Flowers and thorns

If in many areas the moderns built on the foundations laid by the ancients, extending their legacy, in rhetoric, tropes and stylistic devices there was not much else to add to what the classical word had established. All the rules, types and classifications of rhetorical composition and practice were discussed at length by classical theorists.Continue reading “Flowers and thorns”

The presumptuous present

Could it be that our pride in the benefit of hindsight, our conceited belief that the passage of time has made us better than our predecessors ultimately comes from the fact that ruins always lie beneath our feet, and we are always looking down, rather than back, on the past? The historian dealing with documentsContinue reading “The presumptuous present”

Imagination and anthropocentrism

The rejection of the present in favour of an alternative condition, state or situation had always been a function of two things : imagination and anthropomorphism. The former is socially praised today (it hasn’t always been), while the latter has been under attack by the elites as part of a larger critique against the violenceContinue reading “Imagination and anthropocentrism”

Cosmopolitan cities and speakers

The modern metropolis may be a hub of languages and cultures, a shared space where strangers become less strange and everyone finds a place. Yet the Industrial Revolution which produced the modern city, vertical, busy, industrious, was not particularly inclined, it seems to me, towards the form of urbanity that we are so familiar withContinue reading “Cosmopolitan cities and speakers”