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The eighth chapter looks at then unpublished works of the long eighteenth century and their interesting relationships to published translations: This is fascinating and well-researched material. In the case of Wordsworth, there is clearly some image management by the poet himself here, not least because these suppressed versions are highly influenced by Dryden, Pope and Johnson and do not automatically fit the style-reforming co-author of Lyrical Ballads.

Here we find some scepticism expressed on historicism, especially New Historicism; the reviewer can only go some of the way here. This crossover between literary versions of classical authors and contemporary classical scholarship is a valuable nexus of reception studies which needs further investigation. The eleventh chapter considers the Homeric version of Ted Hughes Odyssey 5. Hughes like Pope had no real Greek, and it would have been interesting to have some more discussion of the increasingly familiar modern situation where the poet works from existing translations or with the advice of a classical scholar.

There is a clear parallel here with the work of leading theorists of classical reception such as Lorna Hardwick. Overall, this volume will be a key resource for the study of creative translation of classical texts in English, and thoroughly succeeds in emphasising its importance in the history of English literature.

How representative is Lampadaridou's The Chorus of Electra of the Euripidean trend that seems to mark the sudden re-appreciation of the Orestes' myth in Greece of the late sixties and the early seventies? She thus comments on the novelties of the plot: In the Medea of Euripides, the wife of Jason, and the mother of his children, is portrayed as a sorceress, a murderess and a devotee of the chthonic goddess Hekate. I will consider a number of versions of the myth on film that use either contemporary settings or set the story of Medea in an historical context, although not necessarily a context that Euripides would immediately identify.

Her actions are the consequences of the psychological stress dictated by the circumstances in which she finds herself. The medium of film serves to reduce the distance between fifth-century Athens and the modern world by emphasizing the universal nature of human suffering. In recent studies of the reception of Greek tragedy, a body of texts from Africa has become increasingly important.

Adaptations of Greek tragedy by African writers are regularly taught in a range of universities, and provide a focus for the research of several scholars. On the occasion of their first production, such dramas were often the targets of a criticism that chided them for not being exactly the same as the Greek plays that they were modeled on. Now, they are more likely to be seen as notable attempts to wrest the classical tradition from its often elite, usually white patrons, and to make it work for the historically disadvantaged and marginalized.

The corpus of African adaptations is very small, about a dozen plays.

The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature

In general they take on the high canonical dramas of violent resistance and revenge, especially Medea , Antigone and the Oresteia. In view of their antecedents and their postcolonial location, the African adaptations are very readily understood as canonical counter-discourse, aimed at destabilising the assumptions of and about the colonial activities of the west. More recently, scholars have drawn attention to the ways in which these adaptations may also be understood as critical of African postcolonial or neocolonial regimes.


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Within this tiny canon the play by Efua Sutherland, Edufa , stands out for a couple of reasons. It is written by a woman, and it is modeled on Euripides' Alkestis , which is precisely not a drama of violent resistance or revenge. The play is notable too because the dramatist otherwise eschewed western influences and devoted her long career to building a theatre that would be worthy of the first African nation to gain independence from the colonizers, namely Ghana.

She was the founder of the Ghana Drama Studio, which later became the national theatre, and in her other published plays she developed forms and discourses that drew largely on the oral tradition of the Ghanaian peoples.

Volume 4: 1790-1880

Euripides' Alkestis is generically experimental, and ideologically challenging; the wife's choice to die in her husband's place is not longer a simple matter for praise, but threatens to undo all the certainties of the household. Edufa changes some of the markers of genre and suggests an even wider-ranging crisis of legitimacy.

In this paper I shall consider some of the modifications that Edufa works on the Alkestis , and proceed to examine in what ways the new play may be understood as critical of the Nkrumah regime as well as of the legacy of colonialism. In particular I shall suggest that the dichotomy of tradition and modernity, repeatedly cited in the criticism of the play, is not as clear as it might initially seem, especially since both Edufa's father and his wife modify tradition to suit themselves, and since the Heracles-figure, Edufa's friend Senchi, mocks both concepts.

The ending of the play rejects the ending of Alkestis and returns to a more traditional notion of tragedy, thus confusing the categories still further. In recent years there have been efforts in Greece to put on stage a number of fragmentary plays. This effort, which has taken many different forms, involves even plays surviving only in a few words. There are several issues raised concerning these performances that have caused a lot of passionate debates among critics and classicists. What benefit is there in staging the fragmentary plays? How does the audience respond to such performances?

Should one present only the attested fragments or should one fill in the gaps, no matter how many and how extensive they might be? And whose is the text that is finally put on stage? Is it the text of Aeschylus, for example, or is it the play of a modern writer simply and, sometimes, vaguely inspired by Aeschylus? How are these performances advertised? Are they advertised as a modern play or as a lost tragedy 'miraculously' recovered? Are they a sort of pseudepigrapha?


