Recommend to your Librarian

Request a Review Copy

The Call of Classical Literature in the Romantic Age

Edited by K. P. Van Anglen, James Engell

Paperback (Forthcoming)
eBook (ePub) i
eBook (PDF) i

Re-establishes the enduring presence and value of classical literature in the Romantic era

The Call of Classical Literature in the Romantic Age reveals the extent to which writers now called romantic venerate and use classical texts to transform lyric and narrative poetry, the novel, mythology, politics, and issues of race and slavery, as well as to provide models for their own literary careers and personal lives. On both sides of the Atlantic the classics—including the surprising influence of Hebrew, regarded as a classical language—play a major role in what becomes labeled romanticism only later in the nineteenth century.

Show more


Introduction: The Call of Classical Literature in the Romantic Age
Part I: Classical Practice, Romantic Concerns, and Genre
1. William Gilpin: A Classical Eye for the Picturesque, Margaret Doody
2. Phillis Wheatley and the Political Work of Ekphrasis, Mary Louise Kete
3. “Past ruin’d Ilion”: The Classical Ideal and the Romantic Voice in Landor’s Poetry, Steven Stryer
4. “Larger the Shadows”: Longfellow’s Translation of Virgil’s Eclogue 1, Christoph Irmscher
5. Changes of Address: Epic Invocation in Anglophone Romanticism, Herbert F. Tucker
Part II: Wider Romantic Engagements with the Classical World
6. Thoreau’s Epic Ambitions: “A Walk To Wachusett” and the Persistence of the Classics in an Age of Science, K. P.Van Anglen
7. Pilgrimage and Epiphany: The Psychological and Political Dynamics of Margaret Fuller’s Mythmaking, Jeffrey Steele
8. Remaking the Republic of Letters: James McCune Smith and the Classical Tradition, John Stauffer
9. “In the Face of the Fire”: Melville’s Prometheus, Classical and Romantic Contexts, John P. McWilliams
10. Coleridge’s Rome, Jonathan Sachs
11. The Classics and American Political Rhetoric in a Democratic and Romantic Age, Carl J. Richard
12. Gibbon, Virgil, and the Victorians: Appropriating the Matter of Rome and Renovating the Epic Career, Edward Adams
Coda: 13. The Other Classic: Hebrew Shapes British and American Literature and Culture, James Engell.

About the Author

K. P. Van Anglen is Senior Lecturer on English, retired, at Boston University. He is author of The New England Milton (1993), co-editor of Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology (2008), and editor of the Translations volume (1986) in The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau, which includes Thoreau’s English versions of plays traditionally ascribed to Aeschylus, and his renderings of parts of Pindar’s Odes and the Anacreontea. Van Anglen edited “Simplify, Simplify” and Other Quotations from Henry David Thoreau (1996). He recently coedited Thoreau at Two Hundred: Essays and Reassessments, essays commissioned by the Thoreau Society to celebrate the bicentennial of Thoreau’s birth.

James Engell is Gurney Professor of English and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University. He has spent his career teaching at Harvard University where he has chaired the Departments of English and of Comparative Literature as well as the Degree Program in History & Literature. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, author of four books and numerous articles, as well as a contributor to and editor of nine volumes, his interests embrace the Enlightenment and Romanticism, rhetoric, and environmental issues. He studied classical literature with Glen Bowersock and Wendell Clausen and contributed the entry for Wordsworth to The Virgil Encyclopedia.


This volume brings together a remarkable array of leading experts on the place of the classics in literary culture - a collection that will drive scholarship on the romantics and their culture in the larger contours of literary history for years to come.

- Christopher N. Phillips, Lafayette College

You might also like ...