Deep Classics by Shane Butler Summary
Fragmented, buried, and largely lost, the classical past presents formidable obstacles to anyone who would seek to know it. 'Deep Classics' is the study of these obstacles and, in particular, of the way in which the contemplation of the classical past resembles – and has even provided a model for – other kinds of human endeavor. This volume offers a new way to understand the modalities and aims of Classics itself, through the ages. Its individual chapters draw fruitful connections between the reception of the classical and current concerns in philosophy of mind, cognitive theory, epistemology, media studies, sense studies, aesthetics, queer theory and eco-criticism. What does the study of the ancient past teach us about our encounters with our own more recent but still elusive memories? What do our always partial reconstructions of ancient sites tell us about the limits of our ability to know our own world, or to imagine our future? What does the reader of the lacunose and corrupted literatures of antiquity learn thereby about literature and language themselves? What does a shattered statue reveal about art, matter, sensation, experience, life? Does the way in which these vestiges of the past are encountered – sitting in a library, standing in a gallery, moving through a ruin – condition our responses to them and alter their significance? And finally, how has the contemplation of antiquity helped to shape seemingly unrelated disciplines, including not only other humanistic and scientific epistemologies but also non-scholarly modes and practices? In asking these and similar questions, Deep Classics makes a pointed intervention in the study of the classical tradition, now more widely known as 'reception studies'.