Working Papers by Author

Giovanna Ceserani - Classics Department, Stanford University


020902 Classical culture for a classical country: scholarship and the past in Vincenzo Cuoco'sPlato in Italy
Giovanna Ceserani, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract: What is the place of the classical past and its study in Italy, a classical country whose roots reach back to antiquity, but has existed as an independent nation only since 1860? This essay (to be published in S. Stephen and P. Vasunia eds., Classics and National Cultures, OUP) explores this question through analysis of a historical novel set in ancient Greek South Italy and written by a founder of Italian Risorgimento. Cuoco's turn to the past in order to build a modern Italian identity is caught between European Hellenism and alternative ancient pasts of Italy. Moreover, as Cuoco co-opted Italian scholarship to bestow authority on his vision, a new relationship between classical scholars and national past emerged: scholars study, shape and preserve the nation's antiquity, but become at the same time, to an extent, themselves cultural patrimony.

020805 Modern histories of ancient Greece: genealogies, contexts and eighteenth-century narrative historiography
Giovanna Ceserani, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract: This essay is a response to Aleka Lianeri's call to reflect on how encounters with antiquity were foundational to modern categories of historiography, by exploring both the idea of the historical and the discipline's concepts and practices. In taking up such questions I chose to focus on the earliest modern narrative histories of ancient Greece, written at the beginning of the eighteenth century. I examine these works' wider contexts and singular features as well as their reception in the discipline. I argue for the formative role of this moment for modern historiography. Although they were often dismissed as simple narratives, these early modern works provided later historians with a sense of their own modernity. These texts prefigured modern narrative historiography's relationship of simultaneous dependence and independence from its ancient models.