32 PM 
To: Elderwulf(Terry) (KNAPPER44)  (130 of 161) 
 14373.130 in reply to 14373.117 

State id won't accept a birth certificate?

Or does that require a current photo id, too?


 Reply   Options 

From: RebeccahQPDec-12 12:34 PM 
To: Elderwulf(Terry) (KNAPPER44)  (131 of 161) 
 14373.131 in reply to 14373.123 

It's certainly worth a try.  If the address is the same on the expired id as it is now, I think generally the odds of acceptance would be good.


From: Elderwulf(Terry) (KNAPPER44)Dec-12 1:37 PM 
To: RebeccahQP  (132 of 161) 
 14373.132 in reply to 14373.131 


It seems Minnesota is not yet one of the states where the on-line application works.. Part of the problem is the "real ID" thing..


From: YoungGandalf DelphiPlus Member IconDec-24 8:19 AM 
To: All  (133 of 161) 
 14373.133 in reply to 14373.129 

The race to year’s end is on for real now with my reading project’s Western Canon.

Yesterday I finished the chapter on Kafka, which completes this series:  Freud, Proust, Joyce, Woolf, Kafka.

That leaves the two chapters on three authors each. It was difficult to keep up the necessary pace during final grade time at work. Yesterday was the deadline and I submitted my three course grades late the night before. By noon I had five inquiries about explaining grade details. More about that elsewhere.


From: YoungGandalf DelphiPlus Member IconDec-30 9:56 PM 
To: All  (134 of 161) 
 14373.134 in reply to 14373.133 

I made it to the finish line with the Western Canon with one day to spare ;-)

Next will be the creation of the reading list. Starting January, the game is on. Don't expect miracles as I am quite loaded up with the other reading, and I have a royal load of extra work as I have explained in another thread. So this will feel like snail pace. I suppose this is at the same time another chance for anyone, who would like to jump on the bandwagon, as these readings are much more of general interest than the more theoretical stuff in the Great Books. At the same time there is some overlap, which I will point out later.

But first the list that I extracted from Bloom's canon. Then I will make a reading list out of it in one of the next posts. For each author, I have a list of books that Bloom defined as canonical. I won't expand here on his reasons, but I will point out cross-correlations to other authors and works, and I will list major fictional characters that stand out in the bigger scheme. I find myself in some general agreement with Bloom, but also in some points I would contradict him. More about that later.

The core idea of the canon is that there has been an exchange through the centuries between the great writers about a number of core ideas that pertain to the human condition. As such, there are parallels to the Great Ideas in the Great Books. In some sense, the world authors are providing some meta-context.

Shakespeare is the center of the canon. He resides in what Bloom termed the Aristocratic Age. It follows the Theocratic Age, on which I will comment separately. It largely consists of ancient authors and has its strongest writers in Homer, the Yahwist (the author of the original version of the Torah texts rather than what we see now as the Torah), and the author of the Gospel of Mark. Bloom considers the Yahwist and Mark as very strong canon writers because they had the audacity to invent Yahweh and Jesus. Many cross-currents run between our BCE-times canon and its theocratic origin, but here I confine myself to the western response to this theocratic age.

Interestingly, Bloom predicted in 1994 that we are ending the final age of our cycle and that a new cycle was imminent; strictly literally speaking, but society would, of course, be that which is reflected in the texts. He expected it as soon as a decade after his writing, possibly later. In 1994 I might have laughed in his face, but the development of the suicide of the center of American society, which carried our societal canon until 2016, made that laugh get stuck in my throat. Perhaps Bloom is on to something. If correct, we would be facing the beginnings of a Theocratic literature age with a society that is in line with its principles.

All opinions expressed are Bloom's.

Shakespeare the center of the canon. His most canonical texts are Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. At the next tier are Antony and Cleopatra, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV, and Love's Labor's Lost.

Texts which relate to core themes of Shakespeare's texts include Marlowe, "The Jew of Malta", "Edward II", and "Tamburlaine". Then Chaucer, who wrote slightly before Shakespeare. Talbot Donaldson wrote a worthwhile comparison between Chaucer and Shakespeare, "The Swan at the Wall". Also, Dostoevski in "Crime and Punishment".

Shakespeare is unsurpassed in creating characters. Among the most noteworthy are Shylock, Falstaff, Faulconbridge, Mercurio, Rosalind, Hamlet, Othello, Iago, Lear, Edmund, Macbeth, Cleopatra, Antony, Coriolanus, Imogen, and Prospero.

