Joseph M. Levine (essay date 1984)
SOURCE: “The Battle of the Books and the Shield of Achilles,” in Eighteenth-Century Life, Vol. 9, No. 1, October 1984, pp. 33-61.
[In the following essay, Levine examines the debate between ancients and moderns in Great Britain and France in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, focusing particularly on the two sides' differing assessments of Homer.]
The conventional notion that the beginning of modern times was ushered in by the “revival of antiquity” contains an evident paradox. How was it that the Renaissance humanists, who had deliberately tried to imitate and restore the culture of the distant past, could make so decisive a step into the future? The...
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