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Do the audiences realize the extent to which the performance they watch is a new and not a 'classic' text? These issues will be discussed with references to specific performances of fragmentary plays in Greece such as, for example: Gavrielides - The performance of Aeschylus' Achilleis at the ancient theatre of Epidaurus by the Theatrical Organization of Cypru s, directed by N.

Charalambous The author will consult reviews for the performances, will examine the texts used in comparison to the surviving fragments, the advertisement of the performances in press, and will interview the directors on the benefit of presenting these plays, the difficulties related to their fragmentary nature, the objective of their performance, the response of actors and audiences, the choice of the text used.

The author will also show photos from these performances. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, it is not uncommon to find classical scholars subscribing to the view that an adequately contextualizing approach to the study of the ancient world is opposed to an aesthetic appreciation of ancient works of art and literature.

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Abstracts: Current Debates in Classical Reception Studies, 2007

To focus on the value or otherwise of ancient remains as 'works of art' leads, it is claimed, to an ahistorical and romanticizing projection of modern expectations and assumptions onto antiquity. The recommended antidote to this form of anachronism is a careful, historicizing approach, which seeks to reconstruct the original meanings and functions of objects by locating them in their original contexts of production and reception.

Such a mode of study eschews all attention to the attractiveness or otherwise of the objects which form the data of its reconstruction, as such judgments are viewed as inherently likely to be misleading. In this paper I seek to interrogate this viewpoint by means of an examination of the constellation of attitudes and opinions which surrounded classical scholarship in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Germany.

The classical scholars of the nineteenth century are often held to be the intellectual forebears of the kind of interdisciplinary, contextualizing and historical approach to the study of the ancient world described above. Yet, for many of those 'founding fathers' of nineteenth-century contextualism, recognition of the need to locate antiquities in their original contexts came side by side with an emphatically expressed appreciation of them as beautiful works of art.

Moreover, at least some of those who were concerned with studying the ancient past felt that aesthetic appreciation of objects could not merely accompany a historical or contextual understanding of them. Rather they held in various ways that evaluation of the beauty or attractiveness of the ancient remains played a crucial role in arriving at that understanding.

Overall, the paper aims to use reception to provide a perspective from which to inspect and question current practices in classical scholarship and to explore possible alternatives.

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In Greek tragedy, as in Homer, reference to such activity is used as an intensifier rather than as indicating that it actually has happened, or is likely to. Such behaviour is designated either as animal, or as the action of a deranged human being. In twentieth-century Western theatre, sited in cultures which are Christian in origin if not in actuality, omophagia and anthropophagia have been used to signify an otherness in both mental and political states.

Three case studies Tennessee Williams's Suddenly Last Summer , Edward Bond's Early Morning , and Sarah Kane's Blasted are used here to show how an activity which is abhorrent and taboo is offered for consumption by theatre audiences. Post-Colonial Thought and Historical Difference, Deepesh Chakrabarty claims that the universalist discourse of Western scholarship since the Enlightenment not only established a narrative for European modernity but also created a universal and secular conceptual language that has become, in effect, indispensable for all discussions of political or social modernity irrespective of locale or culture.

It has been pointed out that, if true, this makes virtually everyone Eurocentric. The origination of this ideology of reason has been assigned to the ancient Greeks who, it is claimed, distinguished themselves by breaking away from the obfuscatory religious views of the orient. The history of classical scholarship fueled and sustained this phenomenon. The professionalization of classical studies in Germany in the 19th century favored certain perspectives over others.

The search for professional autonomy put a premium on rationalization and clarification of the discipline's principles and procedures, nowhere better exemplified than in F. Wolf's vision of a total science of antiquity Altertumswissenschaft. Despite the continuing reputation classical studies holds in many quarters as a positivistic discipline there are and were counter pulses which the paper will examine.

Heyne submitted Winckelmann's Platonizing vision of Greek beauty to analytical scrutiny of archaeology. The rational priorities of the professional discipline rejected such views, a rejection repeated in Wilamowitz' famous condemnation of Nietzsche's 'philology of the future' Zukunftphilologie.

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Dodds' The Greeks and the Irrational, the ideological elevation of reason marginalizes or isolates views which discern the focus of the Greek world in non-rational or supra-rational dimensions. Peter Kingsley's exceptional work on myth and philosophy in Plato, Empedocles and Parmenides offers a contemporary example of marginalization from scholarly orthodoxy. Eurocentrism, Chakrabarty claims, owes its dominance to what Benjamin called the 'secular…homogeneous time of history.

This talk examines the refraction of the ancient world through a range of contemporary American responses, particularly responses that are explicitly informed by ideology. The media of reception include graphic novels and American popular film. My starting point in addressing the relationship between the ancient and the modern is Paul Ricoeur's definition of the opposition between a hermeneutical and a critical consciousness, that is, between the assumption that all understanding is subsumed under the reign of finitude and the contention that it is possible to transcend this finitude The opposition evokes simultaneously a historiographical and a political problematic.

