The Shock of the Ancient: Literature and History in Early Modern France
The cultural battle known as the Quarrel of the Ancients and Moderns served as a sly cover for more deeply opposed views about the value of literature and the arts. One of the most public controversies of early modern Europe, the Quarrel has most often been depicted as pitting antiquarian conservatives against the insurgent critics of established authority. The Shock of the Ancient turns the canonical vision of those events on its head by demonstrating how the defenders of Greek literature—rather than clinging to an outmoded tradition—celebrated the radically different practices of the ancient world.
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Witty and intelligently written! Prof. Norman brings to light that the French classical period was far more aware of questions relating to its own historical relevance and that the Quarrel of the Ancients and Moderns indeed reflected a protomodern sensibility of self and otherness. A must read!