Scholia Reviews ns 17 (2008) 31.


Lorna Hardwick & Christopher Stray (edd.), A Companion to Classical Receptions. Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World. Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, 2008. Pp. xvii + 538, incl. 2 colour and 16 black-and-white illustrations. ISBN 978-1-4051- 5167-2. UK£95.00. US$174.95.

John Hilton
Classics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban

The Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World series is an ambitious publishing venture that aims to produce comprehensive surveys of 'periods of ancient history, genres of Classical literature, and the most important themes in ancient culture' (front pages). The scale of the enterprise is such that the complete collection will compete with established reference works, though less systematically and with a different emphasis, for overall coverage of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. The present volume, is, however, something of an exception to this, since it is devoted to 'Receptions' rather than to actual Classical topics, and should prove useful in itself quite apart from the value of the series as a whole. Contributors to this Companion were also specifically asked to avoid surveys, and rather to 'concentrate on texts, debates, and trends which they judged to be of current and future importance' (p. 2). In the introduction, the editors define 'receptions' as 'the ways in which Greek and Roman material has been transmitted, translated, excerpted, interpreted, rewritten, re-imaged, and represented. These are complex activities in which each reception "event" is also part of wider processes' (p. 1). The old model of 'The Classical Tradition' and 'Our Classical Heritage' and 'The Afterlife' of Classical texts has been left far behind.[[1]] The collection is analytical and critical in its approach to classical material and reflects what the editors call a 'democratic turn' (p. 3) in the field: the questioning of the cultural hegemony of Classics, the tracing of the extension of the subject into less privileged sectors of society, and the inclusion of popular culture within its ambit.

The material is divided into nine parts. In Part I, 'Reception within Antiquity and Beyond' (pp. 11-72), Felix Budelmann and Johannes Haubold, 'Reception and Tradition' (pp. 13-25), argue that 'we need to keep tradition in view when studying reception, and vice versa' (pp. 24). They view traditions as mechanisms that 'enable people . . . to make connections' (p. 25) and illustrate their argument with reference to the Anacreontic tradition, in which tradition features as a chain of influence, an imaginary context, and as continuity between past and present, and the Homeric tradition and its connection with earlier Near Eastern texts. Barbara Graziosi, ‘The Ancient Reception of Homer’ (pp. 26-37), covers the familiar material on the rhapsodes, Alexandrian scholarship, the use of Homer in schools, Homeric scenes on vase-paintings, the Roman adaptation of Homer, the prestige of these early epics in antiquity, and Walcott’s Omeros, within the framework of a discussion of the problem of defining who ‘Homer’ was, assessing what we mean by the ancient reception of his work, and the ‘intractable problem’ (p. 27) of differentiating ancient from modern receptions. Chris Emlyn- Jones, ‘Poets on Socrates’ State: Plato’s Reception of Dramatic Art ‘ (pp. 38-49), examines how Plato may have been attempting to ‘reverse the polarity and make his stage, peripheral as it was in all senses of the word, the cultural centre’ (p. 46). This he does by exposing the intellectual deficiencies of Ion in the eponymous dialogue, and of Agathon in the Symposium. In the Republic he goes further by expelling the poets from his ideal state. It is by manipulating the figure of Socrates, at once the central figure of Athenian culture in the agora and the peripheral critic outside the walls of the city, that Plato achieves his critical attitude to the theatre and the Athenian mob. This is a thoroughly lucid chapter that gives a subtle analysis of how Plato conveys his ideas about the relationship between individual and the state. It could possibly have been expanded to include also a discussion of Laws 2.658a-659c, 3.700a- 701b. Thomas Harrison, ‘”Respectable in Ruins”: Achaemenid Persia, Ancient and Modern’ (pp. 50-61), looks at ‘the representation’ and the ‘historical reception’ (p. 50) of Persia as an attempt to ‘transcend the Us-and-Them contrasts’ (p. 60). This chapter covers a great deal of ground: the relationship between imperialism and multiculturalism, orientalism, positive and negative bias towards Persia both in antiquity and today, and religious tolerance. Ruth Webb, ‘Basil of Caesarea and Greek Tragedy’ (pp. 62-71), is a wide-ranging chapter which actually only addresses tragedy in the last four pages. It underlines the importance of the role of Christians in preserving Greek drama for future generations, despite their many misgivings.

