Classics and Early American Literature and Culture (Nov. 6-8, 2015) Portland, OR

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PAMLA 2015
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Classics and Early American Literature and Culture

Presiding Officer:
Adam Goldwyn, North Dakota State University
Matthew Duques, North Dakota State University

Abstract: The literary and political culture of the early U.S. republic drew heavily from Greek and Roman models. This panel seeks to move beyond previous scholarship, which has focused on the influence of the Classics in North American political discourse, to a wider array of literary and non-literary texts and material cultures.

Panel Proposal: Scholars have long recognized that the reception of Classical Greek and Roman literature and culture played a crucial role in early modern and modern American thought. Much of the focus, though, has traditionally been placed on how allusions to, and adaptations of classical literature shaped the framers, their framing documents, and all manner of civic praxis. Recently, this focus has begun to shift from the more political reception of classical antiquity to its reception in wider American social and cultural contexts. Historian Caroline Winterer has recently elaborated on how early U.S. citizens and non-citizen residents conceived of the classical past, and literary critics are now turning to a wider literary canon to understand how diverse writers engaged with these civilizations. With a similar critical spirit in mind, this panel invites papers that recover new relationships between the classics and cultural expressions from the Revolution to the Civil War. Possible topics might include the classics and Revolutionary literature, African American, Native American, Caribbean, and South American literatures, classics and sermons, journals, and periodicals, classics and illness, democratic theory, sexuality, classical collectors and material culture (sculpture, paintings and architecture); classical pilgrimages and travelogues, and other similar topics.

Please contact Adam Goldwyn ( for more information or submit through PAMLA's onine portal.

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