RCC Honors History Project

April 27

Posted by rccaahistory on April 27, 2009

Hello Class,

I am sorry to have missed class today.  My son has a bad case of bronchitis.  For today you were supposed to bring summary comments about the Mother Jones book as well as a self-evaluation of your progress in class to this point.  I look forward to picking those up on Wednesday.

For Wednesday, I would like you to read each of the three prefaces in the book, Working. Also read, “A Worker Reads History,” by Bertolt Brecht        (poem and link below).  Be prepared to discuss the themes from the three prefaces and the poem.

A  Worker Reads History

Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
The books are filled with names of kings.
Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?
And Babylon, so many times destroyed.
Who built the city up each time? In which of Lima’s houses,
That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?
In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished
Where did the masons go? Imperial Rome
Is full of arcs of triumph. Who reared them up? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Byzantium lives in song.
Were all her dwellings palaces? And even in Atlantis of the legend
The night the seas rushed in,
The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.

Young Alexander conquered India.
He alone?
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Was there not even a cook in his army?
Phillip of Spain wept as his fleet
was sunk and destroyed. Were there no other tears?
Frederick the Greek triumphed in the Seven Years War.
Who triumphed with him?

Each page a victory
At whose expense the victory ball?
Every ten years a great man,
Who paid the piper?

So many particulars.
So many questions.

— Bertolt Brecht
http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/1406.html

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