In his book, Alexander Marey explores the history of the concept of authority. Along with power, authority is one of the most important concepts of political and social philosophy. But despite the fact that the contexts in which the term “authority” occurs, as well as the overall meaning of the concept, are quite familiar, the concept remains understudied, and its history has never before been written. The author examines the nature of authority, the ways in which authority is related to power, morality, politics, and law. In this book, the reader will find answers to many fundamental questions. What is the secret of influence of one person on another? What are the mechanisms of subordination? Why was the concept of authority of such importance for the Roman Republic, for the Christian monarchies of the Middle Ages, and for the authoritarian regimes of the XX century? What might the future of this concept be? All these questions are discussed in the book “Authority, or Submission without Violence”.
The research touches upon the anthropology of the act of performing and deals with various regimes of "repetition" in performing practices (which are not the same as performance as it is understood in contemporary art). One of the principal contexts of the bood is a philosophic topology of "theatricality" of G. Deleuze, and his categories of repetition, difference and event. Apart from Deleuze the book tackles the anthropology of performing in works by Wagner, Nietzsche, Derrida, Lacoue-Labarthe, Heidegger, Agamben.
The social and political meaning of war has changed over the history of Western civilization. Each era from Antiquity to the present has its own way of understanding war and providing it with moral assessment. At the same time, the duality of the attitude to war was steadily reproduced. People were constantly trying to tame violence, and cursing war, they were time after time looking for the excuse to keep fighting. We will try to understand why that happened answering a number of questions: What is war? How has reflection on the meaning of war changed over time? What benefit did belligerents get out of war? Can war be just and unjust? What was treated as permissible and intolerable on the battlefield? How the attitude towards war has changed since the beginning of the 21 century?
The book consists of two parts. The main part, ‘The Nature of a Masterpiece,’ addresses the historical and biographical circumstances that made possible the emergence of such an outstanding poem as the Iliad. In respect to the so-called Homeric question, the contribution of the analytical school is appreciated, but the idea of several layers behind the text of the Iliad as we have it is regularly used to discern the phases of Homer’s own interventions. Elaborating the approach adopted by George Goold (‘The Nature of Homeric Composition’ in Illinois Classical Studies 1977. Vol. 2: 1–34) and Martin West (The Making of the Iliad. Oxford, 2011), I assume that the author of the Iliad worked on it for a significant period of his life both expanding and modifying his poem. He took advantage of the emerging new genre, that is, of a large poem fixed in writing, which both invited an ambitious plan and saved the compositions from subsequent major distortions. The Iliad was hardly the earliest Greek poem put in writing nor was it Homer’s first poem. His work benefited from competition with his colleagues, most significantly with Arctinus of Miletus, whose Memnonid helped him to conceive the plot of the Iliad. An early stage of Homer’s career was connected with Argos where he was encouraged to glorify this city in his poetry. In such a spirit, he composed the Thebaid, and one of the motifs behind the initial Iliad was celebrating the Argive hero Diomedes who came to the foreground while Achilles refused to fight. The basic element of the plot (the best of the Achaeans withdraws for a time from fighting) easily permitted expansions of the composition completed at various preliminary stages.
The earlier versions of the Iliad were well received, and so the reputation and self-confidence of the poet were growing. However, a dramatic change happened in Homer’s life: he lost his power to see. Homeric poetry rules out the idea that he was blind from birth. The basic trustworthiness of the tradition that he became blind at a later stage in his life is confirmed by the mention of the blind man of Chios whose songs are the best in the Hymn to Delian Apollo. If the author of the hymn is Homer, than we have an autobiographical remark. If the hymn is a 6th c. forgery, the reference to the blind man of Chios still appears as the way, and the only way, to make one think that the author of the hymn is Homer, which implies how widely spread the notion of the blind author of the Iliad and the Odyssey was already in the 6th c.
