The Ohio State University Press

Classical Memories/Modern Identities

Edited by Paul Allen Miller and Richard H. Armstrong

Published by: The Ohio State University Press

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Classical Memories/Modern Identities

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Educating Seeta

The Anglo-Indian Family Romance and the Poetics of Indirect Rule

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Even though Edward Said’s Orientalism inspired several generations of scholars to study the English novel’s close involvement with colonialism, they have not considered how English novels themselves were radically altered by colonialism. In Educating Seeta, Shuchi Kapila argues that the paradoxes of indirect rule in British India were negotiated in “family romances” which encoded political struggle in the language of domestic and familial civility. A mixture of domestic ideology and liberal politics, these are Anglo-Indian romances, written by British colonials who lived in India during a period of indirect colonial rule. Instead of providing neat conclusions and smooth narratives, they become a record of the limits of liberal colonialism. They thus offer an important supplement to Victorian novels, extend the study of nineteenth-century domestic ideology, and offer a new perspective on colonial culture. Kapila demonstrates that popular writing about India and, by implication, other colonies is an important supplement to the high Victorian novel and indispensable to our understanding of nineteenth-century English literature and culture. Her nuanced study of British writing about indirect rule in India will reshape our understanding of Victorian domestic ideologies, class formation, and gender politics.

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Philology and Its Histories

Edited by Sean Gurd

There has never been any shortage of interest in philology, its status, its history, or its origins. Today, after more than twenty years of serial “returns to philology” under the banner of deconstruction, the new medieval studies, critical bibliography, and a particular kind of globally aware activist criticism, philology has again become available as a respectable posture for contemporary literary scholars. But what is “philology,” and how can we attend to it, either as a contemporary practice or as an age-old object of endorsement and critique? In this volume, edited by Sean Gurd, noted scholars discuss the history of philology from antiquity to the present. This book addresses a wide variety of authors, documents, and movements, among them Greek papyri, Latin textual traditions, the Renaissance, eighteenth-century antiquarianism, and deconstruction. It is too easy to see philology as the bearer of an antiquated but forceful authority. When philologists take up the tools of textual criticism, they contribute to the very form of texts; seeking to articulate the protocols of correct interpretation, they aspire to be the legislators of reading practice. Nonetheless, Philology and Its Histories argues that philology is not a conservative or ideologically loaded master-discourse, but a tradition of searching, fundamentally ungrounded, dealing with the insecurity of questions rather than the safety of answers. For good or ill, philology is where literature happens; we do well to pay heed to it and to its changes over the course of millennia.

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Reflections of Romanity

Discourses of Subjectivity in Imperial Rome

Reflections of Romanity: Discourses of Subjectivity in Imperial Rome, by Richard Alston and Efrossini Spentzou, challenges and provokes debate about how we understand the Roman world, and ourselves, by engagement with the early imperial literature of the mid-first to early second-century CE. Alston and Spentzou explore Roman subjectivity to illuminate a society whose fragmentation presented considerable challenges to contemporary thinkers. These members of the elite and intellectual classes faced complex ideological choices in relation to how they could define themselves in relation to imperial society. Reflections of Romanity draws on present-day reflections on selfhood while at the same time uncovering processes of self-analysis, notably by tracing individuals’ reactions to moments of crisis or uncertainty. Thus it sets up a dialogue between the ancient texts it discusses, including the epics of Lucan and Statius, the letters of the Younger Pliny, Silius Italicus’ Punica, and Tacitus’ historical writings, and works of the modern period. Given the importance of classical thinking about the self in modern thought, this book addresses both a classical and a philosophical/literary critical audience.

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Tragic Effects

Ethics and Tragedy in the Age of Translation

Tragic Effects: Ethics and Tragedy in the Age of Translation confronts the peculiar fascination with Greek tragedy as it shapes the German intellectual tradition, with particular focus on the often controversial practice of translating the Greeks. Whereas the tradition of emulating classical ideals in German intellectual life has generally emerged from the impulse to identify with models, the challenge of translating the Greeks underscores the linguistic and historical discontinuities inherent in the recourse to ancient material and inscribes that experience of disruption as fundamental to modernity. Friedrich Hölderlin’s translations are a case in point. Regarded in his own time as the work of a madman, his renditions of Sophoclean tragedy intensify dramatic effect with the unsettling experience of familiar language slipping its moorings. His attention to marking the distances between ancient source text and modern translation has granted his Oedipus and Antigone a distinct longevity as objects of discussion, adaptation, and even retranslation. Cited by Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, Bertolt Brecht, and others, Hölderlin’s Sophocles project follows a path both marked by various contexts and tinged by persistent quandaries of untranslatability.

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