The Golden Age of the Classics in America: Greece, Rome, and by Carl J. Richard

By Carl J. Richard

In a masterful research Carl Richard explores how the Greek and Roman classics grew to become enshrined in American antebellum tradition. For the 1st time, wisdom of the classics prolonged past aristocratic men to the center category, girls, African americans, and frontier settlers. The classics formed how american citizens interpreted advancements round them. the instance of Athens allowed politicians of the democratic age to espouse classical wisdom with no seeming elitist. the economic Revolution produced a backlash opposed to utilitarianism that established at the classics. Plato and different ancients had a profound impact at the American romantics who created the 1st nationwide literature, and pious Christians in an age of non secular fervor controlled to reconcile their religion with the literature of a pagan tradition. The classics provided either side of the slavery debate with their leader rhetorical instruments: the Aristotelian protection of slavery to Southern slaveholders and the idea that of typical legislations to the Northern abolitionists. The Civil conflict ended in a thorough alteration of the tutorial approach in a manner that progressively eroded the preeminence of the classics. they'd by no means regain the profound impact they held within the antebellum period. (20091218)

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Extra resources for The Golden Age of the Classics in America: Greece, Rome, and the Antebellum United States

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The University of Virginia was proud of its copy of Raphael’s School of Athens. 70 Edward Everett urged a friend to purchase Henry Barker’s and John and Robert Buford’s Panorama of Athens in London and donate it to Harvard. Lit by a skylight, the painting was designed to be hung on the interior wall of a circular hall. The top and bottom of the canvas were hidden so that the painting appeared frameless, giving viewers the illusion of being surrounded by a real landscape. The Panorama represented ancient Athens from the Parthenon and Erechtheum on the left to the Temple of Theseus on the right.

Melville’s similar voyage inspired him to deliver a lecture to audiences throughout the northern and western United States entitled “Statues in Rome” in 1857–1858. In that lecture Melville said of the Apollo Belvedere: “Its very presence is overawing. Few speak, or even whisper, when they enter the cabinet where it stands. It is not a mere work of art that one gazes on; for there is a kind of divinity in it that lifts the imagination of the beholder above ‘things rank and gross in nature’ and makes ordinary criticism impossible.

Concerning the Roman statesman, Legaré enthused: Wonderful that he should have combined in the oratory of the Forum and the Senate the vehemence and force of Demosthenes (which he sometimes equalled) with the sweetness of Isocrates and the majesty and copiousness of Plato—that his dialogues on ethical and metaphysical subjects . . should be Classical Conditioning: School, Home, and Society p 19 inferior to nothing that Athens produced . . and that even his familiar epistles, thrown off, generally, without the least premeditation, often in haste, in sickness, in sorrow, under some of the severest trials and vexations that man ever encountered, should afford the most perfect model imaginable of that engaging species of composition!

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