Catalogue


The golden age of the classics in America [electronic resource] : Greece, Rome, and the antebellum United States /
Carl J. Richard.
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2009.
description
xiii, 258 p. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0674032640 (alk. paper), 9780674032644 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2009.
isbn
0674032640 (alk. paper)
9780674032644 (alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Classical conditioning : school, home, and society -- Democracy -- Pastoralism and utilitarianism -- Nationalism -- Romanticism -- Christianity -- Slavery.
catalogue key
8841174
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [213]-249) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-07-01:
In 1832, William Henry Harrison wrote to John Calhoun that the powers reserved to the states were so secure that if the government should change, those powers would be "the last to be devoured ... like Ulysses in the cave of Polyphemus." That Harrison was able to summon up this rather far-fetched simile from classical literature and expect it to be understood nicely illustrates Richard's thesis that during 1800-1865, the classics were familiar to most Americans (as never before or after) as a guide to political and moral thought. In focusing on this "golden age," the author differs sharply from what has been the standard work, Meyer Reinhold's Classica Americana (1984). With the present work, Richard, a distinguished intellectual historian at the University of Louisiana, has concluded a trilogy, the other titles being The Founders and the Classics (CH, Sep'04, 32-0567) and Greeks and Romans Bearing Gifts (CH, Jan'09, 46-2934). Together, these works constitute an engaging, accessible, and learned study of the central role the classics played in US intellectual history up to 1865. Full citations of the sources, an accurate index, elegant typography, and sturdy binding make this admirable monograph a valuable resource for students at every level. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All American intellectual history collections. R. I. Frank emeritus, University of California, Irvine
Reviews
Review Quotes
[A] thorough and thoughtful survey of the antebellum period.
With the present work, Richard, a distinguished intellectual historian at the University of Louisiana, has concluded a trilogy, the other titles being The Founders and the Classics and Greeks and Romans Bearing Gifts . Together, these works constitute an engaging, accessible, and learned study of the central role the classics played in U.S. intellectual history up to 1865. Full citations of the sources, an accurate index, elegant typography, and sturdy binding make this admirable monograph a valuable resource for students at every level.
With the present work, Richard, a distinguished intellectual historian at the University of Louisiana, has concluded a trilogy, the other titles being The Founders and the Classics and Greeks and Romans Bearing Gifts. Together, these works constitute an engaging, accessible, and learned study of the central role the classics played in U.S. intellectual history up to 1865. Full citations of the sources, an accurate index, elegant typography, and sturdy binding make this admirable monograph a valuable resource for students at every level.
In a lucid and readable book, Carl Richard clearly demonstrates the ongoing importance of classicism in the decades before the Civil War in the United States. Focusing on well-established figures in the American political and literary canon, he shows how the ideals of the classical world continued to provide Americans with one of their principal sets of ideological tools well into the nineteenth century. Richard shows that classicism was democratized in nineteenth-century America, reaching more broadly and deeply into American culture than it had in the previous century.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, July 2009
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
The classics served as models for behavior, social practice, and government standards in an increasingly democratized society. This text argues that the antebellum period was a 'golden age' for classics, a period when reading and teaching them spread beyond the elite.
Main Description
In a masterful study Carl Richard explores how the Greek and Roman classics became enshrined in American antebellum culture. For the first time, knowledge of the classics extended beyond aristocratic males to the middle class, women, African Americans, and frontier settlers.The classics shaped how Americans interpreted developments around them. The example of Athens allowed politicians of the democratic age to espouse classical knowledge without seeming elitist. The Industrial Revolution produced a backlash against utilitarianism that centered on the classics. Plato and other ancients had a profound influence on the American romantics who created the first national literature, and pious Christians in an age of religious fervor managed to reconcile their faith with the literature of a pagan culture. The classics supplied both sides of the slavery debate with their chief rhetorical tools: the Aristotelian defense of slavery to Southern slaveholders and the concept of natural law to the Northern abolitionists.The Civil War led to a radical alteration of the educational system in a way that steadily eroded the preeminence of the classics. They would never regain the profound influence they held in the antebellum era.
Main Description
In a masterful study Carl Richard explores how the Greek and Roman classics became enshrined in American antebellum culture. For the first time, knowledge of the classics extended beyond aristocratic males to the middle class, women, African Americans, and frontier settlers. The classics shaped how Americans interpreted developments around them. The example of Athens allowed politicians of the democratic age to espouse classical knowledge without seeming elitist. The Industrial Revolution produced a backlash against utilitarianism that centered on the classics. Plato and other ancients had a profound influence on the American romantics who created the first national literature, and pious Christians in an age of religious fervor managed to reconcile their faith with the literature of a pagan culture. The classics supplied both sides of the slavery debate with their chief rhetorical tools: the Aristotelian defense of slavery to Southern slaveholders and the concept of natural law to the Northern abolitionists. The Civil War led to a radical alteration of the educational system in a way that steadily eroded the preeminence of the classics. They would never regain the profound influence they held in the antebellum era.
Table of Contents
Preface
Classical Conditioning: School, Home, and Society
Democracy Pastoralism and Utilitarianism
Nationalism Romanticism Christianity Slavery
Epilogue
Notes
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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