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The Classical Tradition: Art, Literature, Thought

ISBN: 978-1-4051-5549-6
530 pages
January 2014, Wiley-Blackwell
The Classical Tradition: Art, Literature, Thought (1405155493) cover image


The Classical Tradition: Art, Literature, Thought presents an authoritative, coherent and wide-ranging guide to the afterlife of Greco-Roman antiquity in later Western cultures and a ground-breaking reinterpretation of large aspects of Western culture as a whole from a classical perspective.

  • Features a unique combination of chronological range, cultural scope, coherent argument, and unified analysis
  • Written in a lively, engaging, and elegant manner
  • Presents an innovative overview of the afterlife of antiquity
  • Crosses disciplinary boundaries to make new sense of a rich variety of material, rarely brought together
  • Fully illustrated with a mix of color and black & white images
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Table of Contents

List of Figures vii

List of Plates viii

Prologue ix

Acknowledgements xiii

Part I Overview 1

§1 The Classical Tradition and the Scope of Our Book 3

§2 Mapping the Field 10

§3 Eras 15

§4 Sustaining the Tradition: Classics and Education 32

§5 Authority and Authorities 52

§6 Masters of Knowledge 61

§7 Models of Style 69

§8 Beacons of Morality 79

§9 Love Guides 87

§10 Special Relationships 98

§11 The Visual Arts: Contexts and Connections 102

§12 Popular Culture and Its Problematics 119

§13 Languages and Language 137

§14 Modes of Engagement 166

§15 Translation 173

§16 Science and Sensibility 199

§17 Looking at the Past 224

§18 The Classical Tradition – and the Rest 241

Part II Archetypes 249

§19 Preface 251

§20 The Dome 253

§21 The Hero 263

§22 Word-Genres 276

Part III The Imaginary 287

§23 Preface 289

§24 Myth 292

§25 The City: Rome 306

§26 Forms of Government 322

§27 The Order of Things 331

Part IV Making a Difference 341

§28 Preface 343

§29 Originators 346

§30 Points of Departure 358

§31 Ideas and Action 375

Part V Contrasts and Comparisons 391

§32 Preface 393

§33 Painting 394

§34 Political Thought 402

§35 Poetry 411

Epilogue 428

Bibliography 432

Index 475

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Author Information

Michael Silk is Professor of Classical and Comparative Literature at King’s College London and Adjunct Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Ingo Gildenhard is a Lecturer in Classics at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of King's College.

Rosemary Barrow is Reader in Classical Art and Reception at the University of Roehampton.

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“It conducts, to its great benefit and ours, a properly theoretical enquiry....The book's structure and contents are highly innovative, with short, packed chapters, in the main driven by ideas not data, jointly written throughout by the three authors with their complementary expertise (so giving an intellectual consistency that a multi-authored volume necessarily lacks)... It belongs in the library of anyone who seriously cares about Western culture.” (Translation and Literature, 2015)

“The authors are able to write a most readable book that has the merit to summarize the topic of the afterlife of antiquity with a variety not common in other books on the same subject. The emphasis on architecture, and not only on visual arts, and the references to political and aesthetic thought are most welcome."  (Enthymema, 28 November 2014)

"Reorganizes the field and challenges our preconceptions in both familiar areas and in disciplines that are not usually treated in studies on the classical tradition. A must read.”
Craig Kallendorf, Texas A&M University

“An exciting read: energetic, considered, sparklingly written. One gets the feeling that all angles have been properly covered. An ambitious project brilliantly realized.”
Matthew Bell, King's College London

“The authors have pulled off the seemingly impossible task of fusing their three voices into a single, urgently argued discourse, and for that reason among many others, this will be a wonderful book to read and to use, for all kinds of readers.”
Terence Cave, St John's College, Oxford

“I found the text very readable and I particularly enjoyed the post-post-modernist take on many issues.  It is hugely stimulating and intriguing throughout.”
Deborah Howard, University of Cambridge

“I think this is an absolutely splendid text, unique in conception, elegant and ingenious in design, and extremely 'user-friendly' in styling and presentation.”
David Hopkins, Bristol University

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