Catalogue


Restraining rage [electronic resource] : the ideology of anger control in classical antiquity /
William V. Harris.
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2001.
description
xii, 468 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0674006186 (cloth)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2001.
isbn
0674006186 (cloth)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
8051661
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 421-456) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
William V. Harris is Shepherd Professor of History at Columbia University and Director of the Center for the Ancient Mediterranean.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2002-02-01:
In this comprehensive exploration of anger and self-understanding in the classical world, Harris (Columbia Univ.; Ancient Literacy) endeavors to show that ancient discourses on anger control were responses to political and social conditions. Since the Iliad, the oldest work in Western literature, has as its theme the anger of Achilles, Harris has astutely hit upon a fascinating theme. Following a cogent effort to reconcile ancient and modern terminology, Harris catalogs the authors who wrote treatises on anger control. He then attempts to find the political elements that inspired so much writing on the subject. Looking through a lens defined by anger and rage, Harris examines the philosophies of Aristotle, Plato, and Seneca and the histories of Polybius and Plutarch, among others. This includes examining the control of anger in light of the patriarchal family structure and issues of civility in the volatile relationship of slaves and masters. He concludes by pursuing the evolution of these thoughts in the early Christian traditions. Highly recommended for faculty and graduate students of classical antiquity. Clay Williams, Hunter Coll., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2002-08-01:
In this comprehensive and unique history of classical anger management, Harris (Columbia Univ.) evaluates the efforts of the Greeks and Romans to control angry behavior or feelings (or both), primarily as responses to social and political conditions. He utilizes anthropological work that shows that the terminology and the expression of angry emotions--and perhaps the very experience of anger--vary culturally and chronologically. Harris debunks the common assumption of English-speaking scholars that words for ancient emotions correspond directly with ours. Evaluating the contexts and goals of texts from Homer through the fourth century CE, he concludes that the principal ancient terminology of anger, and the behavior to which ancient authors object, reflect intense and active anger. Harris makes a case for the connection between the literary or didactic image of the great man who can control his rage, and the fostering of stable political institutions (Greek poleis, Roman provincial states). This thorough overview also encompasses the male view of angry women, the problems posed by anger within families and between masters and slaves, and the development of concern over the effects of anger on health. The well-footnoted text and thorough bibliography make this a resource for professionals, while the readable and elegant prose make it enjoyable for interested general readers. S. Brown University of California, Los Angeles
Reviews
Review Quotes
Harris' new book focuses upon a central feature of the ancients' understanding of themselves, their obsession with anger in all its forms and their attempts to restrain at least its outward expression. Restraining Rage is brilliantly written, full of mordant insights, vastly and diversely erudite, and deeply committed not only to understanding the ancient world, but also our modern one. All in all, a marvelous book.
Harris's thoughtful, massively docoumented book is a major contribution to our understanding of the classical world...Harris is excellent on the kinds of therapy that ancient thinkers proposed and applied to excessive rage...His book will be a major resource for anyone concerned with the history of the emotions, whether in antiquity or beyond. It is a great achievement.
A remarkable book. Harris uses anger as a focal point for an examination of a very wide range of intellectual activity and social practices. The work ranges over theories of the emotions and the soul, the nature of civic life and politics, intra-familial conflict, marriage and attitudes toward women, slavery, and more. It is the most interesting, stimulating, and important book about ancient social and intellectual history that I have read in many years.
Harris is known for ground-breaking books on Roman imperialism and on literacy in the ancient world. His new book, a vastly ambitious attempt to cover nearly every aspect of anger in antiquity from Homer to early Christianity, breaks fresh ground again.
In this comprehensive exploration of anger and self-understanding in the classical world, Harris...endeavors to show that ancient discourses on anger control were responses to political and social conditions. Since the Iliad, the oldest work in Western literature, has as its theme the anger of Achilles, Harris has astutely hit upon a fascinating theme...Highly recommended.
