(The Epicureans believed in the materiality of the soul, and based their ethical system on an appeal to the senses, nature, simplicity and temperance).
Part the First:
Chapter 1, "The Religion of Numa" ("Numa" means "breath" or "spirit")
What do we learn about Marius's familial circumstances from this chapter? (father dead, head of relatively prosperous rural family, in charge of performing family rites) About his temperament?
What aspects of the ancient Roman religion are described favorably? (a religion associated directly with nature, 6) Which part of the Ambarvalia rites does Marius find distressing? (animal sacrifice, 9)
What does Pater's authorial voice present as chief features of the primitive Roman religion? (4 "a religion of uses and sentiment, rather than of facts and belief, and attached to very definite things and places")
How does Pater define the spirit of religion itself? (5,6 "He brought to that system of symbolic usages, and they in turn developed in him further, a great seriousness--an impressibility to the sacredness of time, of life and its events, and the circumstances of family fellowship; of such gifts to men as fire, water, the earth, from labour on which they live, really understood by him as gifts--a sense of religious responsibility in the reception of them." It recognizes the moral significance of simple objects, 11)
How would you characterize the narrative voice which speaks to us? To what extent is Marius presented from without or within?
What implications would a concern for primitive "pagan" rites have had for Pater's audience? For example, how would his views have suggested recent anthropological studies of the origins of classical myth and religion? (He is also indebted to Ruskin's view of classical religion in Modern Painters).
What implications might Pater's view of the origins of religion have had for the Anglican establishment in which he lived?
What does the portrayal of Marius's religion as a "part of the essence of home," but which "seemed to involve certain heavy demands on him" (12) seem to suggest will be the theme of this book?
How would you characterize Pater's style? Can this book be fully understood if read rapidly?
Why does the narrator allude to the spirit of Wordsworth's northern peasants? What Keats poem would have come to his readers' minds as they read of the anguished animals brought to slaughter?
Latin: At mihi contingat patrios celebrare Penates,
Reddereque antiquo menstrua thura Lari:
But may it come to me to praise the ancestral shades, And to render monthly votives to the ancient gods.
Candidus insuetum miratur limen Olympi,
Sub pedibusque videt nubes et sidera.--
He sees brilliantly shining forth the unfamiliar threshold of Olympus, And sees under his feet the clouds and the stars.
Chapter 2, "White-Nights"
What does the narrator consider worth recounting about the farm on which Marius is raised? (a place of dreams, 14) What is the effect of so much attention to "material culture"?
What is Marius's early occupation, and how does this affect his sensibilities and attitudes (for example, toward animals)? (he's a farmer, cares for flocks, 22, evoking Christian symbolism; feels for their suffering, 23)
What place does the commemoration of the dead play in his early life? What relation does he have with other family members, and what do we know about each?
How is his mother presented? (embodies maternal principle)
What does the image of the snake represent? What may be the significance of his early repugnance toward snakes? (24, "It was something like a fear of the supernatural, or perhaps rather a moral feeling, for the face of a great serpent, with no grace of fur or feathers, so different from quadruped or bird, has a sort of humanity of aspect in its spotted and clouded nakedness.")
Do any of Marius's traits of mind resemble Pater's ideal of human life in The Renaissance? (24 ". . . already he lived much in the realm of the imagination, and became betimes, as he was to continue all through life, something of an idealist, constructing the world for himself in great measure from within, by the exercise of meditative power. A vein of subjective philosophy, with the individual for its standard of all things, there would be always in his intellectual scheme of the world and of conduct, with a certain incapacity wholly to accept other men's valuations."
Chapter 3, "Change of Air"
Epigraph: Dilexi decorem domus tuae. I have loved the quiet order of your house.
Why are dreams and serpents associated with Marius's ideas of healing?
What sanitive virtues are prescribed by Marius's doctor? (temperance 33; clarity of sight, 33)
What ideas seem associated with the legend of the healing well? (imagination, 38)
In what context is the death of Marius's mother mentioned? (41, he regrets unkindness) What is the effect on the book of presenting human relationships rather abstractly?
Chapter 4, "The Tree of Knowledge"
Epigraph: O mare! O litus! verum secretumque M[Greek placename]--quam multa invenitis, quam multa dictatis! O sea, O shore! how many things have you discovered, how many spoken!