Among Shakespeare's most critical opponents are Tolstoy, Freud, Voltaire, Pushkin, and Turgenev.

What makes him nonetheless the center is that into today leading writers are responding to, dealing with, and trying to escape the literary universe that Shakespeare has unfolded.

Such universality was achieved only by a handful of other writers: Dante, Cervantes; perhaps Tolstoy; Goethe and Milton, who have dimmed with time; Whitman, who is too hermetic to reach everywhere. Moliere and Ibsen, Dickinson and Neruda are close, but second rank. For other writers, who are strong and possibly canonical leaders, it is still too early to tell: Ibsen, Beckett.

Dante stands out with his heretical intensity. The Divine Comedy is a prophecy, effectively the Third Testament in no way subservient to the NT and OT. Dante and Shakespeare both extend the limits of art. Dante does so far more personally.

Related texts: Yahwist, Mark, Borges in "Other Inquisitions - The Meeting in a Dream" a piece on Beatrice, the strongest character of the Divine Comedy (Inferno, Purgatory, Paradiso). Petrarch, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Shelley, Rossetti, Yeats, Joyce, Pound, Eliot, Borges, Stevens, Beckett have one thing in common: Dante. Through them he becomes twelve different Dante's. Shelley"The Triumph of Life", Santayana "Three Philosophical Poets", Virgil "Aeneid".

Main characters: Beatrice, Odysseus (on the remarkable transformation of Odysseus as one of the most used characters in literature see WB Stanford "The Ulysses Theme".

Chaucer The Canterbury Tales; The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame (inspired by the Divine Comedy), Troilus and Cryseide (Chaucer thought this to be his strongest work; he was skeptical of the Tales).

Related works: Dante, Boccaccio "Decameron", The Yahwist, Jane Austen (because of the way they both use irony), "Roman de la Rose".

Main characters: The Wife of Bath, The Pardoner.

  • Edited December 30, 2021 10:50 pm  by  YoungGandalf

From: YoungGandalf DelphiPlus Member IconDec-30 11:00 PM 
To: All  (135 of 161) 
 14373.135 in reply to 14373.134 

Cervantes Don Quixote, the play of the world. Only Hamlet compares in number of variant interpretations.

Related texts: Dante, Milton, J Swift "Tale of a Tub", Kafka, Dostoevski "The Idiot" - Prince Myshkin is modeled on the Don; Ariosto "Orlando Furioso", Fernando de Rojas "Celestina", Moby Dick.

Lead characters: Sancho Panza, Don Quixote.

Montaigne and Moliere no single French author is the center of the national canon, instead there is a concourse of titans: Rabelais, Montaigne, Moliere, Racine, Roussseau, Hugo, Beaudeliere, Flaubert, Proust.

Montaigne "Essays" (competes with the Bible, Koran, Dante, Shakespeare) the greatest "Of Experience", "On Some Verses of Virgil;

The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, Don Juan

Related works: RW  Emerson (the American Montaigne) "Experience", Pascal "Pensees" (did he copy Montaigne?), TS Eliot "Murder in the Cathedral", G Meredith "The Egoist" and "Essay on Comedy", Aristophanes (similar pragmatism), M. Turnell "The Classical Moment".

Characters: Alceste (Moliere's Hamlet)

Milton Paradise Lost (noteworthy: Satan’s intellectual nihilism), poem “On Shakespeare”, Samson Agonistes, Paradise Regained

Milton as Protestant Prophet is a startling blend of Shakespearean tragedy, Virgilian epic, and Biblical prophecy.

Related works: Marlowe “Tamburlaine”, John Webster “The White Devil”, Book of Job, William Blake “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”

Character: Satan

Samuel Johnson the canonical critic

Rasselas, The Lives of the Poets, London and the Variety of Human Wishes, Life of Milton

Related work: Boswell “Life of Johnson”

Goethe Faust 2 the counter-canonical poem (in his language the equivalent of Dante)

European literature forms a continuous tradition from Homer to Goethe. A step beyond is only first taken by Wordsworth.

West-Eastern Diwan, Passion Trilogies poems, Faust pt. 1, Wilhelm Meister (Goethe’s Hamlet interpretation)

Faust pt. 1 is crazy enough, pt.2 makes Joyce seem straightforward. Reading Faust closely becomes a banquet of sense. 

