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The ClassicSainte-Beuve and the Nineteenth-Century Culture Wars$
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Christopher Prendergast

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199215850

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199215850.001.0001

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Homer or Virgil?

Homer or Virgil?

(p.128) 5 Homer or Virgil?
The Classic

Christopher Prendergast (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The entries for Homer in the index of the Lundis are numerous compared to those for Virgil. This may reflect the fact that for Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve, from within the history of his own literary culture, the case of Homer presented him with major complexities of interpretation and judgement, whereas, relatively speaking, that of Virgil did not, although this did not make him any less central to Sainte-Beuve's reflections on the classic. On the contrary, the relative straightforwardness of the ‘question’ of Virgil was in direct proportion to his absolute and irreducible centrality. Homer, however, occupied a far less uncomplicatedly assured position, such that Sainte-Beuve will repeatedly return to Homer as an issue that needs to be settled, once and for all, but that is in fact endlessly reopened. Sainte-Beuve was well versed in the tradition of Homeric editing, commentary, and translation from ancient times to the present.

Keywords:   Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve, classic, literary criticism, France, Virgil, Homer, Greek literature

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