What is the effect on Marius of the death of his mother? ("But the death of his mother turned seriousness of feeling into a matter of the intelligence: it made him a questioner; and, by bringing into full evidence to him the force of his affections and the probable importance of their place in his future, developed in him generally the more human and earthly elements of character," 43.)
To what does the title refer? Is the form of knowledge Marius obtains in Pisa solely academic?
What seems likely to be the bent of Marius's mind? (pluralistic, 44; idealistic, "his innate and habitual longing for a world altogether fairer than that he saw," 44) What kind of ambition is born in him? (he desires fame "of the intellectual order, that of a poet perhaps," 46)
What seems to be the relationship between Marius and Flavian, and how are the latter's origins and character described? (of servile birth, 50; has low forehead and blue eyes; writes poetry) What effect does Flavian have on him? ("His voice, his glance, were like the breaking in of the solid world upon one, amid the flimsy fictions of a dream," 53)
What is the effect of the "Golden Book" of Apuleius upon the two youths? What does the narrator believe is the best way to present literature's "idealizing power" to young people? (through "the most select and ideal remains of ancient literature," 54; theirs is a "truant reading," 54)
Chapter 5, "The Golden Book"
What themes are emphasized in this translation from Apuleius' rendering of the story of Cupid and Psyche? (cmp. William Morris's "the Story of Cupid and Psyche" in The Earthly Paradise)
What relevance, if any, might it have had for the adolescent Marius and Flavian? Why do you think they are so taken with it? (they seem to identify with Psyche, and her interdicted and non-normative love which cannot be seen)
Chapter 6, "Euphuism"
Is the rendition we have read presented as a literal translation from Apuleius? (92, no)
What are presented as Flavian's motives for seeking the career of a poet, and what means does he use to seek this end? (96, concern for the meanings of the original roots of language [an interest consistent with Victorian theories of language development]; preoccupation with exactitude in style, 96; use of archaisms and refrains)
"Euphuism" is usually seen as the excessive use of decoration and affected coinages; how does Pater define it more positively? What does the narrator think of the notion that art should conceal itself? (97)
What value does the narrator place on stylistic fashions? ("[T]he power of 'fashion,' as it is called, is but one minor form, slight enough, it may be, yet distinctly symptomatic, of that deeper yearning of human nature towards ideal perfection, which is a continuous force in it; and since in this direction too human nature is limited, such fashions must necessarily reproduce themselves.")
According to the narrator, does the beauty of classical literature reflect an inherent beauty of an earlier time, or is this too an interpretation? (100)
What place should personal interpretation and authorial 'sincerity' have in poetic style? (103, "to know when oneself is interested, is the first condition of interesting other people.")
"And it was this uncompromising demand for a matter, in all art, derived immediately from lively personal intuition, this constant appeal to individual judgment, which saved his euphuism, even at its weakest, from lapsing into mere artifice." (103)
Can you see a relationship between Flavian/the narrator's stylistic ideals and Pater's style in Marius?
Song: Cras amet qui nunquam amavit, / Quique amavit cras amet --
Tomorrow let him love who has never loved/ And let him who has loved also love [again].
What aspects of the procession of Isis are emphasized? Can you see any foreshadowing in the ceremony of returning a ship to the sea? What are Flavian's emotions before he contracts the plague? ("so hungry for control, for ascendency over men," 109)
Chapter 7, "A Pagan End"
Why is Flavian's death seen as "a pagan end"? What are the topics of his last verses?
What kind of care does Marius extend to his friend? ("absolutely self-forgetful devotion," 118). What beliefs/uncertainties about death does Flavian convey to his friend? ("Is it a comfort," [Marius] whispered then, "that I shall often come and weep over you?"--Not unless I be aware, and hear you weeping!" 119)
What are Marius's reactions to the dead body of his friend, and to death itself? ("A feeling of outrage, of resentment against nature itself, mingled with an agony of pity, as he noted on the now placid features a certain look of humility, almost abject, like the expression of a smitten child or animal, as of one, fallen at last, after a bewildering struggle, wholly under the power of a merciless adversary," 119. Seeks to remember all connected with the death, as "against a time that may come," 119).
