Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Gera, Deborah Levine. "Review of John Heath's THE TALKING GREEKS." BMCR (July 2008).
Heath, John. The Talking Greeks: Speech, Animals, and the Other in Homer, Aeschylus, and Plato. Cambridge: CUP, 2005. "The thesis of this book is embarrassingly unsophisticated: humans speak; other animals don't," reads the opening sentence of this rich and illuminating study by John Heath. The book is an exploration of the use the Greeks made of the criterion of speech -- or, at times, the criterion of intelligible, cogent, and authoritative speech -- to distinguish between gods and mortals, humans and animals, Greeks and non-Greeks, as well as between men and women, slaves, and children. Heath looks closely at passages in Homer, Aeschylus, and Plato, in order to examine how the singular human capacity of language is used by the Greeks to establish and explore the differences between themselves and various types of the Other, most notably non-speaking animals. . . . Read the whole review here: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2008/2008-07-62.html.