The Culture of Classicism: Ancient Greece and Rome in American Intellectual Life, 1780-1910 / Edition 1

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Overview

Debates continue to rage over whether American university students should be required to master a common core of knowledge. In The Culture of Classicism: Ancient Greece and Rome in American Intellectual Life, 1780–1910, Caroline Winterer traces the emergence of the classical model that became standard in the American curriculum in the nineteenth century and now lies at the core of contemporary controversies. By closely examining university curricula and the writings of classical scholars, Winterer demonstrates how classics was transformed from a narrow, language-based subject to a broader study of civilization, persuasively arguing that we cannot understand both the rise of the American university and modern notions of selfhood and knowledge without an appreciation for the role of classicism in their creation.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of American History
The first full and sympathetic account of the changing role of classical education in pre–World War I America... The story told is, on the whole, one of gradual if heroically resisted extinction.

— Thomas L. Pangle

Wall Street Journal
A conscientious and important history of the study of classicism in America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries... Ms. Winterer sheds light on the virtual disappearance of the ancients from the modern imagination.

— Rochelle Gurstein

Bryn Mawr Classical Review
This book makes, in particular, two significant contributions to the field: it expands the scope of inquiry beyond the opening decades of the nation's history, where scholarly interest has tended to concentrate; and it shifts the focus from what has become familiar (the classicism of the founding fathers and the influence of nineteenth-century German scholarship) to what is less well-known... Winterer's prose moves swiftly and with punch, and she displays an easy familiarity with her subject matter.

— Matthew M. McGowan

American Historical Review
Richly informative yet concise and lucid, this book is filled with interesting insight... It is, without question, one of the greatest contributions to [the field of classics in nineteenth-century America] yet published.

— Carl J. Richard

New England Classical Journal
Worthwhile reading not only for those interested in the history of the classics in American education, but also for anyone interested in the changes wrought in American education between the American Revolution and the twentieth century.

— Joseph Casazza

Libraries & the Cultural Record
An intelligent book about an important period.

— Karl Galinsky

Mouseion: Journal of Classical Association of Canada
This clearly-written and perceptive book provides the first general survey of the role of classics in the USA in the nineteenth century.

— Christopher Stray

Wall Street Journal - Rochelle Gurstein
A conscientious and important history of the study of classicism in America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries... Ms. Winterer sheds light on the virtual disappearance of the ancients from the modern imagination.
Bryn Mawr Classical Review - Matthew M. McGowan
This book makes, in particular, two significant contributions to the field: it expands the scope of inquiry beyond the opening decades of the nation's history, where scholarly interest has tended to concentrate; and it shifts the focus from what has become familiar (the classicism of the founding fathers and the influence of nineteenth-century German scholarship) to what is less well-known... Winterer's prose moves swiftly and with punch, and she displays an easy familiarity with her subject matter.
American Historical Review - Carl J. Richard
Richly informative yet concise and lucid, this book is filled with interesting insight... It is, without question, one of the greatest contributions to [the field of classics in nineteenth-century America] yet published.
Journal of American History - Thomas L. Pangle
The first full and sympathetic account of the changing role of classical education in pre–World War I America... The story told is, on the whole, one of gradual if heroically resisted extinction.
New England Classical Journal - Joseph Casazza
Worthwhile reading not only for those interested in the history of the classics in American education, but also for anyone interested in the changes wrought in American education between the American Revolution and the twentieth century.
Mouseion: Journal of Classical Association of Canada - Christopher Stray
This clearly-written and perceptive book provides the first general survey of the role of classics in the USA in the nineteenth century.
Libraries & the Cultural Record - Karl Galinsky
An intelligent book about an important period.
Booknews
Winterer (history, San Jose U.) traces Americans' enthusiasm for ancient Greeks and Romans, from the time of the first European settlements to the era of the Civil war; and she discusses how they embedded their version of classicism in ethics, politics, oration, art, and education. She also tells how the aesthetic retreated in the late 19th century to elite niches, where it survives a century later. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801878893
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Caroline Winterer is an assistant professor at Stanford University. She is also the author of the book, The Mirror of Antiquity: American Women and the Classical Tradition,1750-1900 (Cornell University Press, 2007).

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Antiquity in the New Nation 10
2 The Rise of Greece 44
3 From Words to Worlds, 1820-1870 77
4 Classical Civilization Consecrated, 1870-1910 99
5 Scholarship Versus Culture, 1870-1910 152
Epilogue 179
Notes 185
Works Cited 209
Index 237
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