Fabulous Thursday Quotes

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It was on the Thursday after September 11 that Persians first started making sense to me. All those years I’d been teaching it, I’d failed to notice the most obviously remarkable thing about it—the device that transmutes the raw and chaotic stuff of lived history into something bigger, something with a universal resonance. As I have said, the play was produced a mere eight years after the Greeks’ fabulous and unexpected victory over their immense foe. How much more striking, then, that Aeschylus—who, it’s perhaps necessary to point out, fought in the Persian Wars himself and lost a brother, called Cynegirus, in the aftermath of the great triumph at Marathon, a death that would become a popular talking point in the later Greek rhetoric about heroism— should have chosen to focus his imaginative sympathy not on the exulting Greeks, but on the sorrowing Persians. Which is to say that, in the very moment of their greatest victory, he asked his fellow Athenians to think radically, to imagine something outside of their own experience, to situate the feelings they were having just then—about themselves, about those others—in a vaster frame: one in which they might see that present triumph could induce a complacency that just might bring about future disaster.
Daniel Mendelsohn (How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken)