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.