David Jones and Rome: Reimagining the Decline of Western Civilisation

ISBN : 9780198868194

Jasmine Hunter Evans
384 ページ
156 x 234 mm
Classical Presences

This interdisciplinary and archival study explores the reception of ancient Rome in the artistic, literary, and philosophical works of David Jones (1895-1974)-the Anglo-Welsh, Roman Catholic, First World War veteran. For Jones, the twentieth century was a period of crisis, an age of conflict, disillusionment and cultural decay, all of which he saw as evidence of the decline of Western civilisation. Across his lifetime, Jones would create a dynamic vision of ancient Rome in an attempt both to understand and to challenge this situation. His reimagining of Rome was not founded on a classical education. Instead, it was fashioned from his lived experience, extensive reading, and-most importantly-his engagement with four areas of contemporary discourse that were themselves built upon intricate and conflicting representations of Rome: British political rhetoric, cyclical history, the Catholic cultural revival, and the Welsh nationalist movement. Tracing Jones's developing approach to Rome across these contexts can provide a way into his art and thought. Whether in his poetic fragments, watercolours, essays, letters, marginalia or unique painted inscriptions, Jones strove to question, complicate and remake Rome's relationship with modernity. In this way, Rome appears in Jones's works both as a symbol of transhistorical imperialism, totalitarianism, and the mechanisation of life, and simultaneously as the cultural and religious progenitor of the West, and in particular, of Wales, with which artists must creatively reconnect if decline was to be avoided.


Introduction: 'at the turn of time'
Part I. David Jones and Empire
Introduction to Part I: The Political Formation of the Roman Analogy
1 Shaping Rome through Contactual Experience: War and Post-War Disillusionment
2 British Imperial Rhetoric: Subverting the Roman Analogy of Empire
3 Expanding the Roman Imperial Analogy: Fascism, Communism, and the Co-agency of Empires
Part II. David Jones and Cyclical History
Introduction to Part II: The Roman Precedent for the Decline of Western Civilisation
4 Cyclical History and Roman Decline: A Theoretical Foundation for the Roman Fragments
5 The Forms of the Late Civilisational Phase: Charting the Decline of the West from Roman Precedents
6 The Antithesis of Culture and Civilisation: Examining Spenglerian Principles in Roman Poetry
Part III. David Jones and Culture
Introduction to Part III: Recovering Rome in the Pursuit of Western Unity and Continuity
7 Investigating Cultural Decline: The Classical and Christian Traditions
8 Reconnecting with Rome: The Fight for the Unity and Continuity of Western Culture
9 Jones s Cultural Theory: Re-establishing the Bridge in Response to the Break
Part IV. David Jones and Wales
Introduction to Part IV: The Roman Foundation of the Welsh Nation
10 Reimagining Cultural Decline: The Fight for Wales as Britain s Last Link to Rome
11 Rewriting Welsh History: Establishing Wales as a Roman Nation
12 Cultural Dynamics: The Place of Rome in the Bridge
Conclusion: 'down the history maze'


Jasmine Hunter Evans is Staff Tutor in Classical Studies at The Open University. She has developed an interdisciplinary research and teaching profile across English, Classics, and Education. She also specialises in research training, in particular, as an Associate for the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement. Since completing a AHRC-funded PhD in English Literature and Classics at The University of Exeter, she has developed her key field of study by co-leading funded research projects, organising conferences, guest editing journals, giving talks and publishing works on the artist, poet, and essayist David Jones.