While the relatively young author of preliminary versions of the Iliad either belonged to the aristocracy or somehow else enjoyed relatively high social status (following Joachim Latacz), the new situation of a blind man meant for Homer increasing dependence on other people and declining social status. Approaching old age added to the effect. In terms of social status, Homer got an experience of living two different lives. This is why the Weltanschauung of the Odyssey differs in several ways from that of the Iliad. However, later stages of the Iliad display essential similarities with the spirit of the Odyssey. One may even say that it was the author of the Odyssey (still Homer himself) who turned a preliminary, already remarkable Iliad into that unique poem as we have it. When Homer started the Odyssey (probably not without stimulus from the Return of the Atreidai by Agias of Troezen), the Iliad had yet neither the Farewell between Hector and Andromache nor the Embassy nor the Ransom of Hector nor (which is of lesser importance) the episodes with Odysseus in the foreground. While empathy is manifest throughout the Iliad, and this probably reflects an essential feature of Homer as a human being, his new experience, his situation of a weak person who in daily life depends on the generosity of the others, made Homer even more receptive to human suffering. While epic poets traditionally sung magnificent exploits, the Iliad became a poem about and full of both heroic deeds and human compassion.
The personal evolution of the poet was congruent with historical change. The contemporaries of Homer, while still admiring the mighty ‘sackers of cities’ of the legendary past, cared much more about defending their own cities rather than robbing those of the other people. It is characteristic that the Iliad is constructed in such a way that we see the Achaeans defending their own wall rather than storming the wall of the city they came to destroy. The historical change in question made socially acceptable the poem that ends with solemn funeral of Hector, the main enemy who happened to be also the main defender of his city. Since Hector in the course of reworking the Iliad was becoming a truly attractive character, there emerged a problem of how to present Achilles, the best of the Achaeans, who was destined to kill such Hector. This led to elaborating Achilles into a uniquely (for all ancient literature) deep and complex character.
I date Homeric poems to approximately the first third of the seventh century BC (see also my “Democritus’ Trojan Era and the Foundations of Early Greek Chronology” in Hyperboreus. 2000. Vol. 6, 1: 31–78). Such dating invites us to consider the Iliad and the Odyssey as a manifestation of a recurrent historical phenomenon, that of a cultural florescence (see: H. Graeve, Gesellschaft und Kreativität: Entstehung, Aufbau und Gestalt von Kulturblüten. München; Wien, 1977; D. Panchenko, “The Cultural Florescence of Fifth-Century Athens in Comparative Perspective,” in Il quinto secolo. Studi di filosofia antica in onore di Livio Rossetti, a cura di S. Giombini e F. Marcacci. 2010. 215–227).
With his extraordinary ability for empathy, with his increasing pursuit of the moral improvement of his audience, with his coming back over many years to his work on the poem that eventually reflected the experience of both the audacious youth of a high status person and of a blind old man who is essentially interested in the appropriate behavior of the people around him, Homer was better prepared than other contemporary poets to produce a masterpiece that causes a deep emotional and intellectual response, a masterpiece for all times.
The second part, ‘On the Genealogy of Epic Motifs’ traces earlier life of various Homeric motifs and statements. It is argued there that the epic tradition reflected in Homer is significantly heterogenic, and one of its important components may be defined as the epic tradition of the sea-raiders. A number of observations are introduced that point to the likely northern, in particular Scandinavian, connections of the Ionian sea-raiders who found their homes in Attica and Euboea. Various traditions that reached Homer provided him with a much wider scope of ideas and with larger horizons than one would otherwise assume for an Ionian Greek of the early seventh century BC. Therefore one is justified to consider as echoes of true knowledge the words about the immense expanse of the sea (Od. 3. 318–22) or about the Ethiopians, “the farthermost of men, some abiding where Hyperion sets, and some where he rises” (Od. 1. 23f.). One is also justified to speak (though not without reservation) about the Homeric cosmology. An explanation is offered for why the north wind (Od. 10. 507) bears the ship of Odysseus to the realm of perpetual darkness. The idea of the eye of god and its relation to one-eyed monsters is discussed. The final chapter confirms an old idea by Ernst Krause about the connection between ideas of the labyrinth and of Troy. It also addresses the question of what brought together the mythical and historical components of the story of Troy and assigns a certain role in this process to the identity of the names of Alexander of Troy who raped, in myth, Helen and of Alaxandus (=Alexander) who ruled Wilusa (= Ilion).