The man is a culture in himself, became a god for Hugo, was a total iconoclast, Faust = the religion of the self, one crucial center is the Byron-Goethe literary relationship. He is at once Yahwist, Elohist, Deuteronomist.

Related work: T. Mann “Goethe and Tolstoy”, “Lotte in Weimar”, Dante Paradiso, Milton “Paradise Lost”, “The Four Zoas”, Norman Mailer “Ancient Evenings”, Aristophanes “The Frogs”, Peer Gynt (parodies Faust).

Characters: Werther, W Meister, Faust, Mephistopheles ( becoming in Mann: Tonio Kröger, Hans Castorp, Dr. Faustus, and Divan -> Felix Krull)

Shakespeare, Dante, Goethe, Cervantes, and Tolstoy destroy all genre distinctions by and in their work.

Democratic Age

Austen and Wordsworth

Wordsworth invented modern poetry, like Petrarch invented Renaissance poetry.

”The Old Cumberland Beggar”, “The Ruined Cottage” (later “The Excursions”), “Michael”, “Prelude” (Miltonic), lntimations of Immortality”, “Tintern Abbey”, “Resolution and Independence”, “The Borderers” (Othello rewrite)

“Persuasion”, “Sense and Sensibility”, “Mansfield Park”, “Emma”

Related Work: the aura of the later Tolstoy work, R. Frost “An Old Man’s Winter Night”, “The Death of the Hired Man”, W Stevens “Long and Sluggish Lines”, Shelley “Alastor”, Byron “Lyrical Ballads”, “Childe Harold”

characters: Anne Elliott, Elizabeth Bennett, Emma Woodhouse

Whitman (center of the American canon)

Leaves of Grass (1&2) (collections of poems), most notable: Song of Myself, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, A  Clear Midnight, The Sleepers, The Conduct of Life, The Waste Land

section 41 is superb blasphemy

related works: Nietzsche “Thus Spake Zarathustra”


From blank to blank (she unnames): poem 258, 1109, 419, 627(!), 1733

Related work: Stevens “The Auroras of the Autumn”, Nietzsche “Will to Power”


Resurrection, The Devil, Kreutzer Sonata, What is Art?, Hadji Murat (!), The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Master and Man, The Cossacks, Father Sergius, War and Peace, Anna Karenina

related work: Gorki “Reminiscences”, Wordsworth “The Ruined Cottage”, “The Old Cumberland Beggar”, George Eliott “Adam Bede”, Hemingway “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, JF Baddely “Russian Conquest of the Caucasus”

characters” Anna Karenina (Tolstoy did not forgive her she is Shakespearean), Shamil, Princess Vasilevna

as an author, Tolstoy is similar to Homer; he had a fury against King Lear but in his own life was one

Dickens and Eliott wrote the canonical novel:

Dickens Bleak House, Elliot “Middlemarch”

this ages masters of novel: Austen, Scott, Dickens, Eliot, Stendhal, Hugo, Balzac, Manzoni, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Goncharov, Dostoevski, Zola, Flaubert, Hawthorne, Melville, James, Hardy, Conrad.

Copperfield, Tale of Two Cities, Pickwick Papeqrs; Women in Love, Tintern Abbey, Resolution and Independence, Intimations of Immortality, Silas Marner, Daniel Deronda (style related to Dante), Tender is the Night

Related work: Howard’s End, Woolf “To the Lighthouse”, Hardy “The Woodlanders”, Pilgrim’s Progress, Bellow “The Deans’s December”

Characters: Madame du Farge, Esther, Lady Bedlock, John Jardyce, Dorothea Brooke, Ursula Brangwein

  • Edited January 2, 2022 11:48 am  by  YoungGandalf

From: YoungGandalf DelphiPlus Member IconJan-2 12:22 PM 
To: All  (136 of 161) 
 14373.136 in reply to 14373.135 

Ibsen “Hedda Gabler”, “Peer Gynt”, “Brand”, “The Master Builder”, “Emperor and Galilean”, “When We Dead Awaken”

related work: there are shadows of Hamlet and Faust everywhere in his work; Goethe’s demoniac has morphed into trollish

characters: Peer, Hedda, the Button Molder (at once Gretchen and Beatrice), the Strange Passenger

