- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday (May 22, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385541880
- ISBN-13: 978-0385541886
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Know Thyself: Western Identity from Classical Greece to the Renaissance Hardcover – May 22, 2018
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"Rumors of the death of Western civilization must be questioned when a work of popular history as absorbing and readable as this is published...New Western civ classes could ask for no better overview."
—Booklist, starred review
“In a thrilling story of pride and humility from the Greeks to the Renaissance, Know Thyself offers an entire education in a book. Ingrid Rossellini shows us where we have come from and who we need to be as citizens in a diverse and ever-changing world.”
—Barry Strauss, Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor in Humanistic Studies at Cornell University and author of The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination
"Rossellini’s epic is dazzling."
“Polymath Rossellini shares the fruits of her broad knowledge of literature, philosophy, art, and history in this…highly rewarding work…a highly satisfying journey across centuries of culture...Rossellini gives us illuminating classes in art history, Western civilization, philosophy, and religion, all rolled into one book that must be read closely and pondered fully.”
—Kirkus, starred review
“Scholar Rossellini’s grand study, in many ways, presents a history of the Western soul…Rossellini is skilled in teasing out the metaphysical and cultural hinges that shaped the Western mind…a scholarly yet accessible tour through the history of Western civilization, pleasantly detailing the rises, declines, rediscoveries, and revolutions along the way.”
About the Author
INGRID ROSSELLINI was born in Rome and educated there, and later received a BA, master's, and Ph.D. in Italian Literature from Columbia, writing her dissertation on Petrarch. She has taught literature and Italian film at Columbia, NYU, Harvard, Princeton, and other universities. She is the daughter of the actress Ingrid Bergman and the director Roberto Rossellini; Isabella Rossellini is her sister. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
Related Video Shorts (0)
Be the first videoYour name here
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Rossellini's style is accessible: elegant yet conversational, never pedantic. I've read this book slowly, to absorb and savor its insights. I know I'll be returning to it.
And a lesson from ancient history pertinent to our current time: welcome outsiders, learn from our differences, expand our perspectives, and elect leaders who are not interested in amassing great fortunes at the expense of the working people. That’s the way to grow and prosper!
A really extensive review of philosophy from ancient Greece, Rome, and the early and late Middle Ages up into the Renaissance - not necessarily centered around the topic of you-ness as the title would suggest, but the transition of interpersonal theory from mythology, humans existing within an order somewhere between animals and the gods, art and drama as invoking undue emotion, intellectual reasoning, meritocracy within the Roman senate, the effect of Christianity (at once beatific, yet damning as in the Divine Comedy), monastic life, the reign of European kings and raids of the Vikings & Normans, the Crusades, quarrel between church and state, the Black Plague, high architectural design and city-building in Italy, pursuing human studies over theology, and the Reformation.
Rossellini begins with "...our all-too-human tendency to favor self-interest well above communal purposes has always been the most consistent obstacle to the creation of a fully harmonic and unified society" and concludes with "...the sin that since the dawn of time has been considered the greatest of all human shortcomings is hubris, which means both lack of humility and the ambition to think that one does not need the imput of others to enrich the meager finitude of the self," thus bookending this tome about history, philosophy and one's place in it all.
Know Thyself reads like part history book and part philosophical discussion with plenty of art, culture, and religion thrown in. Rossellini has plenty of one-line zingers which scratch at the heart of the matter: who we are in the midst of society. Some of my favorites were:
"In agreement with Aristotle, Cicero in his book On Duties maintained that true humanness occurred when man developed to his utmost the social talents for which he was created. “We are not born for ourselves alone, … but our country claims for itself one part of our birth.”"
"The Stoics of these disillusioned times—to use Bertrand Russell’s words—asked not “how can men create a good State?” but rather “how can men be virtuous in a wicked world, or happy in a world of suffering?”"
"For Seneca, who, as tutor of Nero, had witnessed firsthand the atrocities of which human nature is capable, that fierce clinging to resignation might have appeared as the only possible anchor of salvation in a world full of violence and darkness."
"The prejudiced view was easily extendable to the Muslims: infidels who, by virtue of being non-Christians, were imagined by the majority of Western people (most of whom had never met a Muslim) as more akin to animals and monsters than human beings."
"Relying on prejudice to demonize and dehumanize the Other was, and still remains, the best way to incite man’s zest for hate and killing."
"We cannot expect to improve ourselves if we don’t assume the responsibility of being our brothers’ (and sisters’!) keepers. The most important lesson we can derive from history is that identity is built never on a monologue but always on the honest, respectful, and committed exchange of ideas that true dialogue represents."
There were many times when I paused to reread a passage or think over some of the truths Rossellini laid out. I would love to see a complementary volume which looked at the identity of self through an Eastern lens.