Humanism and Classical Crisis: Anxiety, Intertexts, and the Miltonic Memory

Humanism and Classical Crisis: Anxiety, Intertexts, and the Miltonic Memory

by Jacob Blevins


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While earlier critics have demonstrated significant insight into the relationship between the classical world and the early modern period, Humanism and Classical Crisis: Anxiety, Intertexts, and the Miltonic Memory, by Jacob Blevins, offers a new psychoanalytic approach to understanding classical reception, specifically during the early modern period. Blevins asserts that influence and imitation are primarily driven by anxious desires to identify the poetic self with the past while simultaneously affirming the autonomy and individuality of the self within its own cultural, ideological, and poetic moment. Since the poet cannot hold positions simultaneously in both past and present, anxiety irrupts as the poet fails to understand the fissures in his sense of identity and how that identity is articulated in poetic expression.

Blevins grounds his approach in the theories of Jacques Lacan, whose work challenges the very notions of what identity is and, as a result, exposes the complexities of identity formation. Areas and authors covered include imitations and translations of classical works of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in England and France by Andrew Marvell, Edmund Spencer, Pierre Ronsard, Joachim Du Bellay, Ben Jonson, Sir Thomas Wyatt, and John Milton.

This book not only provides a new perspective on early modern poetic imitation, but also offers a foundational methodology for examining the classical presence within the modern self.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814252994
Publisher: Ohio State University Press
Publication date: 06/01/2016
Series: Classical Memories/Modern Identitie Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 184
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Jacob Blevins is professor of English at McNeese State University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The Convergence of Voice, The Artifacts of Memory: Theoretical Orientations 14

Anxiety and the Lack of Lack 14

Anxious Influence and a Lacanian Reconceptualization of Bloom 20

Humanism and Ideologies of the Self 25

Chapter 2 The Renaissance, Rome, and Humanism's Classical Crisis 30

Rome's Ruins and the Resurrection of the Secular Self 32

Rome on the English Stage 45

Chapter 3 Anxiety and Constructions of the Text: Dialogues with a Classical Past 54

Lyricism and the Processes of Identity in the French Pléiade 55

Marvell's Two Gardens: Rewriting the Roman Hortus 65

Catullus and the Sons of Ben 73

Chapter 4 Miltonic Elegy and the Rebirth of a Roman (Split) Subject 85

Latin Elegy and the (New) Roman Subject 91

"Christ's Nativity" and Exorcising the Pagan Past 104

Lycidas and Allusive Self-Consciousness 111

Chapter 5 Milton's Heroic Action and Formal Falls 125

The Hero Is in the Form 128

Epic Action and Tragic Falls 133

Epilogue 146

Selected Bibliography 155

Index 167

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