lub: Fontainebleu, France
Name of book: What I believe / Woran ich glaube
Author: Jacqueline de Romilly of the French Academy
Date: December 2013

Group: First Friday Reading Circle

English: Jacqueline de Romilly was the first woman-professor at the Collège de France, the first woman elected at the “Academy des Inscriptions et belles Lettres” and in 1988, the second woman at the French Academy. She is a well-known  Hellenist, a specialist in Greek civilization and language; she is the author of many books about the historian Thucydide, about Eschyle and Euripide’s theatre and about the Peloponese war.

“Ce que je crois” is a posthumous book. It was written after 1968 events in France at a time when minds were full of doubts ; there was a university crisis, a social crisis, a value crisis… Fully aware of the unrest of our time, Jacqueline de Romilly wished to share with us her reaction towards this crisis, her faith in manhood, her thoughts, her freedom, her taste for truth and right -in a  word her convictions.

This short book is divided in 4 chapters :

–        How Greeks were marvelled by the Light, synonymous of life and of their litterature. She praises that undestanding is most important and the pleasure to make things understandable.

–        Then she praises civism and the essential values on which it is based and which allow living together : to respect all laws and legality. Moreover teaching is the same as education. As she says “ you are not born a man , but you learn how to become one”

–        After that, she explains how literature brings joys and happiness, because it helps to become a man. Litterature being the place where communication is the best shared.

–        Lastly, the past must be transmitted to enrich modernity.

This book is easy to read.

It shows a new form of humanism. It is really actual ; it is both a lesson of civism and of hope and this should be an example for many people.

Jacqueline de Romilly was the first woman-professor at the Collège de France, the first woman elected at the “Academy des Inscriptions et belles Lettres” and in 1988, the second woman at the French Academy. She is a well-known  Hellenist, a specialist in Greek civilization and language; she is the author of many books about the historian Thucydide, about Eschyle and Euripide’s theatre and about the Peloponese war.

“Ce que je crois” is a posthumous book. It was written after 1968 events in France at a time when minds were full of doubts ; there was a university crisis, a social crisis, a value crisis… Fully aware of the unrest of our time, Jacqueline de Romilly wished to share with us her reaction towards this crisis, her faith in manhood, her thoughts, her freedom, her taste for truth and right -in a  word her convictions.

This short book is divided in 4 chapters :

–        How Greeks were marvelled by the Light, synonymous of life and of their litterature. She praises that undestanding is most important and the pleasure to make things understandable.

–        Then she praises civism and the essential values on which it is based and which allow living together : to respect all laws and legality. Moreover teaching is the same as education. As she says “ you are not born a man , but you learn how to become one”

–        After that, she explains how literature brings joys and happiness, because it helps to become a man. Litterature being the place where communication is the best shared.

–        Lastly, the past must be transmitted to enrich modernity.

This book is easy to read.

It shows a new form of humanism. It is really actual ; it is both a lesson of civism and of hope and this should be an example for many people.Club: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

 

German:  Jacqueline de Romilly war die erste Frau, die am Collège de France zum Professor ernannt wurde, die erste Frau in der « Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres » und 1988 die in die Académie Française aufgenommen wurde. Bekannte und renommierte Spezialistin für altgriechische Sprache und Literatur, Verfasserin zahlreicher Werke,wie zum Beispiel über Thukydides, das Theater Äschylus und Euripides und die peloponnesischen Kriege.

 

« Woran ich  glaube » ist nach ihremTod erschienen, sie hatte das Buch im Zuge der Ereignisse der Revolution 1968 geschrieben, als sich allgemein Zweifel erhoben : am akademischen System, am Sozialen, an den Werten… Im Bewusstsein des Unbehagens der Zeit hat uns Jacqueline de Romilly in diesem kurzen, leidenschaftlichen Text mitteilen wollen, was ihr in dieser Krise klar geworden war : Ihr Glauben an den Menschen, dessen Verstand, seine Freiheit und Fähigkeit  zum Wahren und Guten, -kurz ihre Überzeugungen.

 

Das Buch ist wie folgt in vier Kapitel eingeteilt :

–  Die Faszination der Griechen vom Licht, Synonym des Lebens und ihrer Literatur. Sie        betont  die Bedeutung des Forschens und die Freude, Wissen weiterzugeben.

– Die Bedeutung der grundlegenden Werte, auf denen menschliche Zusammenleben beruht : Einhaltung der Gesetze und der Rechtlichkeit, der Wert des Unterrichts, der mit Erziehung einhergehen muss, denn « man wird nicht als Mensch im vollsten Sinne geboren, man lernt es zu werden ».

– Die wohltuende Wirkung der Literatur, die zur Menschwerdung beiträgt, als idealer Ort der Kommunikation.

– Die Notwendigkeit Vergangenes zu bewahren, um daraus für die Zukunft zu lernen.

Das Buch ist leicht zu lesen, keineswegs pedantisch. Ein Aufruf zu einer neuen Form der Humanitas, ein leidenschaftlicher Essay von ausserordentlicher Aktualität, und letzlich eine Lehre der Hoffnung und des Anstands, die Vielen ans Vorbild dienen sollt