The Chaotic Age


Moses and Monotheism, Theory of Sexuality (lear, Othello in inhibitions, symptoms, anxieties), Beyond the Pleasure Principle (Macbeth), The Interpretation of Dreams

Related work: Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth


In Search of Lost Time (Remembrance of Things Past), 3,300 pages

it combines three abandoned paradises: Sodom, Jerusalem, Eden and leaves Balzac, Stendhal and Flaubert behind

related work: Othello, Scarlett Letter, Beckett “Proust”, Freud, Richardson “Clarissa), Bhagavad-gita

characters: Charlus, Swann, Albertine, Block, Bergotte, Cottard, Francoise, Gilberte, Bathilde, Oriane, Odette


Ulysses, Finnegan’s Wake (Shakespeare antithesis)

Related work: In search of lost time, Divine Comedy, Baconian Theory, Ulysses founded on Odyssey and Hamlet; Spenser “The Fairie Queen”, A Burgess “Nothing Like The Sun”! S Atherton “The Books at the Wake”, Glasheen “Third Census”

Characters : Earwicker


Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Orlando, The Waves, Between the Acts

secondary: A Room Of Ones Own, Three Guineas, The Rainbow, How One Should Read a Book (in the Second Common Reader)

Related work: Lawrence “Women in Love”, “The Crown”, “The Plumal Serpent”, “Kangaroo” (fascist prose), Freud “Civilization and its Discontents”, Shelley “Triumph of Life”, Don Quixote


The Bucket Rider, The Country Doctor, The Hunter Gracchus, The Great Wall of China, Investigations of a Dog, The Blue Octaw Notebooks

Kafka was the Dante of the Chaotic Age

rel. work: Dante, Nietzsche “On the Genealogy of Morals”

Borges, Neruda, Pessoa

Borges - Labyrinths and Ficciones are short story collections. The most important ones: The Garden of Forking Paths, Death and the Compass; Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis; Dreamtigers (The Makers), The Immortal ( relates to Shaw “Back to Methuselah), The Aleph

Related: de Quincey “Confessions of an English Opium Eater”

Neruda - Canto general, Residence on Earth, love poems, Fully Empowered

Pessoa - The Keeper of Sheep, The Book of Disquiet, poems.


Three novels: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnameable, Waiting for Godot, Endgame, Krapp’s Last Tape

Endgame is literally meant as an end to the canon, bringing Hamlet to a conclusion.

related work: Hamlet

character: Hamm (sic)

In the outlook that concludes the canon commentary, Bloom is very pessimistic about the future of Classics and Literature departments in the academy, thinking that their time is over. He also muses about the coming of a new Theocratic Age.

I attach a copy of his full canon list that follows the commentary.

Years ago I have started to download free pdf files of the books in the canon from sources such as . The Indian National Library in particular is good for free copies of the Chaotic Age books. At this time I have some 300-400 of them. A particular problem with foreign books is to find a really good translation.



  • Edited January 2, 2022 1:17 pm  by  YoungGandalf

From: YoungGandalf DelphiPlus Member IconJan-3 10:55 AM 
To: All  (137 of 161) 
 14373.137 in reply to 14373.136 

I have been working on a reading plan. I tried to sort by topic and by my preference to mix things up.
My guiding idea was to put those documents into group one, which everyone reacts to among authors (according to Bloom). I let only three Shakespeare texts into that group. And I tried to identify a theme for each. Then I made more groups guided by one such theme, and I assigned major canon author texts to each. Then I skimmed the canon list to assign secondary writers to the group, and finally I added some Theocratic age texts too.

The difficulty is to know what all the minor texts are about without having read them. The plan is okay, but could be improved. The plan is not to stick with one group when reading. Jumping is okay when desired. Some texts are full fledged novels, others are short stories or poems. The plan is to compare within the group.
*indicates what I already read, ^what I read in part

Group 1 - Theme: Reacting to the Yahwist

- Shak:Hamlet^, Dante: Divine Comedy*, Goethe: Faust1,2*, Shak: King Lear, Shak: Othello, Chaucer: Cant. tales*, Cervantes: Don Quixote*, Tolstoy: AnnaKarenina*; Yahwist: Pentateuch^, Sophocles: Plays^, Plato:People^
-minors - T.Mann:Josef, Hemingway:The Garden of Eden, JStMill:On Liberty, Nietzsche:Will to Power, Dostoevski: Crime and Punishment, Boccaccio:Decameron, Rousseau:Confessions, Schiller:Wallenstein trilogy*