Of Flavian: Quis desiderio sit pudor aut modus
Tam cari capitis?--
What is more to be desired than the modesty and manner of your dear head?
themes of book I: religious observances, temperance, health, death, memory, the beauty of words, the cherishing of the ideal, a doomed romantic homosocial/homoerotic friendship
Part the Second:
Chapter 8, "Animula Vagula"
To what does the chapter title refer? What forms of questioning and speculation are prompted by the death of his friend? (concern with dead body of his friend, 125, a Victorian preoccupation: "The various pathetic traits of the beloved, suffering, perished body of Flavian, so deeply pondered, had made him a materialist, but with something of the temper of a devotee.")
What causes him to avoid falling into what the narrator describes as "mysticism" in his response to death? (124, seeks light of clarity)
What account does Marius give of the views of Heraclitus? (preoccupation with flux and change, cmp. the conclusion to Renaissance, 129-30: "What the uncorrected sense gives was a false impression of permanence or fixity in things, which have really changed their nature in the very moment in which we see and touch them," 129)
Does anything remain constant amid change, and if so, what? (sense of pattern or relationships in things: "ordinances of the divine reason, maintained throughout the changes of the phenomenal world; and this harmony in their mutation and opposition, was, after all, a principle of sanity, of reality, there," 131).
What does Marius learn from Cyreneus and his followers? (134-36) From these philosophical skeptics he learned respect for "the subjectivity of knowledge," 137, and the difficulty of knowing what is beyond our immediate impressions and experience (i. e., metaphysical dogmas and abstractions). Instead he feels an obligation to be attentive, to maintain "a perpetual, inextinguishable thirst after experience," 136).
Does this approach evoke any section of The Renaissance? (the "Conclusion," now distanced as a stage of development)
At this point the narrator/Marius proclaims a paen to the visual and material richness of the (Victorian) world: "In an age still so materially so brilliant, so expert in the artistic handling of material things, with sensible capacities still in undiminished vigour, with the whole world of classic art and poetry outspread before it, and where there was more than eye or ear could well take in--how natural the determination to rely exclusively upon the phenomena of the senses, which certainly never deceive us about themselves, about which alone we can never deceive ourselves!" (139)
What does this view of experience suggest about the value of abstraction? A largely negative function--"Abstract theory was to be valued only just so far as it might serve to clear the tablet of the mind from suppositions no more than half realisable, or wholly visionary, leaving it in flawless evenness of surface to the impressions of an experience, concrete and direct," 141.
Marius then enunciates Pater's own ideal: "Not pleasure, but a general completeness of life, was the practical ideal to which this anti-metaphysical metaphysic really pointed. . . . insight, insight through culture, into all that the present moment holds in trust for us, as we stand so briefly in its presence," 142 (note Arnoldian "touchstone" of culture). Yet culture is not a static mode of apprehension, but the "conveyance of an art--an art in some degree peculiar to each individual character . . . inasmuch as no one of us is 'like another, all in all,'" (143).
Chapter 9, "New Cyrenaicism"
To what study does Marius turn in seeking the higher pleasures of life? The narrator emphasizes the point that pleasure takes many forms, according the the taste of the seeker, and Marius sought culture and understanding: "In such an education, an 'aesthetic' education, as it might now be termed, and certainly occupied very largely with those aspects of things which affect us pleasurably through sensation, art, of course, including all the finer sorts of literature [and music], would have a great part to play" (147). Not mere "hedonism," the search for pleasure and sensation may prompt one to peruse "sincere and strenuous forms of the moral life, such as [advocated by] Seneca and Epictetus," and forms of life which are "heroic, impassioned, ideal" (152).
What does Marius most remember from his past? (the "less fortunate circumstances" are purged, leaving only "certain spaces of his life, in delicate perspective, under a favourable light," 154). How does his awareness of the selectivity of memory affect his daily conduct?
In Marius's study of rhetoric, what does he decide are elements of an ideal style? (155, "a true understanding of one's self" is "ever the first condition of genuine style.") What qualities of art does Marius associate honorifically with "the male element"? ("a certain firmness of outline, that touch of the worker in metal, amid its richness. . . . a cleanly finished structure of scrupulous thought," 156)
What call from the outer world comes as he determines to seek pre-occupation not in persons but places? (summons to Rome, 157)
Chapter 10, "On the Way"
What social disaster is evident to him en route to Rome? Can you think of other books familiar to Victorians which allude to the plague? (Boccaccio's Decameron, William Morris's The Earthly Paradise) Which group of persons is especially subject to disease? Why do you think this may have been the case?
