Antiquity without Authority

Larry F. Norman

in The Shock of the Ancient

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780226591483
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226591506 | DOI:
Antiquity without Authority

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Boileau's attitudes toward antiquity, as contradictory as they may at times be, reaffirm his essential point regarding the foreign nature of the past: it is to be treated either (or alternately) as a respected interlocutor in a civil dialogue between distinct ages, or as something of an awe-inspiring creature from a distant land. In either case, Boileau is certainly not appealing to a sense of unbroken continuity with that past, and much less to any claim that such a past might stake to its authority over the present. Indeed, Boileau is quite careful not to apply the word “authority” to antiquity, nor to require from modern readers an unquestioned “submission” to past masters. His polemical heirs followed suit.

Keywords: Boileau; antiquity; authority; civil dialogue; past; distinct ages; continuity

Chapter.  5185 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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