The Classical Tradition: Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature

Paperback | June 4, 2015

byGilbert Highet

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Originally published in 1949, Gilbert Highet's seminal The Classical Tradition is a herculean feat of comparative literature and a landmark publication in the history of classical reception. As Highet states in the opening lines of his Preface, this book outlines "the chief ways in which Greekand Latin influence has moulded the literatures of western Europe and America". With that simple statement, Highet takes his reader on a sweeping exploration of the history of western literature. To summarize what he covers is a near-impossible task. Discussions of Ovid and French literature of the Middle Ages and Chaucer's engagement with Virgil and Cicero lead, swiftly, into arguments of Christian versus "pagan" works in the Renaissance, Baroque imitations of Seneca, and the (re)birth ofsatire. Building momentum through Byron, Tennyson, and the rise of "art of art's sake", Highet, at last, arrives at his conclusion: the birth and establishment of modernism. Though his humanist style may appear out-of-date in today's postmodernist world, there is a value to ensuring this influentialwork reaches a new generation, and Highet's light touch and persuasive, engaging voice guarantee the book's usefulness for a contemporary audience. Indeed, the book is free of the jargon-filled style of literary criticism that plagues much of current scholarship. Accompanied by a new foreword by renown critic Harold Bloom, this reissue will enable new readers to appreciate the enormous legacy of classical literature in the canonical works of medieval, Renaissance, and modern Europe and America.

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Originally published in 1949, Gilbert Highet's seminal The Classical Tradition is a herculean feat of comparative literature and a landmark publication in the history of classical reception. As Highet states in the opening lines of his Preface, this book outlines "the chief ways in which Greekand Latin influence has moulded the literat...

Gilbert Highet (1906-1978) was Professor of Greek and Latin and Anthon Professor of Latin Language and Literature at Columbia University. Harold Bloom is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:808 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.68 inPublished:June 4, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199377693

ISBN - 13:9780199377695

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Table of Contents

ForewordPrefaceAbbreviations1. Introduction2. The Dark Ages: English Literature3. The Middle Ages: French Literature4. Dante and Pagan Antiquity5. Towards the Renaissance: Petrarch, Boccaccio, Chaucer6. The Renaissance: Translation7. The Renaissance: Drama8. The Renaissance: Epic9. The Renaissance: Pastoral and Romance10. Rabelais and Montaigne11. Shakespeare12. The Renaissance and Afterwards: Lyric Poetry13. Transition14. The Battle of the Books15. A Note on Baroque

Editorial Reviews

"More than sixty years after Gilbert Highet's book first appeared, it remains the best single guide to the whole afterlife of Greek and Latin literature. The Classical Tradition does full justice to the complexity of this millenial story: Highet shows us both how ancient books shaped laterreaders, and how medieval and modern writers used classical elements to build their own, distinctive literatures. Learned, epigrammatic, and humanely opinionated, Highet's book is as readable as it is comprehensive." --Anthony Grafton, Princeton University