In Part II, 'Transmission, Acculturation and Critique' (pp. 73-126), Seth L. Schein, ‘Our Debt to Greece and Rome’: Canon, Class, and Ideology’ (pp. 75-85), provides ‘a brief historical sketch of the meanings and uses of the words “classical” and “canonical”’ (p. 84). Schein makes the point that the canonical works of classical literature were written in particular historical circumstances and called into question specific institutions and values of the culture in which they were created. This chapter could have included some discussion of the critical remarks of Sainte Beuve, T. S. Eliot, and J. M. Coetzee on what is meant by a ‘Classic’.[[2]] Clearly, it is the obligation of everyone who reads classical literature to subject it to critical scrutiny and to set it within its original socio-cultural context. David W. Bebbington, ‘Gladstone and the Classics’ (pp. 86-97), analyses the influence of classical literature and philosophy on the early Conservatism and later Liberalism of the nineteenth-century English politician. The emphasis falls on Gladstone’s ideas about the monarchy, freedom, nationality, race, religion, and humanism. Curiously, there is no discussion of imperialism, although this was perhaps the most important issue of the day, and little on slavery.[[3]] Emily Greenwood, ‘Between Colonialism and Independence: Eric Williams and the Uses of Classics in Trinidad in the 1950s and 1960s’ (pp. 98-112), suggests that Williams, who had a doctorate from Oxford on the subject of the economic consequences of the abolition of the slave trade in the West Indies, tried to strike a balance between his elite learning and popular persona. Greenwood shows that Aristotle’s ideas on slavery were used to discredit the view that ethics or religion should play a major part in education, and argues that such sophistry resembles the demagogic rhetoric of Demosthenes (p. 105). Greenwood concludes: ‘Williams’s experiments with direct democracy in Trinidad in the 1950s . . . provide fruitful comparative material for re-examining the give-and-take between politicians and their audiences in ancient Athenian political rhetoric’ (p. 111). However, it is the contested use of Classics in debates about the economic development of post- colonial Trinidad, in which the doctrines of Kwame Nkrumah are evoked,[[4]] that are the most memorable part of this chapter. Stephen Harrison, ‘Virgilian Contexts’ (pp. 113-26), shows how Virgil has been viewed by English Victorians (Macaulay, Gladstone, Arnold, Tennyson), the U.S. poet Robert Frost,[[5]] and Seamus Heaney. This chapter provides an exemplary discussion of how Virgil’s ‘melancholic tendency’ and the political aspect of the Eclogues’ have been ‘received and appropriated in different ways in different cultural contexts in poetry in English’ (p. 126).

