Theory for Classics: A Student's Guide

Theory for Classics: A Student's Guide

Louise Hitchcock

Language: English

Pages: 232

ISBN: 0415454980

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This student's guide is a clear and concise handbook to the key connections between Classical Studies and critical theory in the twentieth century. Louise Hitchcock looks at the way Classics has been engaged across a number of disciplines. 

Beginning with four foundational figures – Freud, Marx, Nietzshe and Saussure – Hitchcock goes on to provide guided introductions of the major theoretical thinkers of the past century, from Adorno to Williams. Each entry offers biographical, theoretical and bibliographical information along with a discussion of each figure's relevance to Classical Studies and suggestions for future research. 

Theory for Classics, adapted from Theory for Religious Studies, by William E. Deal and Timothy K. Beal, is a brisk, thoughtful, provocative, and engaging title, which will be an essential first volume for anyone interested in the intersection between theory and classical studies today.















required for self-definition. Nietzsche used his inaugural lecture on “Homer and Classical Philology” (1869) to initiate his exploration of the relationship between past and present. Nietzsche saw classics and philology as disciplines that were entered from not one, but from multiple perspectives (In Homer and Classical Philology): We may consider antiquity from a scientific point of view; we may try to look at what has happened with the eye of a historian, or to arrange and compare the

of a differential system, and their meanings and significance derive synchronically from relationships with other signs within that system. As illustrated by the previous example, a central claim made by Saussure’s semiotics is that words do not have an inherent significance because meaning resides in relationships of difference and similarity within a larger linguistic system. Simply put, words are not units of self-contained meaning. A related concern—whether language is natural or

undoubtedly his publication in 1957 of Mythologies, a semiotic study of the myths of popular culture and everyday life. Barthes submits wrestling, detergent advertisements, the iconography of the striptease, and even discussions about Einstein’s brain to a structuralist analysis. He critiques the means by which ideology is naturalized in the twentieth century in mass cultural myths by analyzing the semiotics of mythic language (see also his Elements of Semiology, 1964). The second part of

“signed up without having begun to play” (Speculum of the Other Woman, p. 22). So it is, in fact, with all forms of subjectivity. One acts within a certain social and symbolic order, a “game” with certain (and frequently unwritten) rules and codes to which and by which one is initially “subjected.” Paradoxically, it is this subjection that 100 The Theorists makes subversion possible. Butler writes: “Subjection signifies the process of becoming subordinated by power as well as the process of

the symbol has made him man” (p. 65). And later in the same essay: “Symbols in fact envelop the life of man with a network so total that they join together those who are going to engender him ‘by bone and flesh’ before he comes into the world” (p. 67). Besides the Symbolic, which we return to below, Lacan’s theory of the subject relies upon two other orders: the Imaginary and the Real. (These three orders are inseparable and co-construct each other in his thought.) The Imaginary is developed in

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