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Reading and rewriting ancient texts in the long eighteenth century

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Saturday, May 14, 2016 (All day)
Corpus Christi College
Seminar Room

Attention has rightly turned of late to modern readers of ancient texts, whose responses may be evidenced in both formal and informal ways, the latter including for example marginalia. The study of 'rewritings', including translations, imitations, and adaptations, is longer established. Since the way in which Marlowe responded to Ovid, or Pope to Homer, is not unconnected with how other readers of their eras responded, some recent work has combined evidence from these different kinds of source to show how a given ancient writer or text was seen in a given time-period (such as Catullus or Lucretius in the Renaissance). There is scope for more of this work, as well as for further study of single respondents of various types. 

With the Renaissance and the 19th-20th centuries currently the most prominent fields in classical reception studies, the later seventeenth and the eighteenth century are in danger of neglect. This event will illustrate new work on this era at various levels: the reading and rewriting of ancient texts as cultural practices, studies of individual readers and rewriters, and studies of how individual ancient texts were read. Papers may be based on manuscript as well as printed works; annotations in printed works; statistical analysis of responses; or any other suitable methodology. The overarching questions are how (and by whom, and for what purposes) ancient works were being read in the long eighteenth century, and what is to be learned from this today. Contributions will be restricted to reading and rewriting in the English-speaking world.

Organizers: Stuart Gillespie & Stephen Harrison



10:30-11:00 Coffee/Registration


Helen Slaney (Oxford): Ancient Geographies Translated as Narratives of Travel

Micha Lazarus (Cambridge): Sublimity by Fiat: New Light on the English Longinus

David Hopkins (Bristol): The Poet as Annotator: Pope’s Observations on his Iliad

1:00-2:00 Lunch


Clare Bucknell (Oxford): William Popple’s Works of Horace

Penelope Wilson (Cambridge): ‘Never let me trifle with a book’: Philip Doddridge as Reader of Homer and Virgil

3:30-4:00 Tea


Stuart Gillespie (Glasgow): Newly Recovered English Classical Translations, 1600-1800

Philip Hardie (Cambridge): Eighteenth-Century Flights of the Mind

5:30-6:30 Drinks

Cost £15 including lunch, tea/coffee and drinks, payable on the day. Please book in advance with Prof. Stephen Harrison by 1 May 2016:

Graduate students may attend for £10, Corpus graduate students free.


Open to all