Part III, 'Translation' (pp. 127-182), focuses on Pope’s Iliad, Arabic translations of Greek texts, and translating Greek drama (the tragedians and Aristophanes). David Hopkins, ‘Colonization, Closure or Creative Dialogue?: The Case of Pope’s Iliad’ (pp. 129-140), begins with a general discussion of a perennial problem – how to translate literature and, more specifically, the Iliad.[[6]] He finds paradoxically that, although Pope is ‘unfaithful’ to the original in many ways it is also ‘the most radically “faithful” rendering of Homer that we possess’ because it preserves the ‘fullness of imaginative and experiential participation’ (p. 140). Ahmed Etman, ‘Translation at the Intersection of Traditions: The Arab Reception of the Classics’ (pp. 141-52), deals with Arabic translations of Greek literature from the eighth century until today. The emphasis falls on the philhellenic movement in Egypt, partly as a result of the revival of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Etman shows that Greek mythology proved an obstacle to the translation of literary texts (p. 146), but that this was side-stepped by Soliman El Bostany, who translated the Iliad into Arabic in 1904, and by Tewfik El Hakim, who was responsible for versions of Greek plays. Dare we hope that the current project to translated the Iliad into isiZulu will have a similar effect in South Africa? The problems of translating Greek drama is addressed by J. Michael Walton, ‘”Enough Give in It”: Translating the Classical Play’ (pp. 152-167). Walton notes the different needs in translating drama: ‘Where most translation involves a bond between source as mother and target as child, theatre translation serves as midwife between the playwright’s pregnancy and a living, breathing performance baby’ (p. 153). Successful adaptations of Greek drama need to be flexible – to have enough ‘give’ – to produce an actable text. Often the best versions are those by poets who have no Greek: W.B. Yeats, Robert Lowell, Ted Hughes, and Seamus Heaney (p. 155). James Robson, ‘Lost in Translation? The Problem of (Aristophanic) Humour’ (pp. 168-182), examines ‘the extent to which certain types of humorous passages do, or do not, translate straightforwardly from one language to another’ (p. 169). Robson discusses verbal and referential humour, translation studies, and humour theory, before turning to the plays of Aristophanes. The strategies for overcoming the cultural and linguistic differences between the humour of source and target texts (substitution, compensation, and so on) are conveniently summarised on p. 181.

In Part IV, 'Theory and Practice' (pp. 183-228), Cashman Kerr Prince focuses on André Gide’s Le Traité du Narcisse (1891) and Le Prométhée Mal Enchainé (1899) in his chapter ‘”Marking it New”: André Gide’s Rewriting of Myth’ (pp. 185-194). According to Prince, Gide’s ego-centrism represents ‘an ethics of relating to the classical past’ (p. 194) in which contemplation of the classical idealism must be modified by self-knowledge. Vanda Zajko, ‘”What Difference was Made?”: Feminist Models of Reception’ (pp. 195-206), discusses the various ‘waves’ of feminist criticisms in the Classics (we are in the third, or even the fourth ‘wave’, or ‘postfeminism’, p. 204, as a result of current disillusionment with the movement), especially with regard to Penelope in the Odyssey. Although Vajda argues that the study of the reception of Classics provides feminism with ‘the necessary distance and displacement to facilitate reflection on the historicality of positions and ensure the continuing efficacy of feminism as hermeneutic’ (p. 205), she ends her discussion by questioning whether feminism does make a difference to the interpretation of a work of art. Miriam Leonard, ‘History and Theory: Moses and Monotheism and the Historiography of the Repressed’ (pp. 207- 218) explores ‘how psychoanalysis can offer reception studies a different way of understanding the temporality of meaning, a different way of conceptualizing how the pastness of the past impacts on its meaning in the present’ (p. 208). Leonard shows that for Freud psychoanalysis was a form of archaeology of the mind – like the archaeologist the psychotherapist tries to excavate thoughts buried in the mind by repression. Freud’s Moses and Monotheism shows how the reception of the real story of the Egyptian origins of Moses and his murder was distorted and reconstructed over time. In reconstituting the ‘original meaning’ of an event, the analyst must be aware of the reception of that event. Pantelis Michelakis, ‘Performance Reception: Canonization and Periodization’ (pp. 219-228), aims to ‘rethink some of the assumptions we make in the process of canonization and periodization of stage performances of Greco-Roman drama’ (p. 220). He concludes that these are necessary techniques for the construction of a history of theatre performance, but if they are used in a biased or simplistic manner they can often obscure rather than illuminate.