What prompts Marius to shift his ambition from that of being a poet, and what does he now desire to write? (164)
What value does the narrator ascribe to physical exercise?
What incident frightens him on his travels (164-65), and upon reaching the inn, whose voice "completed his cure" (167)? Can you see any psychological connection between these two mental states?
What is Cornelius's occupation? Is there any symbolic importance in the fact that their first errand together is to visit a brazier (bronze-worker)? What comments does Marius make on his personality? (mingled severity and blitheness, 169)
What view of history lies behind Marius's view that Cornelius embodies "some new knighthood or chivalry, just then coming into the world"? (170; concern with emergent forms)
Chapter 11, "The Most Religious City in the World"
To what extent is the title of the chapter ironic?
As the two friends explore Rome together, what outside threat is now impending on the city? What religious sentiments seem widespread among the populace? (a form of mania and excitement--cmp. Messianic cults of the Dakota Sioux before driven off their land and nearly exterminated)
What does Marius consider to be the distinct quality of Roman religion, in contrast to the cult of his ancestral past? ("something to be done, rather than something to be thought, or believed, or loved," 181) Are different religions perceived as in opposition to one another? (Rome is home of eclecticism and the mingling of shrines and faiths.)
What religious acts are approved by the emperor Marcus Aurelius, also the author of a treatise on Epicureanism? What does Marius think of the fact that he seems to advocate the worship of the old gods as well as new philosophy--"at once the most zealous of philosophers and the most devout of polytheists," (182)? He has even brought back the worship of Isis.
What meaning seems to reside in Cornelius's singing of a hymn? What attitude toward popular Roman festivals and amusements do the two friends share? (both turn away from them)
Chapter 12, "The Divinity that Doth Hedge a King"
What account is given of Marcus Aurelius and his warrior brother Lucius Verus? In addition to miliary victories, what has Lucius brought back to Rome? (plague)
What do you make of the speech ascribed to Marcus Aurelius, described as delivered "with traces of contempt," (200)? What future does he forsee for each individual and for Rome? (203, 204) What advice does he give in the face of potential ruin and death? (Withdraw thyself, 211). Does this seem a likely or appropriate homily for an imperial address?
Chapter 13, "The 'Mistress and Mother' of Palaces"
(Cmp. Carlyle's Past and Present, in which the protagonist achieves a background visit, as it were, with a famous historical personage)
In visiting Aurelius, what features of his character does Marius observe? What is his relation to his children? (sense of benignity, 219, concern for his children, 221) What seem to be the limitations of the character of Faustina, his wife?
What advice does he give Marius? ("Make sure that those to whom you come nearest be the happier by your presence!", 229) Even so, what is Marius's final judgement of his erstwhile potential mentor? ("Yet . . . he had to confess that it was a sentiment of mediocrity, though of a mediocrity for once really golden," 229). For Marius the life of government and domestic pursuits is of limited interest.
Chapter 14, "Manly Amusement"
What are the forms of Roman "manly amusement" here critiqued? (gladitorial spectacles and animal sacrifices)
May there be symbolism in the fact that he and Cornelius leave the public games associated with an imperial wedding feast together? (231) Though a member of the imperial guard, Cornelius also avoids cruel spectacles. What trait of character has he come to associate with Cornelius? ("hopefulness, as of new morning," 232).
How does he contrast this new friendship with his earlier attachment to Flavian? (234) How does he believe Flavian might have responded to such entertainments? (with an appetite for every detail of sensuous opulence, 235)
What is Marius's reaction to the fact that Marcus Aurelius has provided 100 lions to kill and be killed in the amphitheatre? (236) What are some of the "games" once played upon the condemned, and how has the Emperor changed this? (239-40) What seems to be the Emperor's attitude as he presides over this ceremony? (240, seemed indifferent, though he averted his eyes).
What judgment does Marius make on the Emperor's acquiescence? ("There was something in a tolerance such as this, in the bare fact that he could sit patiently through a scene like this, which seemed to Marius to mark Aurelius as his inferior now and for ever on the question of righteousness; to set them on opposite sides, in some great conflict, of which that difference was but a single presentment," 241).
What reminder does the narrator leave with modern readers, lest they think that Roman cruelty and other vices are matters of the past? (242)--"each age in its turn, perhaps, having its own peculiar point of blindness, with its consequent peculiar sin--the touch-stone of an unfailing conscience in the select few," 242.
