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The Golden Age of the Classics in America: Greece, Rome, and the Antebellum United States by Carl J. Richard (review)

The Golden Age of the Classics in America: Greece, Rome, and the Antebellum United States by Carl... book revi ews The Golden Age of the Classics in America: Greece, Rome, and the Antebellum United States. By Carl J. Richard. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2009. Pp. 272. Cloth, $49.00.) While serious historians writing in the 1960s could dismiss early Americans’ Greek and Latin references as little more than “window dress- ing,” subsequent work has overturned that glib assessment and presented an increasingly nuanced picture of America’s obsession with the classics. Carl Richard’s earlier book The Founders and the Classics (1994) builds on the pioneering work of Meyer Reinhold’s Classica Americana (1984) to document just how steeped the revolutionary generation was in the his- tory, political thought, and mythology of Greece and Rome. More recently, two volumes by Caroline Winterer—The Culture of Classicism (2002), on colleges, and The Mirror of Antiquity (2007), on women in the early republic—demonstrate the impressive adaptability, persistence, and social reach of the classical tradition in America. Richard’s second monograph continues this scholarly project by reassessing the antebellum decades. Richard’s title encapsulates his argument by directly challenging Reinhold’s assertion that the period between 1760 and 1790 was “the golden age of the classical tradition in America,” when the classics were, “in one form http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

The Golden Age of the Classics in America: Greece, Rome, and the Antebellum United States by Carl J. Richard (review)

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 3 (1) – Feb 13, 2013

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
2159-9807

Abstract

book revi ews The Golden Age of the Classics in America: Greece, Rome, and the Antebellum United States. By Carl J. Richard. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2009. Pp. 272. Cloth, $49.00.) While serious historians writing in the 1960s could dismiss early Americans’ Greek and Latin references as little more than “window dress- ing,” subsequent work has overturned that glib assessment and presented an increasingly nuanced picture of America’s obsession with the classics. Carl Richard’s earlier book The Founders and the Classics (1994) builds on the pioneering work of Meyer Reinhold’s Classica Americana (1984) to document just how steeped the revolutionary generation was in the his- tory, political thought, and mythology of Greece and Rome. More recently, two volumes by Caroline Winterer—The Culture of Classicism (2002), on colleges, and The Mirror of Antiquity (2007), on women in the early republic—demonstrate the impressive adaptability, persistence, and social reach of the classical tradition in America. Richard’s second monograph continues this scholarly project by reassessing the antebellum decades. Richard’s title encapsulates his argument by directly challenging Reinhold’s assertion that the period between 1760 and 1790 was “the golden age of the classical tradition in America,” when the classics were, “in one form

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Feb 13, 2013

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