Paul Allen Miller and Steven Shankman What does it mean to have a usable past? How does such a past make possible a new or desired future? Why produce a genealogy of the present? These are the questions posed by the papers in this special issue of Comparative Literature Studies on Classics and Contemporary Literature/Culture/Theory. All of them recognize that the classical is never simply the conjuring of an absent past, but is always an open conversation with the present. The classical represents not so much the past as revenant, a cold and ghostly hand upon the present, as that in which we find ourselves and out of which the yet-to-come (the à-venir) must be fashioned. The articles gathered in this issue are, therefore, neither antiquarian nor dispassionate studies of a far removed past. They are rather critical engagements with the present as mediated through and made possible by the constitution of a past, be it that of the East, the West or their productive hybridization. The question these papers pose concerns not the true nature of antiquity, but rather how the various literary, artistic, and theoretical discourses of the present continue to address the kinds of concerns
Comparative Literature Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: Jan 25, 2006
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