The Anger of Achilles and its Source: A Reading of Book One of the Iliad

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Admission: Free

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Great Hall, Peterson Student Center
Adam Schulman, tutor, St. John’s College, Annapolis

Anger—sing goddess the anger of Peleus’ son Achilles. Why is it that “anger” is the first word of the first great book of Western civilization (and of the St. John's College curriculum)? Why did Homer choose to write an epic poem of some 15,000 lines about the anger of Achilles?  Why should anger be an important theme, if not the central theme, of all of classical literature? How might reflection on anger form at least the starting point, if not also the core, of a liberal education? These are questions Adam Shulman hopes to illuminate, and perhaps to answer, through a close reading of the first book of the Iliad.

Adam Schulman has been a tutor at St. John’s College, Annapolis, since 1989.  He received a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1980, a bachelor of arts in physics and philosophy from Oxford University in 1982, and a master of arts in history of science from Harvard University in 1985.  Four years later, Harvard conferred a doctorate degree in history of science.

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