What does Marius believe would be the "heart" of the future?--"Yes, what was needed was the heart that would make it impossible to witness all this; and the future would be with the forces that could beget a heart like that," 242.
What final reflections end the book? Do they seem to foretell anything about what is to come?--"Surely evil was a real thing, and the wise man wanting in the sense of it, where, not to have been, by instinctive election, on the right side, was to have failed in life," 243. (Cmp. the final lines of Hopkins's "Spelt from Sibyl's Leaves") Morality requires the making of a difficult choice, and the resistance to cruelty.
Part the Third:
Chapter 15: Stoicism at Court
After hearing Cornelius Fronto deliver an address on “The Nature of Morals,” what prompts Marius to distance himself? (performance, love of words and eloquence for their own sakes, 4-5)
What is Marius’s critique of stoicism? (has become fashionable and alluring; he notes limits of a state religion and state philosophy, topics which would have been important to Pater in a Victorian context, 3-4)
What attracts the professor to the memory of the old Greek religion? (aesthetic ideal, 7; customary aspect to ethics, 9)
What social ideals does the professor profess? (aristocracy of elect spirits, ideal of commonwealth, 10; of an ideal city, 11)
Can features of Fronto’s thought be called Arnoldian? (11-12) What does Marius find lacking? (need to find a society and individuals who practice these ideals, 12)
What may be significant about the fact that this scene is ruptured by a procession leaving for war? How do you interpret the fact that Cornelius sings as he departs for conflict?
Chapter 16: Second Thoughts
What reflections does Marius make on the topic of Cyrenaicism/romanticism/Epicureanism? (15, responsive to the beauty of the physical world and to newness, a stage of youth, beautiful but inappropriate for older men)
Are these the same views he had expressed in the “Conclusion” to the Renaissance?
At what point does the narrator intrude? (to point the relevance of these debates to modern times, 15)
What seems to occur to the young Cyrenean with time? (learns to place romantic sensationalism in perspective, 19, cmp. Victorian view of romantics)
What does the narrator believe causes the convergence of ethical philosophies? (“For the variety of men’s possible reflections on their experience, as of that experience itself, is not really so great as it seems . . . , ” 20)
What does he believe is the valuable trait of Cyrenaicism? Its relationship to the old religion? (gravity of conception of life and pursuit of perfection, 21; not opposed to old morality but exaggerates one special motive within it)
What had been the deleterious consequence of their pursuit of the highest and most intense moments? (had detached themselves from many sympathies, 22; had failed to appreciate beauty of the old religion, 23; had in extreme cases lacked an understanding of friendship, patriotism, and the value of life, 23-24)
His final judgment: “The spectacle of their fierce, exclusive, tenacious hold on their own narrow apprehension, makes one think of a picture with no relief, no soft shadows nor breadth of space, or of a drama without proportionate repose.” (24)
What does Marius seek? (continues to seek perfection, 25, to make the most of the time left to him, 25, to become part of a wider shared sensibility, system, and its aspirations, 27) What has changed? (“It defined not so much a change of practice, as of sympathy—a new departure, an expansion, of sympathy,” 27; he wants something more.)
Chapter 17: Beata Urbs
To what does the title refer? Is it ironic?
What is the narrator’s attitude toward the invading Germanic armies? (they suppress for a time the achieved culture of the pagan world, 29)
What is Marius’s response to the death of Lucius Verus, the brother of the emperor? (31, saddened at corpse) To his cremation? (32, finds the ascription of divinity fraudulent)
What is his response on visiting Marcus Aurelius’s palace once more? (repelled by somberness of statues, their evocation of past crimes, 34-35)
What motive does he ascribe to Marcus Aurelius’s sale of the royal treasures to fund the army? (35-36) Does he approve?
With what mood does Aurelius face his departure for war, and what ideals for the future does he preserve? (sense of future landscape of reason and ideal city, 36-40, better world of future)
Chapter 18: “The Ceremony of the Dart”
To what does the title refer? (ceremony in which bloodstained dart is cast toward enemy’s country, 44, use of human sacrifices)
What document does Marius discover in the pile of manuscripts given him by the emperor? (Aurelius’s personal meditations, 46, record of his communion with eternal reason, 48, dialogue with an unknown presence) What famous text does the reader realize Marius is editing? (the Meditations)
What does Marius think would have been the reaction of his former mentor to many of the religious ceremonies of the common people? (42-43, revolt of feeling at contact with coarser natures, offence at the cruelties of the “mysteries,” 44)
What criticism does he make of the emperor’s Epicurean philosophy? (melancholy, too monastic and ascetic, too hostile to physical pleasures and the body, 53, seems too tolerant of suicide, 54)
Of the emperor himself? (had acceded to evil, 50; shows too much complacent acquiescence in world as it is)
How does Aurelius respond to the pain and fatal sickness of his son? (deeply grieved, 56)
Chapter 19: The Will as Vision
How does Marcus Aurelius spend the rest of his life, and with what effect on his happiness?
