Hercules transplanted to a Georgian house, with Susan Deacy

Roehampton Hercules

Moving the conversation indoors, the second interview recorded at the University of Roehampton was shot in the Adam Room located inside Grove House. CC’s Anastasia Bakogianni talks with Dr Susan Deacy in front of a chimney-piece featuring the ‘Choice of Hercules’. Susan tells us how she came to be interested in this representation of the classical mythical hero and what it reveals about his reception in eighteenth-century English culture.

Susan explains how Hercules’ choice between a life of pleasure and one devoted to virtue was understood in this period and how this is reflected in its portrayal on the panel in Grove House. Susan’s work on this topic is part of the larger Hercules Project, based at the University of Leeds, whose aim is to explore the long and rich reception history of Hercules. Susan also discusses the continuing appeal of mythological figures such as Hercules and Athena and how they have transformed the environment we live in.

Follow this link to watch our interview to learn more about this fascinating chimney panel featuring Hercules, and how this interactive piece of neoclassical art invites the viewer to re-enact the mythical hero’s choice.

To learn more about Susan’s work on the Hercules panel follow her blog: http://owning-myth.blogspot.co.uk/

The photos of the chimney-piece are reproduced by kind permission of Marina Vorobieva. For more information see: http://smartlondon.net/

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The Roehampton Campus as a Learning Resource, with Sonya Nevin

Roehampton campusCC’s Anastasia Bakogianni welcomes back Dr Sonya Nevin to talk to us about the Higher Education Academy funded project that she is managing on behalf of the Department of Humanities at the University of Roehampton. The Department was awarded a Teaching Development Grant for ‘Using the University Campus as a Learning Resource in the Humanities’. The outcome is a new module whose aim is to teach vocational skills through the study of the Humanities. The module uses the history and environs of the University of Roehampton itself as a teaching tool. Students taking the module will be encouraged to draw on these resources to create their own research projects and to involve the local community.

The impact of classics on our environment is particularly strongly felt on the grounds of the University of Roehampton campus which boasts a number of neoclassical buildings and features. Sonya tells us about Grove House and the Roman matron who is buried on campus.  Follow this link to watch our interview, and learn how she mistakenly ended up in Britain!

This interview was shot on location at Froebel College, University of Roehampton

For Dr Sonya Nevin’s previous interview for CC see: http://classicsconfidential.co.uk/2013/06/05/animating-greek-vases-with-sonya-nevin/

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Classical Forms in New York Architecture, with Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis

Washington Arch NYCCC’s Anastasia Bakogianni met with Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis on location in The Graduate Center at City University of New York to talk about the impact of  Greek and Roman models on the architecture of New York City. In the city famous for its skyscrapers there are a number of buildings, arches, columns and other monuments that display the influence of classical culture.

Elizabeth tells us about her recent work on the Washington Arch located in Washington Square Park and explains the reasons why a Roman model was chosen to mark the celebrations for the one-hundredth anniversary of the inauguration of the United States’ first President, George Washington (30 April 1789). The arch, the first Roman-style arch in the United States began life as a temporary edifice, but such was its popularity that it was made permanent thus enshrining the relationship that the new Republic wanted to forge with the Roman Republic of old. New York City also embraced another Roman institution that of the military procession and adapted it to its own needs to celebrate not only military achievement, but also sporting victories.

Other New York landmarks such as the Stock Exchange and a number of banks borrowed their style from ancient temples because they were seen to embody desirable qualities such as strength, stability and tradition. Elizabeth also reveals that some New York buildings such as the Bankers’ Trust Building might appear modern, but are actually a combination of ancient and modern elements. American architects appear to have conceptualised their city of skyscrapers within ancient frameworks.

Follow this link to watch our interview!

 

 

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Aristophanes in Plutarch’s Shadow, with Wilson Shearin

In the second interview recorded at the annual meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association in New York City (20-23 March 2014) CC’s Anastasia Bakogianni talks with Will Shearin of the University of Miami about the reception of the comic playwright Aristophanes during the Second Sophistic period.

Will argues that reception begins in antiquity. It is a methodological approach that helps us to destabilise a simple, singular model of the classics. His case study is Plutarch’s reception of Aristophanes. It is a significant point in the history of the reception of the master of Old Comedy. Will talks to us about the long shadow that Plutarch’s criticism has cast over the reception of Aristophanes. For many teachers of ancient Greek, both ancient and modern, the comedian is a pedagogical tool for teaching Attic Greek. Plutarch, however, criticised Aristophanes for his chaotic language because it did not fit in with his educational and philosophical approach to life. Aristophanes’ reality was not to Plutarch’s taste.

