For those of you who have been so kind as to follow my “junior Great Books” project, I thank you! Here is what I have been working on lately, ramping up to my first book series. I want to first write some books for little ones, maybe ages 3-6, introducing key authors and concepts.
I may do characters to go along with my animal plushies in another iteration, but for now I thought it would be fun to do alphabet coloring pages. Instant gratification!
So I will be posting them here as they are completed so anyone can download and print them as they please. At the end of the series, I will compile them into a complete book (both PDF and print) at the end of the series.
I hope you enjoy! As always, feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions, comments, struggles, suggestions, requests, or just want to talk. 🙂
A is for Augustine
“Our hearts are restless until they rest in God.”
St. Augustine of Hippo, known best for writing City of God, was quite the ladies man in his youth. It wasn’t until he saw the wrong in habitually stealing pears off of someone’s tree (for kicks, he didn’t even eat the pears) that he recognized the nature of sin, which prompted him to turn his life around and write Confessions.
B is for Bronte
“Conventionality is not morality.” –Charlotte Brontë
“Honest people don’t hide their deeds.” –Emily Brontë
“But he that dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.” –Anne Brontë
The Brontë sisters each wrote well-received works in their lifetimes under male pseudonyms, Emily for Wuthering Heights, Charlotte for Jane Eyre, and Anne for Agnes Grey. They employed “Byronic heroes” in their novels–arrogant, passionate, yet magnetic male figures with dark hearts (see Heathcliff and Mr. Rochester). As children, they had very vivid imaginations and created matchbook-sizes novels to bolster the morale of British soldiers.
C is for Cicero
Credite amori vera dicenti: “believe love speaking the truth.”
Docendo discitar: “by teaching one learns.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero was a politician during the decline and fall of the Roman Republic. He wrote to keep his mind sharp and drown his sorrows when he lost interest in serving the government under the rule of Caesar. He believed that greed is evil, and that repayment of debt is as important as national security. He believed that the only way to gain power is by mobilizing goodwill. “Freedom suppressed and then regained bites more sharply than if it had never been in peril.”
Gaining true friends and a good reputation requires goodwill (doing or willing to do one a service), confidence (intelligent and regarded as just/good), and respect of the kind that gets one promoted to high office. If a man is just, all three requirements are in the bag. You must genuinely be the kind of person you wish others to see you as. “Nothing counterfeit has any staying power.”
- Wisdom: the ability to distinguish truth from falsity and to understand the relationships between them and the consequences of each.
- Temperance: ability to restrain passions (pathe) and to make the appetites (hormai) amenable to reason.
- Justice: capacity to behave considerately and understandingly in associations with other people.
Qualities of a just person include moderation, loyalty/devotion to family, eloquence, kindness and liberality (both money and services), lenient in demands of others, avoid offending anyone. True friendship is wanting the best for another with no motives other than that person attaining what is best (requires that both parties are just).
“Beauty awakens the soul to act.”
Dante Alighieri was from Florence, Italy. He famously wrote the epic poem The Divine Comedy, an allegorical journey through hell, purgatory, and heaven. It was released in Italian instead of the typical Latin or Greek, thus reaching a broader audience and enhancing global literacy. He is credited with inventing the poetry rhyme scheme known as terza rima.
He studied painting, music, and poetry, and was influenced by a contemporary group of Italian poets–who wrote about personal & political passions–as well as Homer, Dante, Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy and Cicero’s De Amicitia.
He worked as a pharmacist and was involved in public affairs before turning to philosophy. He fought with those who were wary of the Pope’s political influence in the Guelph-Ghibelline conflict in 1289 and was consequently exiled from Florence for life.
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