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The Classic – Sainte-Beuve and the Nineteenth-Century Culture Wars - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Classic: Sainte-Beuve and the Nineteenth-Century Culture Wars

Christopher Prendergast


Focusing on a moment and a source in the 19th century, this book ponders the question: what is a classic? This question is, by virtue of its insistent recurrence, itself a classic question that returns to haunt us. It provided the title of a text for French critic Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve in 1850 (‘Qu'est-ce qu'un classique?’), as it did in the 20th century for T.S. Eliot and John Coetzee. Centring on Sainte-Beuve in his 19th-century context, this book's inquiry takes us historically to many places (antiquity, the middle ages, the 17th and 18th as well as the 19th and early 20th centuries ... More

Keywords: Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve, T. S. Eliot, John Coetzee, classic, culture, French literature, intellectual history, literary criticism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2007 Print ISBN-13: 9780199215850
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199215850.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Christopher Prendergast, author
Fellow of King's College, Cambridge; Fellow of British Academy
Author Webpage