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Special issue - Ancients and Moderns

Reuse Value. Spolia and Appropriation in Art and Architecture from Constantine to Sherrie Levine / eds. Richard Brilliant, Dale Kinney

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Review Date: 06 September 2012

One can hardly imagine that several decades ago the concept of spolia did not yet indicate a field of widespread research in the history of architecture, art and archaeology. The title of this volume with 12 essays and a fascinating introduction, points to this change in research focus, since the value of reuse of objects and materials has not always been recognized.


The Art of the Body: Antiquity and Its Legacy / Michael Squire

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Review Date: 26 July 2012

As L. P. Hartley famously remarked in The Go-Between (1953), ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there’. This was more prescient than he knew, for most of the English-speaking world now seems to view the past not merely as foreign but as totally alien –  diverting at times, perhaps, but utterly irrelevant to them and their lives.


Silent Music—Medieval Song and the Construction of History in Eighteenth-Century Spain / Susan Boynton

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Review Date: 26 July 2012

In his early  20th-century anti-clerical novel La Catedral, Vicente Blasco Ibáñez follows his protagonist into Toledo Cathedral’s Mozarabic Chapel for the daily celebration of what Richard Ford, in the 19th century, called ‘this peculiar ritual’: ‘As Gabriel listened to the monotonous singing of the Mozarabic priests he remembered the quarrels during the time of Alfonso VI between the Roman liturgy and that of Toledo – the…


The De Re Militari of Vegetius: The Reception, Transmission and Legacy of a Roman Text in the Middle Ages / Christopher Allmand

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Review Date: 26 July 2012

In an age of crisis a late Roman bureaucrat offered a plan for reforming military recruitment and training to an unnamed emperor, who requested the project’s continuation. Later additions on army organization (book 2), tactics and campaign operations (book 3), and siegecraft and naval warfare (book 4) yielded a compendium of ancient military thought, the Epitoma rei militaris of Flavius Vegetius Renatus.


Victorian Culture and Classical Antiquity: Art, Opera, Fiction, and the Proclamation of Modernity / Simon Goldhill

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Review Date: 26 July 2012

Simon Goldhill throws down the gauntlet to the entire field of classical reception studies in his new book Victorian Culture and Classical Antiquity. This flourishing sub-discipline of Classics has, in the last two decades in particular, explored a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches.


Winckelmann and the Vatican’s First Profane Museum / Louis A. Ruprecht Jr.

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Review Date: 20 July 2012

It is not surprising that a professor of religious studies reading Carlo Pietrangeli’s wonderfully informative book, The Vatican Museums: Five Centuries of History (1), would become curious about how the Vatican Museums came to be separated from the Vatican Library, and in particular about how a Museo Profano could have been created within the thoroughly religious context of the Vatican. Louis A. Ruprecht, Jr.


The Shock of the Ancient: Literature & History in Early Modern France / Larry Norman

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Review Date: 20 July 2012

Playing on the title of Robert Hughes's popular history of modernist art, The Shock of the New (1980), Larry Norman recreates that moment in 17th- and 18th-century France when the classical literary texts that Renaissance humanists had treated as timeless vehicles of cultural value, and so put at the core of European education, came to many to seem shockingly ‘primitive,’ even ‘barbaric’ – superseded, in effect,…


Richard Bentley: Poetry and Enlightenment / Kristine Louise Haugen

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Review Date: 20 July 2012

Over the last twenty years Richard Bentley’s star has, if not exactly risen, then at least been mapped.


Secularisation and the Leiden Circle / Mark Somos

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Review Date: 19 July 2012

Mark Somos has written a challenging and fascinating book. Secularisation and the Leiden Circle is to be commended for its topic (the much maligned origins and process of secularisation), for the author’s depth and breadth of knowledge and for his impressive research and analysis of the source material.


Primary and Secondary Approaches to the Literary Past: A Book Review Essay / Eugenia Russell

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Review Date: 12 July 2012

Listen, dear brothers,I want to complain of a cruel murder;Hear about the sorrowThat befell me on Good Friday.Translated from the Old Polish by Michael J. Mikoś.(1)Beowulf refers so often to grief and loss, to their reconstruction in poems and the ways in which these are received by audiences, that I feel the loss of this knowledge again every time I read it.(2)[Friedrich A.


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For the IHR's 81st Anglo-American conference it combined with the Institute of Classical Studies to showcase the full extent of work on classical receptions, welcoming not only those scholars who work on Roman, Greek and Judaeo-Christian legacies and influences, but also historians of the ancient kingdoms and empires of Asia and pre-Colombian America. The reviews in this special issue reflect the themese covered in the conference.

Special issues

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