The Politics of the Classical: Language and Authority in the Nineteenth Century

  • Christopher Stray Swansea University, UK
Keywords: institutions, historicism, gender, cultural transfer, politics, language, authority, classicising


This paper offers a historical sociology of Classics, defined as the product of a form of social action that resists change and relativity by stressing timeless exemplary models of culture. In the nineteenth century, the enduring authority of Classics was eroded by nationalism, vernaculars and historicism. The operation of these cultural formations is analysed in relation to class and gender. The internal fissure between Latin and Greek within Classics is also explored. The emergence of disciplinary Classics is traced through a discussion of institutions and the veneration of academic heroes.

Author Biography

Christopher Stray, Swansea University, UK

© Christopher Stray