In Part V, 'Performing Arts' (pp. 229-300), Michael Ewans, ‘Iphigénie en Tauride and Elektra: “Apolline” and “Dionysiac” Receptions of Greek tragedy into Opera’ (pp. 231-246), discusses Guillard and Gluck’s adaptation of De la Touche’s play for opera as well as Strauss’ use of von Hofmannsthal’s Elektra.[[7]] Ewans’ chapter emphasises the poetry of the original plays and the musical setting of the operas. Fiona Macintosh, ‘Performance Histories’ (pp. 247-258), notes how the study of performance histories has had to overcome the negative perception of them as mere compilations of statistics. She stresses the importance of an analysis of the contextual evidence of the performances and of research into the formal characteristics of the primary texts. She applies these observations to a thorough study of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannos in which she demonstrates ‘the important ways in which classical hermeneutics, the history of ideas, and theatre history are interrelated’ (p. 257). Angeliki Varakis, ‘”Body and Mask” in Performances of Classical Drama on the Modern Stage’ (pp. 259-273), investigates the use of masks (primarily) in modern productions of Greek drama. He shows that masks were used as ‘an aesthetic object of beauty, a ritual device, a dramatic persona, a unifying tool, an implement for activating the body and instrument for serving the text’ (p. 273). At the same time masks provide challenges for actors, particularly with regard to acoustics, the lack of contact with the audience, and the loss of realism. Many of these problems may be overcome through practice- based research in which masks are recreated on the basis of the archaeological record and techniques for their use practised in performance. Freddy Decreus, ‘The Nomadic Theatre of the Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio: A Case of Postdramatic Reworking of (the Classical) Tragedy’ (pp. 274-286), defines ‘postdramatic’ as ‘productions that defy “traditional”, “text-based” western European theatre’ (p. 275). The Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio is a theatre company who practise this kind of theatre, which Decreus also labels ‘nomadic’ (p. 275) because of their use of shifting and unstable change in their productions. The company has tackled Classical drama: an Orestea (1995, revisiting the lost satyr play as a means of disintegrating the plot and destabilising the traditional reading of the conclusion of the trilogy),[[8]] and a Giulio Cesare (1997, reworking Shakespeare’s tragedy featuring an albino as the dictator and a tracheotomized Marcus Antonius, amongst other bizarre oddities). This chapter has little to do really with the reception of Classics, and is, like the directorial approach of the company, ‘a wet mop slapped into your face’ (p. 286). The last chapter in Part V, is by Nurit Yaari, ‘Aristophanes between Israelis and Palestinians’ (pp. 287-300) focuses on the Khan Theatre’s anti-war adaptation of Aristophanes’ Acharnians, Knights, and Lysistrata, in their performance of The War over Home (2002). Yaari contextualizes the discussion with a survey of dramatic productions of Aristophanic comedy and Greek tragedy in Israel and a summary of events leading to the second Intifada. Yaari points out the significance of the multicultural architecture of the theatre itself and the multi- layered complexity of the plot of the play, which mirrored the complex socio-political context of the performance. The War over Home was satirical of Israeli society but also highlighted a ‘fundamental aspect of Israeli individual identity – survival at all costs’ and the importance of respecting human rights in the interests of peace (p. 300).

Surprisingly, considering that film is far more popular than the theatre in contemporary culture (and at least financially more important), and in view of the quick pace of publication in this field, which has recently seen the publication of a collection of articles on the British television series Rome,[[9]] Part VI, 'Film' (pp. 301-342), features only three chapters. Joanna Paul, ‘Working with Film: Theories and Methodologies’ (pp. 303-314), gives a general discussion of film studies with a Classical theme. It is no doubt true that film-based courses have attracted more students into Ancient History classes than would otherwise be there. This cannot be a bad thing, for the simple reason that, if they were not there, we would not even have the chance of convincing them that they should study the subject more seriously. Besides, films, like historical novels, confront us with the challenge of having to explain exactly how things did work in the ancient world –sometimes to our embarrassment, when we are unable to provide a convincing account. Paul well notes the evolution of scholarship on films on ancient Greek and Roman themes towards more analytical criticism. She also points out that films based on ancient texts have the capacity of stimulating research into those texts (p. 308) and into what reception of these texts there has been and what there should be: ‘Cinema provides a wealth of useful material with which to conduct more probing accounts of classical receptions’ (p. 313). Hanna M. Roisman, ‘The Odyssey from Homer to NBC: The Cyclops and the Gods’ (pp. 315-326), compares the Cyclops episode in the 1955 film with the NBC version in 1997. The chapter analyses the omissions and additions to Homer’s narrative: the former distorting to some extent the theme of guest-friendship in the poem, the latter adding the impression of realism and rationalism. Poseidon is represented differently in the two versions; the 1955 film deflects attention from the anti-religious implications of Odysseus’ actions by emphasising the pagan nature of Greek beliefs, while the 1997 production stresses Odysseus’ arrogance (hybris) and defiance, for example. Throughout her discussion, Roisman is careful to relate the movies to Homer’s account. Part V ends with Marianne Mcdonald’s chapter, ‘A New Hope: Film as a Teaching Tool for the Classics’ (pp. 327-341), in which George Lucas’ Star Wars films and Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game are analysed from the perspective of classical myth. McDonald views Star Wars as an ‘Oedipal Fantasy’ (the hero contends with his father, but, in fact, does not kill him) involving themes of the return of the hero (Lord Raglan), hubris, pathei mathei, philia, and a katabasis. The Crying Game is Dionysiac (mainly, it seems, because the anti-hero comes to recognise his homosexuality). I did not find this chapter convincing as an instance of Classics reception.

