This collection of well-focussed essays is the first to examine explicitly the role played by the literature and culture of classical antiquity in the various discourses that established, maintained or undermined the British empire. Drawing on reception studies and postcolonial studies, the contributors investigate topics such as the intersections among nineteenth- and twentieth-century theories of the Greek, Roman and British empires, the place of neo-classical poetry and classical education in the Caribbean, and adaptations of Greek drama by postcolonial writers in Africa and elsewhere. There is a substantial introduction that discusses the role of classics within the British empire, why it should compel our attention and how it might provide fruitful ground for further enquiry. The emphasis throughout is on the diverse ways in which the classical tradition has been used both by those who identified themselves with imperialist goals and by those engaged in struggle against imperialism.
Contributors: Emily Greenwood (University of St Andrews), Thomas Harrison (University of Liverpool), Phiroze Vasunia (University of North Carolina), John Gilmore (University of Warwick), Lorna Hardwick (Open University), Felix Budelmann (Open University). Barbara Goff is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Classics, University of Reading.