Women Classical Scholars: Unsealing the Fountain from the Renaissance to Jacqueline de Romilly

ISBN : 9780198855088

Rosie Wyles; Edith Hall
496 Pages
138 x 138 mm
Pub date
Dec 2019
Classical Presences
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Winner of Women's Classical Caucus awarded Chapter 9 an Honourable.

  • Offers the first account of the foremothers of women in classical scholarship, opening up an exciting new direction of study
  • Synthesizes overviews of the evolution of classical scholarship with incisive case studies into neglected female scholars
  • Complements illuminating analysis with unprecedented access to personal archival material and photographic illustrations of key figures

Women Classical Scholars: Unsealing the Fountain from the Renaissance to Jacqueline de Romilly is the first written history of the pioneering women born between the Renaissance and 1913 who played significant roles in the history of classical scholarship. Facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles from patriarchal social systems and educational institutions - from learning Latin and Greek as a marginalized minority, to being excluded from institutional support, denigrated for being lightweight or over-ambitious, and working in the shadows of husbands, fathers, and brothers - they nevertheless continued to teach, edit, translate, analyse, and elucidate the texts left to us by the ancient Greeks and Romans.
In this volume twenty essays by international leaders in the field chronicle the lives of women from around the globe who have shaped the discipline over more than five hundred years. Arranged in broadly chronological order from the Italian, Iberian, and Portuguese Renaissance through to the Stalinist Soviet Union and occupied France, they synthesize illuminating overviews of the evolution of classical scholarship with incisive case-studies into often overlooked key figures: some, like Madame Anne Dacier, were already famous in their home countries but have been neglected in previous, male-centred accounts, while others have been almost completely lost to the mainstream cultural memory. This book identifies and celebrates them - their frustrations, achievements, and lasting records; in so doing it provides the classical scholars of today, regardless of gender, with the female intellectual ancestors they did not know they had.


1: Introduction: Approaches to the Fountain, Edith Hall and Rosie Wyles
2: Learned Women of the Renaissance and Early Modern Period in Italy and England: the Relevance of their Scholarship, Carmel McCallum-Barry
3: Hic sita Sigea est: satis hoc: Luisa Sigea and the Role of D. Maria, Infanta of Portugal, in Female Scholarship, Sofia Frade
4: Ménage's Learned Ladies: Anne Dacier (1647-1720) and Anna Maria van Schurman (1607-1678), Rosie Wyles
5: Anne Dacier (1681), Renée Vivien (1903), or What Does it Mean for a Woman to Translate Sapphoa, Jacqueline Fabre-Serries
6: Intellectual Pleasure and the Woman Translator in 17th and 18th-Century England, Edith Hall
7: Confined and Exposed: Elizabeth Carter's Classical Translations, Jennifer Wallace
8: This Is Not A Chapter About Jane Harrison: Teaching Classics at Newnham College, 1882-1922, Liz Gloyn
9: Classical Education and the Advancement of African American Women in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Michele Valerie Ronnick
10: Grace Harriet Macurdy (1866 1946): Redefining the Classical Scholar, Barbara F. McManus
11: Greek (and Roman) Ways and Thoroughfares: the Routing of Edith Hamilton's Classical Antiquity, Judith P. Hallett
12: Margaret Alford: a Cambridge Latinist (1868-1951), Roland Mayer
13: Eli's Daughters: Female Classics Graduate Students at Yale, 1892-1941, Judith P. Hallett
14: 'Ada Sara Adler (1878-1946): "The greatest woman philologist who ever lived"', Catharine Roth
15: Olga Freidenberg: a Creative Mind Incarcerated, Nina Braginskaya
16: An Unconventional Classicist: the Work and Life of Kathleen Freeman, Eleanor Irwin
17: A.M. Dale, Laetitia Parker
18: Betty Radice (1912-1985) and the Survival of Classics, Rowena Fowler
19: Simone Weil: Receiving the IliadBarbara K. Gold
20: Jacqueline de Romilly, Ruth Webb

About the author: 

Edited by Rosie Wyles, Lecturer in Classical History and Literature, University of Kent, and Edith Hall, Professor of Classics, King's College London
Rosie Wyles has been a Lecturer in Classical History and Literature at the University of Kent since 2014, having previously held posts at the University of Oxford, the National University of Ireland Maynooth, the University of Nottingham, and King's College London. Her research interests include Greek and Roman performance arts, costume, reception studies within antiquity and beyond, and gender. Her monograph Costume in Greek Tragedy was published in 2011; she has also published chapters on ancient performance and its reception in several collected volumes and her study of Madame Dacier's translations of Aristophanes will be included in the forthcoming Brill's Companion to the Reception of Aristophanes.
After holding posts at universities including Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham, Edith Hall took up a chair in Classics at King's College London in 2012. She has published more than twenty books on diverse aspects of ancient Greek and Roman literature and its reception and is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio and consultant to professional theatre companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. Her most recent book, Introducing the Ancient Greeks, was published by Bodley Head in 2015, in which year she was also awarded the 2015 Erasmus Prize of the European Academy for her contribution to international research.

This book represents the editors' second collaboration, having previously co-edited the volume New Directions in Ancient Pantomime for Oxford University Press in 2008. The book was met with critical acclaim on publication and one essay was selected as Best Article for 2008 by the Women's Classical Caucus.

Edith Hall
Rosie Wyles
Carmel McCallum-Barry
Sofia Frade
Jacqueline Fabre-Serries
Jennifer Wallace
Liz Gloyn
Michele Valerie Ronnick
Barbara F. McManus
Judith P. Hallett
Roland Mayer
Catharine Roth
Nina Braginskaya
Eleanor Irwin
Laetitia Parker
Rowena Fowler
Barbara K. Gold
Ruth Webb

Women's Classical Caucus awarded Chapter 9 an Honourable

"In summary, this is a positive, inclusive, wide-ranging collection which challenges the idea of the history of classical scholarship being inherently masculinised, and foregrounds the way in which women have contributed to the field. It sits alongside the ongoing feminist project of writing women back in history generally, and complements the exciting work on gender being done in Classics. Uncovering our 'foremothers' continues to authorise women's purchase on the field and serves as an act of both assimilation and inspiration." - Linda Grant, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"an enterprisingly international collection, celebrating the struggles and successes of women intellectuals from the Renaissance to the twentieth century." - Mary Beard, Times Literary Supplement

"For researchers invested in tracing the histories of women, or 'unsealing the fountain' of knowledge about their lives, this book is a revelation. Collecting and analyzing what we know about women scholars who translated, wrote about, and promoted classical texts from various cultural locations in Europe, the book contributes in significant and concrete ways to debates about how to understand the role of women in shaping European learned culture." - Cora Fox,Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal

"Rosie Wyles and Edith Hall ... are eager to rediscover and bring to the light the contribution of many women to the discipline of Classics." - Marco Formisano, Thersites

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