Catharine Edwards begins Part VII, 'Cultural Politics' (pp. 343-398), with her chapter, ‘Possessing Rome: The Politics of Ruins in Roma capitale’ (pp. 345-359). Here the focus falls on the ‘reception’ of the city of Rome itself. Many non-Italians laid claim to the ownership of Rome, including, famously, Gibbon, Goethe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Augustus Hare, who was born in the city and wrote a guidebook to it, Walks in Rome. However, it was the Italian government that made most of their heritage by constructing grandiose architectural projects on the famous site, particularly the Victor Emmanuel monument, to commemorate the ‘third Rome’ following the Rome of the Caesars and the Rome of the Popes. Gonda Van Steen, ‘”You Unleash the Tempest of Tragedy”: The 1903 Athenian Production of Aeschylus’ Oresteia’ (pp. 360-372), provides a fascinating discussion of the riots that ensued during the production of Aeschylus’ trilogy in Athens that was deemed too much of a departure from the Greek original because it was translated into Katharevousa Greek. For Greek nationalists this was a betrayal of the ideal of Greek independence from foreign influence that had manifested itself in the translation commissioned by the Russian-born queen of Greece, Queen Olga, of the New Testament into Demotike Greek, and in successful German productions of the Oresteia and Antigone. This chapter illustrates very well the close relationship between drama and politics – a relationship that is very clear in the reception of Greek drama in South Africa that is investigated in the following chapter by Betine van Zyl Smit, ‘Multicultural Reception: Greek Drama in South Africa in the Late Twentieth and Early Twenty-first Centuries’ (pp. 373-385). This contribution builds on earlier work by van Zyl Smit. It provides a very thorough and perceptive analysis of how political change in South Africa has been accompanied by changes in the reception of Greek drama: from Afrikaans translations that were intended to stress the European heritage of the Afrikaners, to the use of the Antigone by the main Black resistance movement, to performances stressing post-liberation reconciliation, to multi-cultural and multi-lingual productions of the new ‘Rainbow Nation’. Van Zyl Smit concludes: ‘Because local traditions are complex and varied in respect of language, attitude to Western tradition, style of presentation and aim of performance the resulting products range from attempts at reviving the authentic Greek style of performance through different degrees of adaptation to acculturation and appropriation’ (p. 385). There can be few other instances of such a complex and contested reception of Greek drama. Finally, Edith Hall, ‘Putting Class into Classical Reception’ (pp. 386-397), addresses nine questions under this title: what do ‘class’ and ‘Classics’ have in common, to what class did the receivers of the Classics traditionally belong, how much Greek and Latin did the receivers of Classics have, through what books did these people get access to the Classics, through which media, how was the reception of classical texts affected by the class agenda of these receivers, how did they see the world, which texts were most used, and, finally, what is the relationship between class and canon? This brief list shows that many of the issues addressed elsewhere in the volume are taken up in this wide-ranging and thought-provoking critique of the reception of classics. As Hall states: ‘There is no topic in classical reception that would not benefit from the application of the nine-step inquiry into its class ramifications outlined in this chapter’ (p. 397). This chapter is useful not least because it exemplifies a methodology rather than a theory of reception.

