The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature: Volume 5: After 1880
The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature (OHCREL) is designed to offer a comprehensive investigation of the numerous and diverse ways in which literary texts of the classical world have stimulated responses and refashioning by English writers. Covering the full range of English literature from the early Middle Ages to the present day, OHCREL both synthesizes existing scholarship and presents cutting-edge new research, employing an international team of expert contributors for each of the five volumes. OHCREL endeavours to interrogate, rather than inertly reiterate, conventional assumptions about literary 'periods', the processes of canon-formation, and the relations between literary and non-literary discourse. It conceives of 'reception' as a complex process of dialogic exchange and, rather than offering large cultural generalizations, it engages in close critical analysis of literary texts. It explores in detail the ways in which English writers' engagement with classical literature casts as much light on the classical originals as it does on the English writers' own cultural context. This fifth and final volume in the series, and the last to appear, covers the years from 1880 onwards. Written by leading scholars in such diverse fields as classics, English literature, history, and comparative literature, the chapters provide insights into the role of classical literature in education, translation, and notions of empire, as well as engaging with the works of major writers, including Thomas Hardy, W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound, W. H. Auden, and Seamus Heaney. Besides being an indispensable reference tool, the volume as a whole presents an absorbing history of a complex period which saw the end of the traditional role played by classics in literary education as well as the end of traditional processes of literary canon formation, offering a new map of the terrain and a glimpse at the shape which the reception of antiquity may come to take in the twenty-first century.