26 April 2006

Austen and Ancients Update

Hi all Restraint team

Just a note to let you know what I've been doing since November. First of all, working on Self-Control in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park - complementing Susan's work on Pride and Prejudice. Till 1900, Fanny Price was a favourite heroine, but then no one had a good word to say for her, for the next 90 years - paralleling the fate of self-control itself.

Since then, I've started looking at the ancient Greek concept of _sophrosune_ (self-control). Because that's a very big subject, I'm focusing at present on a few key texts - Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Euripides' Hippolytus, Plato's Charmides and Republic, and Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics. _Sophrosune_ meant a whole lot of things, from wisdom, to self-control, to minding your own business, to, in the New Testament, sobriety. Cicero translated Plato's _sophrosune_ as _temperantia_, which leaves us with temperance - in its greater and lesser meanings. It was always a complex thing.

Please post, or email me (sgwilsonact@hotmail.com), with any thoughts or comments.

Cheers, Judy


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