Composition as Reception: An English Version of Classics

  • Christopher Stray Swansea University, UK
Keywords: composition, reception, romantic Hellenism, Latin, Greek, disputations, translation, Oxford, Cambridge, public schools, metre, challenge, elites, industrial revolution, genre


In eighteenth-century England, a long tradition of free composition in Latin gave way to translation of English texts into Latin or (especially) Greek. This new kind of ‘composition’ became popular in the reformed boarding (‘public’) schools and in the ancient universities; its social foundations lay in the new bourgeois groups thrown up by the industrial revolution, its cultural founda­tions in the rise of romantic Hellenism. The practice of this kind of composition became characteristic of the shared masculine world of the public schools, the universities, the London clubs and the Inns of Court. The varieties and devel­opment of this practice are surveyed, in the hope of encouraging further and more detailed analysis.

Author Biography

Christopher Stray, Swansea University, UK

© Christopher Stray