No Love for Aristotle

“My father never professed any understanding of Aristotle, and had a very faint idea of Logic, as I discovered when he tried to read Aldrich with me. His favourite book was Aristophanes. He was one night caught by Hodson on the back of Cain and Abel, and being asked what he did there, replied, ‘ἀεροβατῶ καὶ περιφρονῶ τὸν ἥλιον.’* ‘Oh!’ cried Hodson, ‘it’s only Aristophanic Pattison!'”

-Mark Pattison, Memoirs (London: Macmillan and Co. 1885) p.7

*”I am walking in the air and considering the sun!” Though Pattison does not explicitly charge his father with drunkenness in this anecdote, one may reasonably assume that the elder Pattison’s ascent of Oxford’s Cain and Abel statue was prompted by Dionysiac devotion. It is therefore all the more impressive that he should have been able to so readily quote this line, which can be found at Aristophanes, Clouds 225.

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