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Classics and National Cultures$
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Susan A. Stephens and Phiroze Vasunia

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212989

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212989.001.0001

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Heraclitus on the Highveld: The Universalism (Ancient and Modern) of T. J. Haarhoff

Heraclitus on the Highveld: The Universalism (Ancient and Modern) of T. J. Haarhoff

(p.217) 11 Heraclitus on the Highveld: The Universalism (Ancient and Modern) of T. J. Haarhoff
Classics and National Cultures

Grant Parker

Oxford University Press

The varied career of T. J. (Theo) Haarhoff gives unusual insights into South Africa of the first half of the twentieth century: no mere classicist, he was also an Afrikaans poet and a public intellectual of note. In works such as Vergil, the Universal he linked Roman antiquity to the South African present. His scholarly writings on ancient ethnic identity reveal much about his times, particularly the optimism that many placed in international organizations following the First World War. Much emerges from his relation with or admiration of the scholars Gilbert Murray and Jackson Knight, and the South African statesmen Jan Smuts and J. H. Hofmeyr. Ancient ‘universalism’ in Haarhoff's work involves relations between English‐ and Afrikaans‐speaking whites, much more so than South Africa's full racial and ethnic diversity. An ardent Smuts man, his views were liberal for their time but, from a later perspective, did not go far enough.

Keywords:   T. J. Haarhoff, Gilbert Murray, Jackson Knight, J. H. Hofmeyr, Jan Smuts, Vergil, the Universal, universalism, Virgil, South Africa

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