How does Marius spend his days of unemployment in the city? On reflecting on his past life, what does he think have been its sources of happiness? (sense of an imaginary companion, 67)
What mood overtakes him in his solitude, and what sense of the nature of the world does he experience? (possibly ideal in Platonic sense, 70) (tranquility, “clearness of one privileged hour,” 71, sense of one to whom he wished to confide his most fortunate moments, 70)
What does he resolve? (to seek that Ideal he has imagined among actual things, 72) How does this chapter prepare us for the final book
Part the Fourth:
20. Two Curious Houses: Guests
What changed attitude does Marius have toward the outer world? (feels more distanced, 75)
When visiting the house of a poet, whom does he meet? (Apuleius, author of The Golden Ass) What admirable qualities and limitations does Marius find in him?
What essay is read for entertainment? (a dialogue in the Socratic mode) What approach to reality does this suggest? (mediation, existence “behind the veil” of the material)
By contrast, what interests are pursued by Marcus Aurelius’s son? (gladiatorial contests, 80)
21. The Church in Cecilia’s House
Who brings Marius to Cecilia’s house? What gesture does he make as he opens the door? (95)
What does Marius first notice about the house? (clean, tasteful, light, contains well-kept objects from past; hears singing, 97)
What associations does the house suggest for him? (chaste women and their children, 97)
What feature of Christian worship most impresses him? (concern for dead) What are some burial practices which he finds admirable? (burial seems hopeful, 98, sense of “natural duty,” 101, burial of children)
What is Cecilia’s station in life? (a widow with children) What are some characteristics of life within the house? (a house of industry, cleanliness, affection)
What form of art does she suggest to his mind? (statuary, 105)
What change does Marius feel within himself? (a sense of healing, 107, consciousness that he has felt sorrow, 107; sense of possible obligations: “a demand for something from him in return,” 108; has been altered irreversibly)
22. The Minor Peace of the Church
In meditating on natural love at its best, how does Marius characterize the ideal family? (chaste, i. e., family-centered, 109-110).
What ethic of sacrifice does Marius identify in Christians? (sacrifice for weak, aged, children, 111, compassion for wretched, 113, grace and courtesy, 111, lovers of industry)
What contrast does he find between these Christians and the doctrines of Marcus Aurelius? (the new religion is less melancholy in “its humanity, or even its humanism,” its hopes for man, its alacrity of cheerful service, 115)
With what undesirable trait does the narrator identify the later age of Constantine? (Puritanism, 118) Is this historically correct?
What does he see as the purest moment of Christianity? (pre-Constantine Roman period, a period of those who had been born Christians, “had been ever with peaceful hearts in their ‘Father’s house,’” 118, rested from opposition; felt unity of body and soul, unlike later asceticism; the Church was “truer perhaps than she would ever be again, to that element of serenity in the soul of her Founder,” 117)
What aesthetic qualities are manifested in this early period? (simple, natural beauty) How had Antonius Pius behaved toward Christians? (no persecution, 119, continued through early years of Marcus Aurelius)
How does the new Church respond to other cultures? (pursues culture as a harmonious balancing of human forces, 121 -- Arnoldian) To women? (not misogynistic, as would occur later, 122)
What characterizes their practice? (a happiness expressed in ritual not dogma, a new aesthetic, 123, "evocative power over all that is eloquent and expressive in the better mind of man,” 123)
What is Christianity’s response to its pagan antecedents? (according to the narrator, adopts pagan graces of feeling and custom, 125)
How has the Church developed ritual? (through tradition and history, 126, through an eclectic use of earlier forms of worship, Jewish, Gnostic, pagan, 127) What does the narrator see as the result? (“the greatest act of worship the world has seen,” 127)
23. Divine Service
What had been Marius’s mood before entering the Christian community? (had been depressed, had decided to leave Rome)
What impresses him as he enters Cecilia’s villa? (those of all classes are joined, 130, they care for their children, commemorate the dead in their celebration of the mass, described as poetic and appealing to intellect, 133; use music to express their hope; the officiant dressed in white and wearing cap, 135; sense of divine presence, 138; all take Eucharist, 138)
What image do these early Christians have of Christ? (a young man who gives himself up voluntarily, yet forseeing this worship, 138-39)
What is Marius’s response to this ceremony? (will always feel thirst for it, 140)
24. A Conversation Not Imaginary
What conversation does Marius overhear? (between the writer Lucian and a young student over the possibility of obtaining happiness)
What response does this prompt in him? How is he affected by the sight of funeral monuments on the road they have travelled? (terror of isolation, 170)
What legend does it evoke in his mind, and with what suggestions of hope? (Love comes down from the heights to succor his fellow “Love,” fainting by the road, 171)
25. Sunt Lacrimae Rerum
What is the significance of the chapter’s title?