Is it possible to overcome the limits of a given conceptual and social horizon in order to understand others or is the idea of beyond a mere product of this horizon and the divisions it formulates between the self and the other? If the study of the past is assumed to take place under the sign of the present, how can this study perform a critical gesture that would turn against 'distortions' of understanding and the way they operate to sustain oppression and violence?

The question is particularly relevant to the study of the reception of the classics of which it has been pertinently said it has consistently fashioned a counter-culture and a refuge from the dominant world view Murray There is no denying that, in addition to the role of Greek and Roman antiquity in sustaining an elitist, authoritarian and largely Eurocentric tradition, classical texts have played a key part in the formation of counter-cultures seeking to challenge established practices and beliefs of their time.

This afterlife has been, however, constantly encountered by the accusation of misinterpretation and misreading of antiquity through its enlistment to support modern causes. This issue has taken a peculiar form in historiographical comparisons between antiquity and modernity, in which the ancient tradition has become a source of self critique through the opposition between the ancient and the modern, that is, the contention that antiquity can maintain its critical function once it is disengaged from modern categories and understood in its own terms.

Such has been, for example, the frame for Moses Finley's comparison between ancient democracy and modern democracy as well as the objective of comparative studies centred on contextualising antiquity and accounting for its difference from the present. Thus, unlike most fields in the reception of the classics, wherein critical consciousness seems to entertain closer affiliations with strong 'misreadings' rather than 'faithful' readings, comparative historiography suggests that the abandonment of the opposition between the ancient and the modern, and the reduction of antiquity to the frames of its reception would imply the dispersal of the possibility of critical deployment of the classics.

In my paper I shall discuss this contention by drawing on a number of comparisons between ancient democracy and modern democracy, most of which follow Finley's contextualising approach. My reading of these projects will be guided by the assumption that the opposition between hermeneutical and critical consciousness cannot be adequately resolved by opting for one of its alternatives, and that this failure posits the need for interrogating the opposition itself Ricoeur This contention will sustain a reflection on the limitations of both the reduction of antiquity to a self-posited reception process and the contextualising division between antiquity and modernity utilised by comparative studies.

English Translation and Classical Reception: Towards a New Literary History

Finally, it will lead to the question of how to approach ancient democracy in a way that troubles the boundaries of modern democratic thought, while accounting, simultaneously, for the hermeneutic presuppositions of critique and its links with the present. More than twenty-five film adaptations of Greek tragedy were made during the three decades of silent cinema, ranging from documentaries of stage performances to ambitious reworkings of the original plays for the new medium. Many of these films are now lost but those that have survived, together with production stills, posters, reviews and other ephemera, testify to a fascinating chapter in the history of early cinema which has been largely neglected by classicists as well as by film and theatre historians.

Today it may be conceptually difficult to imagine a silent and melodramatic adaptation of Sophocles' play thought to pose a threat to the morality of cinema audiences around the Western world. However in the early twentieth century it was such a version of Oedipus the King that rivalled stage productions of the play and was seen by thousands not only in France but also across Europe and the USA.

Revisiting such a film prompts reflection on the early cinema's flirting with respected fields of cultural production, especially theatre, but also on the nature of the aesthetics of Greek tragedy. Tragedy appeals to the imagination of the audience to create images in the mind whereas silent cinema realises these images on screen for the spectator. Converting words into images is a complex process of interpretation which, as I will try to show, demands its own careful reading.

My discussion will centre around a production still which displays with shocking realism the hanging body of Jocasta: However, the scene in the film that the still prepares for was censored and could not be shown. Photography provides an alternative way of seeing and a different 'take' at the regulatory mechanisms of early cinema and the aesthetic possibilities of Greek theatre.

If, as Cocteau puts it, the silent-film camera 'filmed death at work', photography is the medium that cheats death, both as a commodity during the promotion of the film and as an archival trace long after its 'origin' has ceased to exist. In , the Crystal Palace that had housed the Great Exhibition was reopened in South London, with an array of new displays, including 11 architectural courts ranging from ancient Egypt to contemporary Germany and England, stocked with plaster casts of famous sculpture and architecture.

The Greek, Roman and Pompeian courts represented the classical world, offering a reconstructed villa, a painted Parthenon frieze and scale models of the Coliseum and Forum, as well as assembling casts of sculpture from the major European museums. It provided an entirely new audience with access to ancient art. This paper will examine the way in which this new audience was catered for, looking at ideas about discipline in the museum, and hoping to offer a more nuanced account that takes on board the complex historical relationship between Greek art, morality and beauty.

English Translation and Classical Reception is the firstgenuine cross-disciplinary study bringing English literary historyto bear on questions about the reception of classical literarytexts, and vice versa. Read more Read less. Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition May 6, Language: Be the first to review this item Amazon Best Sellers Rank: Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video.

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