In 1937, the Soviet Union mounted a national celebration commemorating the centenary of poet Alexander Pushkin’s death. Though already a beloved national literary figure, the scale and feverish pitch of the Pushkin festival was unprecedented. Greetings, Pushkin! presents the first in-depth study of this historic event and follows its manifestations in art, literature, popular culture, education, and politics, while also examining its philosophical underpinnings. Jonathan Brooks Platt looks deeply into the motivations behind the Soviet glorification of a long-dead poet—seemingly at odds with the October revolution’s radical break with the past. He views the Pushkin celebration as a conjunction of two opposing approaches to time and modernity: monumentalism and eschatology. Monumentalism—in pointing to specific moments and individuals as the origin point for cultural narratives, and eschatology—which glorifies ruptures in the chain of art or thought, and the destruction of canons. In the midst of the Great Purge, the Pushkin jubilee was a critical element in the drive toward a nationalist discourse that attempted to unify and subsume the disparate elements of the Soviet Union, supporting the move to “socialism in one country”.
The book is dedicated to the Leningrad architect Nikolai Alexandrovich Miturich (1891–1973), whose work has so far remained virtually unexplored in Russian historiography. His long and incredibly rich creative career will be a discovery for anyone interested in Russian art of the first half of the 20th century. Miturich took part in the most important events in the history of the Leningrad architectural school during the first post-revolutionary decades. His legacy is very diverse: from park kiosks and sports pavilions to Palaces of Culture and theater buildings. This book contains unique materials from the architect’s personal archive. For the first time, more than 100 documents are published: photographs, architectural projects, furniture sketches, theatrical stage designs, as well as a diary and drawings created during his trip to the battle front during the First World War.
Results of public opinion polls confront us every day, being the main source of information about the society we live in. The significance of public opinion for contemporary politics is constantly growing. However, people often wonder if the results of opinion polls can be trusted. What is the right way to read them? What is behind these numbers and what are they actually telling us? Are public opinion polls a contribution or an obstacle for the development of democracy? What are they — science, political technology, or something else? Greg Yudin’s “Public Opinion, or The Power of Numbers” answers these and other questions about the nature and operation of public opinion.
The subject of the book is Osip Mandelstam’s prose work “A Cold Summer” (1923). Engaging readers into a close reading of the text, not only does the author offer a fresh perspective on it but she also presents a vivid picture of how the Russian language pertained in the 1920s. The book is written in the rare genre of language commentary in which linguistic analysis interacts on multiple levels – those of morphology, syntax, semantics, orthography, and punctuation – with a literary analysis of the history of a text - its creation, editing, and publication. The commentary strives to equip readers with information essential for comprehending Mandelstam’s text, and in doing so, it continually challenges our assumptions about familiar words and expressions, showing that they used to have different meaning, connotations, and stylistic status back in the 1920s. In several cases, the reader has an opportunity to discover in Mandelstam’s text meanings that were factitiously obscured by publishers. Particularities of Mandelstam’s personal usage (with the complete corpus of his texts being considered) are demonstrated in the book against the background of the language usage of the epoch as it is represented in the texts from the Russian National Corpus. The facsimile of the issue of Ogoniok magazine where Mandelstam’s text was first published vividly recreates the print media context of “A Cold Summer”. Carefully culled illustrations – photographs, paintings, graphics and film images of the 1920s – give the reader a glimpse into the everyday life of Moscow of that time. The book will appeal to anyone with interest in Osip Mandelstam's works as well as to Mandelstam scholars and translators, historians of literature, and linguists.