In Part VIII, 'Changing Contexts' (pp. 399-466), Gregson Davis, ‘Reframing the Homeric: Images of the Odyssey in the Art of Derek Walcott and Romare Bearden’ (pp. 401-414), tackles a topic by now familiar, Walcott’s Omeros,[[10]] but enhanced by a brief additional glance at the work of Bearden (two of whose paintings are illustrated in colour at the beginning of the collection). A striking feature of Bearden’s Odyssey paintings is that Poseidon is black – a feature that also occurs in Walcott (in the figure of Circe, for example). This, according to Davis, ‘is not ‘primarily concerned with a revisionist pseudo-historical agenda . . . but with promulgating an image of an ancient Mediterranean world that existed “before color prejudice”’ (p. 412).[[11]] Both Walcott and Bearden have a ‘universalist’ perspective. Sarah Annes Brown, ‘”Plato’s Stepchildren”: SF and the Classics’ (pp. 415-427), deals with echoes of classical themes in contemporary Science Fiction, such as Walter M. Miller’s Canticle for Leibowitz (1960), Dan Simmons’ Ilium (2003) and Olympos (2005), Neil Gaiman, and many others. The title is misleading; it does not actually discuss Plato at all. Rosalind Hursthouse, ‘Aristotle’s Ethics, Old and New’ (pp. 428-439), argues that the reception of Aristotle’s Ethics did much to produce modern ethics. Hursthouse lists eight topics in Aristotle’s moral philosophy that were not being addressed by modern philosophers: the motives of the agent of an action, the role of emotions in morality, the importance of character (or systematic differences in behaviour), self-assessment of our actions, moral education, the moral importance of relationships, practical wisdom, and a moralized conception of happiness (eudaimonia). Starting from these, modern virtue ethics has attempted to resolve problems in their application, especially with regard to how they could be applied in situations not addressed by Aristotle and how they could be justified. Bryan E. Burns, ‘Classicizing Bodies in the Male Photographic Tradition’ (pp. 440-451), provides some light relief from the moral philosophy of the previous chapter, although it is not entirely unrelated, since it refers to John Addington Symonds’ ethical works. Burns shows that early photographers, such as Henry Van der Weyde, Wilhelm von Gloeden, and Fred Holland Day, often chose the male nude as their subject, under the influence of classical art, mythology, and landscape. Finally, Elizabeth Vandiver, ‘Homer in British World War One Poetry’ (pp. 452-465), shows how Homeric epic was used to both glorify and to protest against the war (p. 452). Besides familiar names, such as Wilfred Owen and Isaac Rosenberg, Vandiver looks at Julian Grenfell, Patrick Shaw-Stewart, and G. C. Duggan.

Part IX, 'Reflection and Critique' (pp. 467-481), contains the final chapter of the collection – James Porter’s ‘Reception Studies: Future Prospects’ (pp. 469-481). These are listed as: the need for new histories of Greek and Roman Studies; research into the reception of texts through study of their textual apparatus, exploration of classical studies as reception studies, intellectual histories of postcolonial societies (for example, Classics in the new South Africa), critiques of constructions of the classical ideal, the wider expansion of reception studies into new areas (such as the history of sexuality), the reception of material culture, and an assessment of the theoretical foundations of reception studies. These developments in this research field have implications for Classics as a profession. What are the boundaries of the discipline? Can non-Classicists write on the reception of Classics? How important is it for Classicists to also be public intellectuals? Do Classicists have an obligation to demonstrate leadership in national discourse on occasions other than inaugural lectures?