Group 2 - Othello, Theme (self punishment, betrayal, consistency of character) (assumes that one has read Othello)

- Austen:Emma, Wordsworth:TheBorderers, Ibsen:The Master Builder, Moliere:TheMisanthrope, Dickens: Little Nell/Curiosity Shop, Neruda:Residence on Earth, poems, Chaucer: House of Fame, Milton:Samson Agonistes, Kafka:The HunterGracchus, Borges:The Maker, Tolstoy:The Cossacks, Eliot: Adam Bede

- minors - Capote:In Cold Blood, Camus: The Plague, Hugo:LesMis, Strindberg:Dance of Death, Brecht:Mother Courage, Tasso:Jerusalem Delivered, Defoe:Robinson Crusoe*, Moll Flanders, Schiller:Tell;; Aeschylus:Plays, Hesiod: Theogony

Group 3 Faust - Theme: demoniac world, pacts with the devil

- Milton:Paradise Lost, Tolstoy:The Devil, Kreutzer Sonata, Ibsen:Peer Gynt, Freud: Moses and Monotheism (murder as origin of religion), Pessoa: poems, Whitman: The Sleepers, Shak: Midsummer Night’s Dream, Wordsworth: Intimations of Immortality, Borges:Labyrinths (poems), Moliere:Tartuffe (readers were threatened with excommunication), Kafka:The Castle, Dickens:Edwin Drood

minors -Rilke: The Book of Hours, Duino Elegies (poems), Huxley:Brave New World, T.Mann:Dr.Faustus, Flaubert:Madame Bovary, Byron: poems, Stevenson:Jekyll and Hide, F de Rojas:Celestine, Swift:Gulliver’s Travels*;; Aristophanes:Plays^, Aesop:Fables^, 1001 nights

Group 4 Don Quixote - love scheme

- Moliere: Don Juan, Samuel Johnson: London and the Vanity of Human Wishes, Goethe:Passion Trilogies (poems), Dickens:Bleak House, Freud: Interpretation of Dreams, Kafka:Investigations of a Dog, The Trial*, Neruda:love poems, Borges:Ficciones (poems), Shak:Henry IV, Tolstoy:Father Sergius, Ibsen:Brand

minors- Corneille: El Cid, de Camoens -Luisiads, Kipling:Kim, Twain: Huck Finn*, E Poe: tales, Shelley: Frankenstein, Hesse: Glass Pearl Game, Lessing: Golden Notebook, Stendhal:On Love;; Bhagavid-gita, Pindar:The Odes , Ovid:Metamorphoses

Group 5 Canterbury Tales - mission theme

Woolf:Mrs.Dalloway, Austen:Persuasion, Milton:Paradise Regained, Neruda:Fully Empowered (poems), Dickinson:selected poems, Freud:Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Kafka:The Country Doctor, Shak:Love’s Labors Lost, Tolstoy:Death of Ivan Illyich, Goethe:Wilhelm Meister, Eliot: Silas Marner

minors- Fitzgerald: Great Gatsby, O.Paz (poems), Balzac: Girl with the Golden Eyes, de Quincey: Confessions of an English Opium Eater, Stoker: Dracula, de Vega:Lost in a Mirror, A.Pope: poems;; Plutarch:Lives^, Herodotus:History, Horace:Satires, Odes

  • Edited January 3, 2022 3:20 pm  by  YoungGandalf

From: YoungGandalf DelphiPlus Member IconJan-3 3:18 PM 
To: All  (138 of 161) 
 14373.138 in reply to 14373.137 

Group 6 - Hamlet - epic intrigue scheme

- Montaigne:Essays, Austen:Mansfield Park, Whitman:Leaves of Grass 1&2 (poems, subtract poems listed elsewhere), Tolstoy:Master and Man, Eliott:Adam Bede, Ibsen:Hedda Gabler, Dickens:Oliver Twist, Beckett:Endgame, Joyce:Finnegan's Wake, Borges:Garden of Forking Paths

minors- Yeats:poems, Flaubert:The Family Idiot, Stendhal:The Black and the Red, Rossetti:poems, C Bronte:JaneEyre, Voltaire:Zadig, Racine:Phaedra, Schiller:Robbers;; Vergil:Aeneid , Cicero:OnTheGods , SenecaTragedies:(Medea, Hercules furens)