Dynamic ReadingThis case study of one ancient author’s negative reception of an older master demonstrates how classical texts can fall out of favour, sometimes for reasons other than those later generations objected to. Will mentions his work on the reception of another controversial classical figure, Epicurus. Together with Brooke Holmes he co-edited Dynamic Reading: Studies in the Reception of Epicureanism (Classical Presences Series, OUP: 2012).

Will’s work on Plutarch’s reception of Aristophanes will be published as chapter in Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Aristophanes (forthcoming in 2016) edited by Philip Walsh.

Reference:

For Wallace Stevens’ poem ‘The Man with the Blue Guitar’ (1936) alluded to in this interview, see: http://www.artic.edu/aic/resources/resource/291

Follow this link to watch our interview!

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Bringing the Classics to life for our students, with Philip Walsh

CC’s Anastasia Bakogianni talks with Philip Walsh, based at Washington College, about classical reception, Greek drama and the teaching of the Graeco-Roman classics today. Together with Gregory Baker of The Catholic University of America, Phil co-organised a panel on the reception of Greek drama at the annual meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association in New York City (20-23 March 2014).

Phil talks about Aristophanes and his reception, the subject of a new volume he is currently editing, Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Aristophanes (forthcoming in 2016). This ambitious project will contain more than twenty essays that explore the reception of Aristophanes from antiquity till modern times. Phil tells us about his own contribution which examines the reception of the comic dramatist in British literary culture. Phil is interested in political receptions of Aristophanes’ plays, a subject he investigated in an article for the first issue of Classical Receptions Journal.

Phil tells us what life is like for a classicist / comparatist working at a small liberal arts college in the United States. He teaches a wide range of literature courses for Washington College’s Department of English and offers Latin and ancient Greek on a rotating basis. In these times of austerity, how (and how much) we teach matters, and it is our job to keep the classics alive and vital for a new generation of students. Phil recounts some of his experiences of teaching the classics and the various ways in which he tries to encourage his students to make connections between the ancient world and their own experiences.

Follow this link to watch our interview!

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Growing Up in Roman Egypt, with April Pudsey

This week Classics Confidential talks to Dr April Pudsey of Birkbeck College, University of London, about her research into children and childhood in Roman Egypt. April tells us about a new project on the Oxyrhynchus papyri which aims to identify and explore diverse aspects of the ancient experience of childhood [read about it on the PAIDES blog]. We learn about the types of documents that survive amongst the papyri, and the insight that these sources can give us into topics ranging from apprenticeship schemes and ‘epikrisis’ (a public ceremony confirming a boy’s entrance into a privileged social group in the city) to infant mortality and breastfeeding. We also discover why paternal uncles and grandmothers played particularly important roles in a Romano-Egyptian child’s life. To find out more about April’s work see her page on academia.edu 

**Newsflash! On August 10th 2014 April will be taking part in the London-Surrey 100 mile cycle ride to raise money for UNICEF and the world’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged children. You can sponsor April on her UNICEF fundraising page**

Follow this link to watch our interview!

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The Ancients are Back! with Jon Solomon

Professor Jon Solomon of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign joins CC’S Anastasia Bakogianni to talk about the reception of ancient Greece and Rome in cinema. Jon explains his fascination with films about classical antiquity which led to the publication of his book The Ancient World in the Cinema(1977, rev. 2001). He tells us how attitudes towards classical reception have gradually changed over the course of his career and how films about classical antiquity have come to play such an important role in scholarly debates.

The most recent renaissance of films about ‘the ancients’ began twenty years earlier in the mid-1990s. Their popularity has continued unabated ever since with more films and TV series that ever about antiquity. Jon argues that as classicists and teachers we should engage with these popular receptions of our subject. They not only provide us with material for our classes, but they also allow us to think about our ancient sources from different angles.

Boccaccio coverJon is currently working on a new project to edit and translate Boccaccio’s Genealogy of the Pagan Gods for Harvard University Press. The first volume was published in 2011 and he is currently working on the next two. Jon’s English translation of the Renaissance author’s fifteen-book Latin treatise is the first of its kind. Boccaccio provides us with a different lens through which to re-examine our relationship with classical mythology, as well as offering us a spirited defence of the value of reading classical poetry that originated in the Christian world of the fourteenth century.

Follow this link to watch our interview!

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