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Victorian Women Writers and the ClassicsThe Feminine of Homer$
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Isobel Hurst

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199283514

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199283514.001.0001

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Encounters with the Ancient World in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture

Encounters with the Ancient World in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture

Chapter:
(p.11) 1 Encounters with the Ancient World in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture
Source:
Victorian Women Writers and the Classics
Author(s):

Isobel Hurst (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199283514.003.0002

This chapter examines the social and educational context of classical studies in the Victorian period. Men like Byron and Tennyson described reading authors such as Horace at school as a dull and pointless experience. The centrality of Latin and Greek in the schooling of upper- and middle-class men was increasingly challenged by newer disciplines such as science and English literature, but classical study remained prestigious in class terms. ‘Compulsory Greek’ was repeatedly debated in Oxford or Cambridge until the requirement was abolished after the First World War. In attempting to extend access to working men, universities provided classical lectures which middle-class women attended. Resources available to those whose education had not equipped them to read ancient texts in the original languages included translations, children's books, popular fiction, and travel.

Keywords:   Byron, Tennyson, Horace, Oxford, Cambridge, compulsory Greek

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