By Lorna Hardwick, Christopher Stray

Reading the great quantity of the way within which the humanities, tradition, and considered Greece and Rome were transmitted, interpreted, tailored and used, A spouse to Classical Receptions explores the influence of this phenomenon on either historic and later societies.

  • Provides a finished creation and evaluation of classical reception - the translation of classical artwork, tradition, and concept in later centuries, and the quickest starting to be zone in classics
  • Brings jointly 34 essays through a global staff of participants considering historic and sleek reception innovations and practices
  • Combines shut readings of key receptions with wider contextualization and discussion
  • Explores the effect of Greek and Roman tradition all over the world, together with the most important new components in Arabic literature, South African drama, the heritage of images, and modern ethics

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Thinking about the Anacreontic tradition gives a different vantage point. Of course, as we just pointed out, tradition too has room for particularity. Cowley created his own lastingly recognizable place within it. But tradition also puts a premium on continuity, sometimes even timelessness. Anacreontic poetry continued to be widely popular across a number of centuries. The appeal of each individual poem will have had something to do with its particular features and circumstances – such as Cowley’s anti-puritan snipe for the consumption of other anti-puritans – but for a balanced understanding of Anacreontic poetry one needs to come to terms also with the many features that one finds again and again, in different periods and languages: brevity (Cowley’s poem is at the long end of the spectrum); simplicity of metre (here: the iambic tetrameters); simplicity of language (Cowley is unusually rhetorical, but even Cowley’s language is quite straightforward); wit (here: the punch line); a small number of usually apolitical and unspecific themes (especially drink, which here has a political application, and love); and, above all, a light-hearted tone.

Influence-spotting has sometimes acquired a bad name and can in fact be misleading. The complete set of literary influences (let alone cultural influences more broadly) that bear upon a poem is ultimately untraceable. In our example, even the role of Weckherlin is unclear. Moreover, we may ask which other Anacreontic poems Cowley was familiar with, and what drinking songs more broadly. What other poems may have shaped his habits? What anti-puritan jokes? We simply will never know what earlier material, consciously or unconsciously, went into Cowley’s poem, let alone what in turn had shaped that earlier material.

G. M. Foley 1999; Scodel 2002). What remains a largely unresolved problem is Homer’s relationship with other, earlier literatures in the ancient Mediterranean (Burkert 1992; Morris 1997; West 1997). This is another area of obvious interest to anybody wishing to study the reception of ancient material; though it raises different questions from the ones we encountered when looking at Cowley’s subversive drinking song. Broadly speaking, the epic tradition from which Homeric poetry grows is both more pronounced and less open to change than the tradition of Anacreontic poetry within which Cowley was operating.

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