Why did the ancient Greeks and Romans find fault with anger? Why did they so insistently advocate the reining in or the elimination of angry emotions? Rather than offering a mere analysis of arguments presented in our primary texts, Harris's study undertakes to provide an answer from a social-anthropological perspective, taking due cognizance of the groups whose interests were served by the discourse of anger control in Greco-Roman antiquity. Most importantly, he demonstrates the relevance of his historical enquiry by relating it to discussions on the subject in our contemporary culture.
This book by a leading ancient historian is bound to become a standard reference point for anyone interested in the history of emotions in antiquity. It draws together a range of texts from Homer to Post-Constantinian Christianity, showing how they approach the common problem of anger control and how the "solution" changes over time. There is no book on this central issue in ancient culture that matches Restraining Rage's breadth and scope.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, February 2002
Choice, August 2002
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
The angry emotions, and the problems they presented, were an ancient Greek preoccupation from Homer to late antiquity. From the first lines of the Iliad to the church fathers of the fourth century A.D. , the control or elimination of rage was an obsessive concern. From the Greek world it passed to the Romans. Drawing on a wide range of ancient texts, and on recent work in anthropology and psychology, Restraining Rage explains the rise and persistence of this concern. W. V. Harris shows that the discourse of anger-control was of crucial importance in several different spheres, in politics--both republican and monarchical--in the family, and in the slave economy. He suggests that it played a special role in maintaining male domination over women. He explores the working out of these themes in Attic tragedy, in the great Greek historians, in Aristotle and the Hellenistic philosophers, and in many other kinds of texts. From the time of Plato onward, educated Greeks developed a strong conscious interest in their own psychic health. Emotional control was part of this. Harris offers a new theory to explain this interest, and a history of the anger-therapy that derived from it. He ends by suggesting some contemporary lessons that can be drawn from the Greek and Roman experience.
Main Description
The angry emotions, and the problems they presented, were an ancient Greek preoccupation from Homer to late antiquity. From the first lines of the Iliad to the church fathers of the fourth century A.D., the control or elimination of rage was an obsessive concern. From the Greek world it passed to the Romans. Drawing on a wide range of ancient texts, and on recent work in anthropology and psychology, Restraining Rage explains the rise and persistence of this concern. W. V. Harris shows that the discourse of anger-control was of crucial importance in several different spheres, in politics--both republican and monarchical--in the family, and in the slave economy. He suggests that it played a special role in maintaining male domination over women. He explores the working out of these themes in Attic tragedy, in the great Greek historians, in Aristotle and the Hellenistic philosophers, and in many other kinds of texts. From the time of Plato onward, educated Greeks developed a strong conscious interest in their own psychic health. Emotional control was part of this. Harris offers a new theory to explain this interest, and a history of the anger-therapy that derived from it. He ends by suggesting some contemporary lessons that can be drawn from the Greek and Roman experience.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgementsp. ix
Abbreviationsp. xi
Approaches
Striving for Anger Controlp. 3
Science and Feelingsp. 32
The Greek and Latin Terminologyp. 50
The Minds of Ancient Authorsp. 71
A Tradition of Self-Controlp. 80
Philosophies of Restraining Ragep. 88
Treatises on the Emotions and on Angerp. 127
Anger in Society and in the State
The Heroes and the Archaic Statep. 131
Living Together in the Classical Polisp. 157
The Roman Versionp. 201
Restraining the Angry Rulerp. 229
A Thesis about Women and Angerp. 264
Intimate Rage
Family and Friendsp. 285
Slaveryp. 317
Anger and the Invention of Psychic Health
Anger as a Sickness of the Soul in Classical Greecep. 339
Can You Cure Emotions? Hellenistic and Roman Anger Therapyp. 362
From Sickness to Sin: Early Christianity and Angerp. 391
Retrospect and Prospectp. 401
Bibliographyp. 421
Indexp. 457
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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