Approaching Latin along the border line dividing the academic humanities from public discourse, this essay explores the possibility of articulating a publicly responsible practice of Latin literary studies. I suggest that the current eclecticism in literary studies well serves the project of democratic criticism at a time when the traditional raison d'ĂȘtre of the university as the preserver of Euro-American culture is in decline. Next I draw on my current work on the republican tradition in literature and political thought, focusing on translations of Vergil by the 17th-century theorist James Harrington. The study of reception is a crucial part of renewing Latin studies for the new world, I suggest, because it reveals the role of Latin literature in shaping modern conceptions of the political, the aesthetic, and the relation between the two. Concluding, I turn briefly to Cicero, whose blurring of the political and the aesthetic calls into question our habits of thinking about the transition from Republic and Empire.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 103-134
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.