As in the case of comparative literature, reception studies offers a path for Classics to join wider social discourses and to validate its claims to worth. At the same time, both fields face the charge of being irrelevant to the work of building knowledge of the ancient world.[[12]] There are chapters within this collection that exemplify this concern for me (for example, Decreus, McDonald), although others, among them, I suspect, some of our students, may judge these to be the most exciting contributions to the book. Further, good topics in the field of reception are an ever-diminishing resource. It may also be that the negative portrayal of the discipline in some chapters does more harm than good. However, the criticisms that reception studies bring to bear on the Classics are essential to the very process of defining a classic – something that over time has been repeatedly tested and proved. The present Companion illustrates this point very well, and while, despite its length, it does have some notable omissions (for example, the reception of ancient narrative fiction – that other major growth area in Classics research), and while some of the categories set up by the editors to group the contributions to the volume may sometimes be questionable (such are the interrelationships between many of the chapters, such as discussions of class and Walcott’s Omeros), nevertheless there is sufficient careful scholarship, critical analysis, and contextualisation in this collection to warrant the claim that it provides a sophisticated and far-ranging overview of this burgeoning and dynamic field.[[13]]


[[1]] The continuing use of the term 'tradition' is discussed on pp. 13- 14.

[[2]] See C. Prendergast, The Classic: Sainte Beuve and the Nineteenth-Century Culture Wars (Oxford 2007); C. A. Sainte- Beuve, 'What is a Classic? (= Qu'est-ce qu'est un classique? 1850)', in C.W. Eliot (ed.), The Harvard Classics: Literary and Philosophical Essays. Vol. 32 (Harvard 1909-1914); T. S. Eliot, What is a Classic? (London 1945); J. M. Coetzee, 'What is a Classic?', in W. Zach, Nationalism vs. Internationalism : (Inter)national Dimensions of Literatures in English (Tübingen 1996) 63-75.

[[3]] See R. T. Harrison, Gladstone's Imperialism in Egypt: Techniques of Domination (Westport, Conn.; London 1995).

[[4]] K. Nkrumah, Neo-colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism (London 1965).

[[5]] See also J.-M. Claassen, J.-M. 'Robert Frost's "Build Soil": a Modern Text Based on an Ancient Mode, the Pastoral', Theoria 65 (1985) 1-13.

[[6]] It is worth remembering that the problem of how to translate literature has been constantly debated in the past. For nineteenth- century comments on how to translate the Iliad see the prefatory remarks in J. F. W. Herschel, The Iliad of Homer translated into English accentuated hexameters (London and Cambridge 1866). In the early twentieth-century there is J. P. Postgate, Translation and Translations. Theory and Practice (London 1922).

[[7]] On the reception of the Elektra myth see also A. Bakogianni, Aspects of Electra's reception from ancient to modern times. PhD Thesis, Royal Holloway College, University of London, 2004; E. G. Steinmeyer, Plaintive Nightingale or Strident Swan? The Reception of the Electra Myth from 1960-2005. PhD Thesis, Classics. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2007. For a review of recent publications, see Steinmeyer’s review article

[[8]] A similar strategy was employed in a recent production of the Oresteia by the UKZN Drama team (July 2008).

[[9]] M. S. Cyrino. (ed.), Rome Season One: History Makes Television (Oxford 2008).

[[10]] See, for example, R. Whitaker, 'Derek Walcott’s Omeros and the Classics', Akroterion 41 (1996) 93- 102.

[[11]] The term is taken from F. M. Snowden, Before Color Prejudice: The Ancient View of Blacks (Cambridge, Mass. 1983)

[[12]] For comparative studies and the Classics, see C. Segal, 'Classics and Comparative Literature', Materiali e discussioni per l'annalisi dei testi classici 13 (1984) 9-21.

[[13]] The text has been very accurately proofed. For the record, I noticed the following errors: p. 7, 'recfeption' for ‘reception’; p. 219 ‘might me’ for ‘might be’; ‘anorectic’ for ‘anorexic’ (p. 284); ‘re- veals’ for ‘reveals’.