From Gibbon to Auden: Essays on the Classical Tradition

From Gibbon to Auden: Essays on the Classical Tradition

by G.W. Bowersock

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For several decades G. W. Bowersock has been one of our leading historians of the classical world. This volume collects seventeen of his essays, each illustrating how the classical past has captured the imagination of some of the greatest figures in modern historiography and literature. The essays here range across three centuries, the eighteenth to the twentieth, and are divided chronologically. The great Enlightenment historian Edward Gibbon is in large part the unifying force of this collection as he appears prominently in the first four essays, beginning with Bowersock's engaging introduction to the methods and genius behind The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Gibbon's profound influence is revealed in subsequent essays on Jacob Burckhardt, the nineteenth-century scholar famous for his history of the Italian Renaissance but whose work on late antiquity is only now being fully appreciated; the modern Greek poet Constantine Cavafy, whose annotations on Gibbon's Decline and Fall tell us much about his own historical poems; and finally W. H. Auden, whose poem and little known essay "The Fall of Rome" were, in quirky ways, tributes to Gibbon. The collection reprints Auden's poem and essay in full. The result is a rich survey of the early modern and modern uses of the classical past by one of its most important contemporary commentators.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190452087
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 03/25/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

G.W. Bowersock is Professor Emeritus of Ancient History at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey. He is the author of more than 300 articles and books on Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern history, as well as the classical tradition in western literature.

Table of Contents

Preface The Eighteenth Century 1. Gibbon's Historical Imagination 2. Gibbon on Civil War and Rebellion in the Decline of the Roman Empire 3. Reflections on Gibbon's Library 4. Watchmen: Gibbon's Autobiographies 5. Suetonius in the Eighteenth Century 6. The Rediscovery of Herculaneum and Pompeii The Nineteenth Century 7. Sign Language 8. Berlioz, Virgil, and Rome 9. Edward Lear in Petra 10. Burckhardt on Late Antiquity The Twentieth Century 11. The New Old World 12. The Julian Poems of C. P. Cavafy 13. Cavafy and Apollonios 14. The New Cavafy 15. The Later Momigliano 16. A Modern Aesop 17. Auden on the Fall of Rome Bibliography

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