Howe does Marius respond to the sight of a horse in pain, about to be slaughtered? (175; gives catalogue of instances of loss or sadness)
What does he feel has happened to humanity since the age of Numa? (increased capacity for sorrow, 179-80) Even in a perfect world, would there be sorrow? (yes, 182)
What response does he feel humans must have to others’ pain (need for compassion, 182, a clinging of human creatures to each other, 184).
What comforting presence seems to come to him? (thought of a divine assistant, a form of spirit, 185)
26. The Martyrs
What draws Marius to return to Cecilia’s house? (sentiment of maternity, 186) What is Marius’s response to the death of one of Cecilia’s children? (saddened, strives for calm, seems associated with his own hopes [of passion, of having children?], 188-189) To the fact that she cannot remarry? (187, but she does marry Cornelius?)
What is his response to her? (feels love for her image and sense of a heavenly union, 189) [Cecily a Christian saint associated with music, love, martyrdom]
What horrible news comes to these early Christians by way of epistles? (cruelties are practiced against Christians, who are burned in mockery of their faith, 196) Whom does he hold responsible for this? (Aurelius, 191)
27. The Triumph of Marcus Aurelius
Is this title ironic? What new view of Marcus Aurelius does Marius now express? (notes his cruelties, 200)
What seems the significance of Marius's return to his boyhood home? (sees the decay of the old farm and realizes he is the last of his race, 207; finds reconciliation with the memory of his father, who had been about his present age when he died, 206-207; creates a monument for his dead ancestors and flings flowers into the grave, 207).
28. Anima Naturaliter Christiana
What blending of allegiances is suggested by the title?
On what is Marius meditating as the chapter begins? (death must have stirring character of a denouement, 209)
What is the significance of Cornelius’ visit at White-nights? (209) What recent death does he think about? (Hyacinthus, Roman soldier and martyr, 210)
What events lead up to Marius’s death? (goes to seek Cornelius, arrested by a violent mob who accuse Christians of causing the plague, 212)
What is his motive for attempting to save Cornelius? (hopes the latter can return to marry Cecilia) How is Cornelius persuaded to leave him? (believes he is going to fetch a means to help him face trial)
With what emotions does Marius face trial? (dread, 214) What overpowers him? (a desire for sleep, sickness, 215-16, left behind to die, 216)
How is he treated by the country people who find him? (216, kindly)
What emotions does he feel in his final sickness? (217, “the link of general brotherhood”; a vision of a perfect humanity in a perfect world, 218; sense of waste of his life, 219; feels love for all the persons he has loved, 223)
What has been the goal of his life? (knowledge that the aim of philosophy must lie in “the maintenance of a kind of candid discontent, in the face of the very highest achievement,” 220) What hope does he have for the children of the world? (221)
What circumstances and imagery surround his death? (he hears voices praying, last rites applied, 223)
What meaning is ascribed to Marius’s death? (seen by Christians as a kind of martyr, 224) Is this death consistent with his life?
Does this book present a unified progression in the mind of its protagonist? Would you describe this book as an apologia for Christianity per se? For aestheticism?
Would the book have been helped by a livelier plot? What are some of its organizing principles? Does it convey a sense of progression? (209) Of cyclical return?
In what respects is this an early stream of consciousness novel?
(References are to Soho Book Company edition, 1985. )