February 16, 2018
Miriam Leonard, professor of Greek literature, University College London will discuss "Classics and the Birth of Modernity."
The period of the late eighteenth century has long been regarded as marking the birth of “modernity;” it is also a period of intense investment in the classical world. Traditionally, modernity has been contrasted with classicism. In the arts, there was a concerted striving for novelty and the rejection of traditional forms as inadequate and stultifying. Nevertheless some of the key thinkers of modernity, whose ideas helped not only to delineate but also to shape the experience of living in the late eighteenth and nineteenth century, were heavily indebted to the ideas and cultures of classical antiquity. The lecture will explore this paradox.