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Down from Olympus:
Archaeology and Philhellenism in Germany, 1750-1970
Suzanne L. Marchand

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1997

Paperback | 2003 | $46.95 / £32.95 | ISBN: 9780691114781
424 pp. | 6 x 9 | 35 halftones
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Since the publication of Eliza May Butler's Tyranny of Greece over Germany in 1935, the obsession of the German educated elite with the ancient Greeks has become an accepted, if severely underanalyzed, cliché. In Down from Olympus, Suzanne Marchand attempts to come to grips with German Graecophilia, not as a private passion but as an institutionally generated and preserved cultural trope. The book argues that nineteenth-century philhellenes inherited both an elitist, normative aesthetics and an ascetic, scholarly ethos from their Romantic predecessors; German "neohumanists" promised to reconcile these intellectual commitments, and by so doing, to revitalize education and the arts. Focusing on the history of classical archaeology, Marchand shows how the injunction to imitate Greek art was made the basis for new, state-funded cultural institutions. Tracing interactions between scholars and policymakers that made possible grand-scale cultural feats like the acquisition of the Pergamum Altar, she underscores both the gains in specialized knowledge and the failures in social responsibility that were the distinctive products of German neohumanism.

This book discusses intellectual and institutional aspects of archaeology and philhellenism, giving extensive treatment to the history of prehistorical archaeology and German "orientalism." Marchand traces the history of the study, excavation, and exhibition of Greek art as a means to confront the social, cultural, and political consequences of the specialization of scholarship in the last two centuries.

Review:

"Impressive. . . . Marchand's work will fascinate historians, philosophers, literary theorists, and . . . Humanists. . . . It provides . . . the definitive study of the historical decline of German 'institutional philhellenism.'"--Josef Chytry, American Historical Review

"A rich and welcome contribution to German cultural history. . . . A must-read for anyone interested in . . . the history of philhellenism and archaeology in Germany."--Spencer Moore, American Anthropologist

"An enormously rich and stimulating book. . . . It is a masterly study of an important chapter of the classical Greek bearings on the modern world."--Craige Champion, Classical World

"Superb. . . . A sobering book, one marked by its scholarly care and narrative brilliance."--Choice

Table of Contents:

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ix
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xi
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS xv
INTRODUCTION Xvii
ONE The Making of a Cultural Obsession 3
TWO From Ideals to Institutions 36
THREE The Vicissitudes of Grand-Scale Archaeology 75
FOUR Trouble in Olympus 116
FIVE Excavating the Barbarian 152
SIX The Peculiarities of German Orientalism 188
SEVEN Kultur and the World War 228
EIGHT The Persistence of the Old Regime 263
NINE The Third Humanism and the Return of Romantic Aesthetics 302
TEN The Decline of Philhellenism, 1933-1970 341
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 377
INDEX 391

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Hardcover published in 1996

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    File created: 9/23/2014

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