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This is a general introduction in English to Aeschylus' Oresteia, one of the most important and most influential of all Greek dramas. It discusses the Greek drama festival and the social and political background of Greek tragedy, and offers a reading of this central trilogy. Simon Goldhill focuses on the play's themes of justice, sexual politics, violence, and the position of man within culture, and explores how Aeschylus constructs a myth for the city in which he lived. A final chapter considers the influence of the Oresteia on later theatre. Its clear structure and guide to further reading will make this an invaluable guide for students and teachers alike.
Simon Goldhill offers a fresh and exciting perspective on how the Victorians used material culture to express their sense of the past in an age of progress, especially the biblical past and the past of classical antiquity. From Pompeian skulls on a writer's desk, to religious paraphernalia in churches, new photographic images of the Holy Land and the remaking of the cityscape of Jerusalem and Britain, Goldhill explores the remarkable way in which the nineteenth century's sense of history was reinvented through things. The Buried Life of Things shows how new technologies changed how history was discovered and analysed, and how material objects could flare into significance in bitter controversies, and then fade into obscurity and disregard again. This book offers a new route into understanding the Victorians' complex and often bizarre attempts to use their past to express their own modernity.
The Victorian era was the high point of literary tourism. Writers such as Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Sir Walter Scott became celebrities, and readers trekked far and wide for a glimpse of the places where their heroes wrote and thought, walked and talked. Even Shakespeare was roped in, as Victorian entrepreneurs transformed quiet Stratford-upon-Avon into a combination shrine and tourist trap. Stratford continues to lure the tourists today, as do many other sites of literary pilgrimage throughout Britain. And our modern age could have no better guide to such places than Simon Goldhill. In Freud's Couch, Scott's Buttocks, Brontë's Grave, Goldhill makes a pilgrimage to Sir Walter Scott's baronial mansion, Wordsworth's cottage in the Lake District, the Bront ë parsonage, Shakespeare's birthplace, and Freud's office in Hampstead. Traveling, as much as possible, by methods available to Victorians--and gamely negotiating distractions ranging from broken bicycles to a flock of giggling Japanese schoolgirls--he tries to discern what our forebears were looking for at these sites, as well as what they have to say to the modern mind. What does it matter that Emily Brontë's hidden passions burned in this specific room? What does it mean, especially now that his fame has faded, that Scott self-consciously built an extravagant castle suitable for Ivanhoe--and star-struck tourists visited it while he was still living there? Or that Freud's meticulous recreation of his Vienna office is now a meticulously preserved museum of itself? Or that Shakespeare's birthplace features student actors declaiming snippets of his plays . . . in the garden of a house where he almost certainly never wrote a single line? Goldhill brings to these inquiries his trademark wry humor and a lifetime's engagement with literature. The result is a travel book like no other, a reminder that even today, the writing life still has the power to inspire.
How did the Victorians engage with the ancient world? Victorian Culture and Classical Antiquity is a brilliant exploration of how the ancient worlds of Greece and Rome influenced Victorian culture. Through Victorian art, opera, and novels, Simon Goldhill examines how sexuality and desire, the politics of culture, and the role of religion in society were considered and debated through the Victorian obsession with antiquity. Looking at Victorian art, Goldhill demonstrates how desire and sexuality, particularly anxieties about male desire, were represented and communicated through classical imagery. Probing into operas of the period, Goldhill addresses ideas of citizenship, nationalism, and cultural politics. And through fiction--specifically nineteenth-century novels about the Roman Empire--he discusses religion and the fierce battles over the church as Christianity began to lose dominance over the progressive stance of Victorian science and investigation. Rediscovering some great forgotten works and reframing some more familiar ones, the book offers extraordinary insights into how the Victorian sense of antiquity and our sense of the Victorians came into being. With a wide range of examples and stories, Victorian Culture and Classical Antiquity demonstrates how interest in the classical past shaped nineteenth-century self-expression, giving antiquity a unique place in Victorian culture.
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