Thursday, May 15, 2014

Opening paragraphs..................Part One

     His nickname is Plato, which means "broad."  He's an immensely confident if unsmiling Athenian, wide of forehead, broad of shoulders, bold of bearing, who casually exudes a breadth of comprehension few would dare to question.  As he lobs the serve over the net, he does so with a glowering power that the spectators find thrilling.  Throughout his game, his stance can only be labeled lofty; he seems to be reaching ever higher, stretching toward Heaven, while his raised shirt provides an occasional glimpse of his noble abs.
     His serve is answered by his graceless opponent, a rangy, stringy-muscled man who plays his game much closer to the ground, whose eyes dart everywhere, who looks, despite his relative youth, to stand no chance of mounting a consistent challenge to our broad and supremely focused champion.  And yet the challenger - his name is Aristotle, son of a provincial doctor - manages to persist, to meet his opponent with an ungainly mixture of styles.  From time to time it appears that he could be capable of victory.  Certainly he is dogged in his perseverance.  He begins to gain some fans in the crowd among those who prefer the improvisations of Aristotle to the unblinking gloom of great Plato.
-Thomas Cahill,  from the Prelude to Heretics and Heroes:  How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World

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