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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 210, November 29-30, 1853

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Identifier: DX03931238

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 210, November 29-30, 1853

Description: Gives his thoughts on ancient Greek plays.


old English books. One I must get [George] Herbert’s Poetic works. Walked back in rain drizzle at 11, no cars overtaking me. Reading [George William] Curtis “Potiphar Papers” a downright clever “Vanity fair” book on New York society.

30. Wednesday. A note and boy from [Edwin] Weed. Writing till 1 1/2, then dined, and down town. To Weed’s for block, [Thomas W.] Strongs, Tailors, Mc Afee’s & other places. Returned by 4, Ben Haun called & left. I to Savings Bank for $30. Over half an hours waiting in the long queue of folks, during which I finished the Potiphar papers. Then to supper, and room. / Reading Aristophanes. Plays which half a century before Our Saviours birth shook the sides of Keen witted, laughter loving Greeks. Strange is it, after all that solemn tramp of nigh two thousand years, with the rise and fall of empires, it the mighty names born, the deeds piteous, terrible, divine & heroic — to be reading these plays! A new, neat, cleanly-printed English volume. What was England when Parthenon-building, Pericles ruled Greeks witnessed the performance of these? Ultima Thule — savage Northern land, dire forests engirdled by strange seas, peopled (to the imagination of the Greeks) by a race of monsters with dog’s heads surmounting a human form. / Very Pagan are these dramas. Witty, poetic, they are, but there’s no finger pointing heaven-wards. They are wonderfully ingenious in epithet and phraseology. And also very Punchy, — they remind me of Punch! There’s the same buffoonery article, and shrewd common-sense within. They discuss public matters, political and social, ever with a sound verdict. / In the “Birds” there’s a downright “Bombastes Furioso” scene; — where the Dead Man bargains with Bacchus about carrying baggage into Hades.

/ [Alfred] Waud & [Charles] Damoreau called, singly. Waud being going uptown wards to drill; and looking in at 10 1/2 after wards.

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1853-11-29

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Plays
Banks and banking
Mythology, Greek
Books and reading


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