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Out of Arcadia: Classics and Politics in Germany in the Age of Burckhardt, Nietzsche and Wilamowitz (BICS Supplement 79)

Edited by Ingo Gildenhard and Martin Ruehl
Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies Supplements


244 × 170
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Institute of Classical Studies


Classics is, and always has been, political. In the sixty odd years between the birth of the Second Empire and the rise of Nazism, German classics experienced particularly virulent ideological conflicts. Around 1880 a new generation of philologists began to challenge the liberal neo-humanism that had defined the discipline since Winckelmann. Drawing on novel source material and research methods they turned to the irrational transgressive and ‘oriental’ elements of ancient Greece. Though methodologically innovative, their comparative approach to Hellenic civilization in many ways reinforced the racist and anti-semitic discourses of fin-de-siècle Germany.

Out of Arcadia presents a provocative re-evaluation of this transformative period. At its centre stand three figures – Burckhardt, Nietzsche and Wilamowitz – who played pivotal roles in the scholarly debate. A group of international experts takes a fresh look at the political agendas informing their works and the ways in which they contributed to the destruction of German philhellenism.

E. Flaig Jacob Burckhardt Greek culture and modernity

L. Gossman Per me si va nella città dolente: Burckhardt and the polis

M. Ruehl Politeia 1871: Nietzsche contra Wagner on the Greek State

A. U. Sommer On the genealogy of the genealogical method: Overbeck, Nietzsche and the search for origins

E. Flaig Towards ‘Rassenhygiene’: Wilamowitz & the German New Right

S. Marchand From Liberalism to neo-romanticism: A. Dieterich, R. Reitzenstein & the religious turn in fin-de-siècle German Classical Studies

I. Gildenhard Philologia perennis? Classical scholarship & Functional Differentiation