Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Beyond the World of Time and Change

A.J. Toynbee (1889-1975), The Tragedy of Greece: A Lecture Delivered for the Professor of Greek to Candidates for Honours in Literae Humaniores at Oxford in May 1920 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1921), p. 12:
Certainly I found, in the worst moments of the war, that passages from the classics—some line of Aeschylus or Lucretius or Virgil, or the sense of some speech in Thucydides, or the impression of some mood of bitterness or serenity in a dialogue of Plato—would come into my mind and give me relief. I felt that these men had travelled along the road on which our feet were set; that they had travelled it farther than we, travelled it to the end; and that the wisdom of greater experience and the poignancy of greater suffering than ours was expressed in the beauty of their words. Personally I got that relief from acquaintance with Greek civilization as expressed in Greek literature, and I got it because it put me in communication with a different civilization from our own—with people who had experienced all and more than we had experienced, and who were now at peace beyond the world of time and change.

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