ElAnt v1n7 - Still Stealing Fire: The Appropriation of Classical Authority in the 18th Century
STILL STEALING FIRE: THE APPROPRIATION OF CLASSICAL AUTHORITY IN THE 18th CENTURY
Annual meeting of the East-Central American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies,
October 13-16, 1994
Scholars have been accustomed to thinking of classical influences in the early modern period in terms of the rediscovery and emulation of Greek and Roman literary, cultural, and ethical values. In the formal balance of Palladian architecture we see classical symmetries, in the writings of later political philosophers we see the rebirth of republican virtue, in the historiography of philosophy we see parallels between ancient searches after truth and their modern counterparts, and in the adaptation of classical literary kinds we see the rediscovered potency of Greek and Roman poetry. Classical influence (and neoclassicism itself) implies a renewal of forms and subject-matter from classical antiquity.
More widely accessible texts of Greek and Roman authors, extant collections of Roman art (including copies of Greek originals), and the establishment of classical languages in the schools all contributed to this renewal. However, the images of earlier ages that later ages construct are conditioned by the the way the reconstructors have themselves been taught to think. Thus, they tend to recreate a classical golden age, the strengths of which are determined by contemporary, not ancient, values, concepts, and understanding. The result goes beyond mere anachonism. A large part of the early modern historiography of antiquity is so deeply conditioned by modern ideas that we may safely say later thinkers have created a classical age in their own image.
Papers are solicited that deal with the polemical uses to which 18th- century architects, painters, critics, historians, philosophers, and poets have put classical authority. Papers that demonstrate how later thinkers refashion or transvaluate antiquity to fit modern uses are especially welcome.
Send proposals, abstracts, or papers to:
Kevin J.H. Berland,
English and Comparative Literature,
Penn State - Shenango,
Email enquiries and submissions welcome:
ABSOLUTE DEADLINE: March 16, 1994.
COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright remains with authors, but due reference should be made to this journal if any part of the above is later published elsewhere.
Electronic Antiquity Vol. 1 Issue 7 - February 1994 edited by Peter Toohey and Ian Worthington email@example.com ISSN 1320-3606