Conversing with Antiquity collects, in a substantially revised and updated form, studies of the reception of the classics by English poets of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by one of the leading scholars in the field. A new Introduction locates the book's investigations within the context of current debates between aestheticians and cultural historians about the reception of classical culture. Where some recent studies have regarded English poets' dealings with the classics as acts of 'appropriation', or even 'colonialization', David Hopkins emphasizes the element of dialogic give-and-take in the relationship between these poets and their classical peers. He argues that, rather than simply 'updating' or 'assimilating' the classics to their own cultural norms, poets such as Abraham Cowley, Lucy Hutchinson, Thomas Creech, John Milton, John Dryden, and Alexander Pope engaged in trans-historical conversation with Greek and Roman poets, in which self-discovery and self-transcendence were as important as any simple 'accommodation' of ancient texts to modern tastes.
David Hopkins is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Bristol.
Introduction: Reception as Conversation ; 1. 'The English Homer': Shakespeare, Longinus, and English 'Neoclassicism' ; 2. Cowley's Horatian Mice ; 3. The English Voices of Lucretius, from Lucy Hutchinson to John Mason Good ; 4. 'If he were living, and an Englishman': Translation Theory in the Age of Dryden ; 5. Dryden and the Tenth Satire of Juvenal ; 6. Dryden's 'Baucis and Philemon' ; 7. Nature's Laws and Man's: Dryden's 'Cinyras and Myrrha' ; 8. Dryden and Ovid's 'Wit out of Season': 'The Twelfth Book of Ovid his Metamorphoses' and 'Ceyx and Alcyone' ; 9. Translation, Metempsychosis, and the Flux of Nature: Dryden's 'Of the Pythagorean Philosophy' ; 10. Some Varieties of Pope's Classicism ; 11. Pope's Trojan Geography ; 12. Colonization, Closure, or Creative Dialogue? The Case of Pope's Iliad ; Bibliography