Group 7 - King Lear themes: aging patriarch, loyalty vs. love and ambition, ends to be faced

- Eliott:Middlemarch, Ibsen:Emperor And Galilean, Beckett:Krapp's Last Tape, Joyce:Ulysses, Proust:In Search of Lost Time, Woolf:Orlando, Borges:The Aleph, Pessoa:Keeperof Sheeps, Tolstoy:Hadji Murat, Shak:Merchant of Venice

minors - Gogol:Dead Souls, GB Shaw:Pygmalion, G Stein:Three Lives, Strindberg:Dance of Death, O Wilde: Dorian Gray, Nietzsche:Beyond Good and Evil, Petrach:poems, Calderon:Life is a Dream ;; Thucydides:Peloponnese War, Lucretius:The Way Things Are , Lucian:Satires

Group 8 - Tolstoy: theme epics

Tolstoy:War and Peace, Samuel Johnson:Lives of the Poets, Goethe:West-Eastern Diwan, Kafka:Great Wall of China, The Bucket Rider,  Borges:Death and the Compass, Pessoa:Book of Disquiet, Austen:Sense&Sensibility, Shak:Macbeth*, Beckett:Three Novels (Malloy, Mallone Dies, The Unnameable), Woolf:The Waves

minors - T Hardy:Woodlanders, T Mann: Magic Mountain^, Pasternak:Dr. Zhivago, Dostoevski: The Idiot, Melville: Moby Dick,  Turgenev:Fathers and Sons, Lessing: Laocon + Nathan the Wise*, Swift: Tale of a Tub, Wordsworth:Michael ;; Homer:Illiad*, Odyssee*

Group 9 - Divine Comedy - theme afterlife, fate

- Samuel Johnson:Life of Milton, Freud_ Theory of Sexuality, Shak:Anthony and Cleopatra, Wordsworth:Prelude, Chaucer:Troilus and Cressida, Dickens: Pickwick Papers, Woolf: Between the Acts, Twain:The Mysterious Stranger

- minors - Shaw:Back to Methuselah, Rushdie:Midnight's Children, de Chateaubriand:The Genius of Christianity, W Scott:Old Mortality, G Macdonald:Lilith, ETA Hoffmann:The Devil's Elixir, G Bruno:The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast, Calderon:The Mighty Magician, Sartre:No Exit ;; Egyptian Book of the Dead, St.Augustine:Confessions, The City of God , Apocrypha

  • Edited January 3, 2022 5:46 pm  by  YoungGandalf

From: YoungGandalf DelphiPlus Member IconJan-28 11:19 PM 
To: All  (139 of 161) 
 14373.139 in reply to 14373.138 

In the meantime, my other reading has gone on. I finished Mark Aurel and started Plotinus’ Enneads. Plotinus was a philosopher in Alexandria, who lived until 270 CE. Thus, he falls before Ptolemy, the end piece of Aristotle’s school, and he falls before the move of the Romans to Byzantium/Constantinople and the adoption of Christianity as its official religion.

The Enneads have nothing to do with the Aeneids. They are very dense and detailed philosophies that take up some of Aristotle’s thoughts from the Metaphysics and take it farther. I don’t think that Plotinus is part of Aristotle’s school though.

The Enneads come in six chapters, each the length of a regular book. Together, they make about 750 pages. It took me all of January, with a head start in December, to the end of chapter two. Each Ennead is broken down into nine tractates. The first twenty-one were written by 263, the remainder represent a certain change in style, related to a new disciple, Porphyrus, and a change of lifestyle.

The first Ennead introduces many subjects, the second dissects the Kosmos-Creator puzzle. We see here delineated in great depth the best argument in favor of soul and deity that one can hope for based on the Aristotelian world view. The premises were not really free to choose in the Greek world because they were too deeply woven into the Platonian-Aristotelian ideas of the world and the elements the world is made of. Plotinus simply thinks these ideas to their conclusion. From today’s perspective we would question and reject most of his premises.

The enneads ahead deal with: 3- fate and providence; love; time and eternity, 4- the soul; its essence, its problems, its immortality, its descent into the body, 5- the origin and order of the beings (this should be fun), on the intellectual principle, 6- the kinds of being, on omnipresence, on numbers (I suspect it may be a reaction to the Pythagorean school?), on free will.

  • Edited January 29, 2022 10:27 am  by  YoungGandalf

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