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Classics in ProgressEssays on Ancient Greece and Rome$
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T. P. Wiseman

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263235

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263235.001.0001

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A taste for the classics

A taste for the classics

(p.20) (p.21) 2 A taste for the classics
Classics in Progress

Pat Easterling

British Academy

This chapter looks at the way the concept of ‘classic authors’ changes over time by constant redefinition. What has been emerging, along with new and more capacious definitions of ‘the ancient world’, has been a closer understanding of the complex processes of reception. The recognition that the canon is open to reinvention, and that even the most ‘central’ texts themselves are infinitely mutable has had the effect of releasing new energies. The discussion explores aspects of the debate about canonicity, first by reviewing some basic ‘canonical’ vocabulary, then by taking a test case (the use of quotations) to illustrate the tensions inherent in the notion of literary authority, in the ancient world and in the Renaissance.

Keywords:   classical literature, contemporary criticism, Greeks, Romans, canonicity, Renaissance

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