The Glory and the Grandeur: John Clarke Stobart and the Defence of High Culture in a Democratic Age

  • Christopher Stray Swansea University
Keywords: John Stobart, Frank Sidgwick, Glory that was Greece, Grandeur that was Rome, publishing, illustration, materialist bibliography, classicising


J.C. Stobart’s two books, The Glory that was Greece (1911) and The Grandeur that was Rome (1912), were published at the same historical moment as the Loeb Classical Library (1912). Like it they were aimed at a new readership interested in classical antiquity but without Latin or Greek, but adopted very different strategies: the Loebs were small and cheap, while Stobart’s books were monumental, expensive and heavily illustrated volumes. Stobart aimed to provide lucid and approachable texts which commented on their illustrations, while clinging to the traditional view of Classics as a source of eternal value that resisted the change and relativity characteristic of the late nineteenth century. His publisher Frank Sidgwick, son of a celebrated classical teacher, turned from Classics to English literature, and so belonged to a transitional generation in which Latin and Greek were marginalised. Stobart’s two books stood out among contemporary popularising literature as large, expensive and beautifully produced Gesamtkunstwerke.