In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section The History of Modern Classical Scholarship (Since 1750)

  • Introduction
  • Reference Works
  • Series
  • Journals
  • General Histories and Surveys
  • Biographical Essay Collections
  • Institutional Histories and Histories of Education
  • From the National to the Transnational
  • War and Migration
  • Research Practices and Research Cultures

Classics The History of Modern Classical Scholarship (Since 1750)
Constanze Güthenke
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 July 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 July 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0199


The history of classical scholarship has multiple identities: it is an established, though often secondary, part of historically self-conscious scholarship, in terms of naming its traditions and genealogies; but it has also, especially alongside new research interests in the reception of Antiquity, claimed its place as a more fully reflective and theorized field that ought to be integral to classical studies themselves. Classical scholarship, its contexts, practices, and epistemologies, is itself a form of reception and thus open to investigation and interpretation. As a field of inquiry, the history of modern classical scholarship is multifaceted and multidisciplinary. It taps into the larger concerns of the history of scholarship and science and of disciplinarity in the modern research university; it encourages the meta-critical reflection of specific, historically conditioned practices, epistemologies, and ways of knowing; and it addresses, even if indirectly, the question of what forms of knowledge of Antiquity lie outside the confines of the discipline. Thus, the history of classical scholarship needs to draw on a wide range of methods and approaches, such as intellectual and cultural history, the history of institutions and of knowledge, as well as biography and prosopography—all facets which are represented in this bibliographical selection. This particularly tangled web is readily acknowledged as a quality of the world of the Early Modern Republic of Letters. The rise of modern classical scholarship, though, as an institutionalized, professionalized, and disciplined form of study from the middle of the 18th century coincided with the emergence of the national and the individual as the dominant paradigms for the interpretation of the self, of history, and of culture, ancient or modern. In consequence, histories of classical scholarship, its practices, and its practitioners have often been relatively compartmentalized. More recently, the interrogation of those categories and their boundaries (such as the national, institutional, or disciplinary) has led to revisionist and more interdisciplinary approaches. Many of the categories in this bibliography are thus mutually related: they are best understood as nodes in a network of approaches. After sections dealing with reference works and genres of general studies, such as a institutional histories or biographical approaches, the bibliography is broadly separated into sections that deal with national traditions, European and non-European; linking topics such as the transnational, migration and war, or politics; and finally disciplinary approaches, including subsections on specific disciplines. Many entries lead double lives, so to speak, in several sections. It is hoped that the structure is transparent enough to allow the reader further shakes of the kaleidoscope. In addition, the history of scholarship as a field of research has been dominated by the edited volume as a popular mode, which adds to the somewhat protean shape of the literature. The structure of this bibliography reflects this distribution of research and indicates certain hubs around which research interest has clustered to date (such as Germany, Victorian Britain, elite institutions, prosopography, or migration and politics). Throughout, particular emphasis has been put on cultural contextualization, as well as on suggesting, where possible, new avenues for conceptualization and theorization.

Reference Works

General reference works on the history of classical scholarship come in various formats, though predominantly with an unquestioned focus on individual scholars and their works as the basic taxonomic principle. Briggs 1994 and Todd 2004 are biographical dictionaries for the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively; Briggs and Calder 1990 has fewer but longer articles and covers international territory. Kuhlmann and Schneider 2014, the latest supplement to Brill’s New Pauly, is essentially also a European biographical dictionary, prefaced by some historical survey essays. Calder and Kramer 1992 and Calder and Smith 2000 are annotated bibliographic catalogues. Grafton, et al. 2010, on the classical tradition more generally, has both thematic and individual-focused entries regarding the history of classical scholarship. The searchable database of the Bibliotheca Academica Translationum is an innovative pilot-project for a reference tool that focuses on scholarly works and their reception.

  • Briggs, Ward W., Jr., ed. 1994. Biographical dictionary of North American classicists. Prepared under the auspices of the American Philological Association. Westport, CT: Greenwood.

    Short biographical entries with, importantly, full information on sources; appendices contain lists of subjects, of institutions represented, of last degree earned (and place), as well as a general bibliography on American classical scholarship.

  • Briggs, Ward W., Jr., and William M. Calder III, eds. 1990. Classical scholarship: A biographical encyclopedia. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities 928. New York: Garland.

    Fifty detailed biographical essays on scholars mostly of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with close attention to their scholarly work as much as to their academic contexts and genealogies.

  • Calder, William M., III, and Daniel Kramer. 1992. An introductory bibliography to the history of classical scholarship chiefly in the XIXth and XXth centuries. Hildesheim, Germany: Olms.

    Useful bibliographies, outspokenly annotated (though of its categories only monographs and edited volumes receive comments). The volumes are organized into general books and articles, and books and articles on institutions and individuals, a taxonomic reflection of this being essentially a catalogue of Calder’s expansive collection of literature on this field.

  • Calder, William M., III, and R. Scott Smith, eds. 2000. A supplementary bibliography to the history of classical scholarship chiefly in the XIXth and XXth centuries. Bari, Italy: Edizioni Dedalo.

    The follow-up volume to Calder and Kramer 1992, maintaining the same structure and organization.

  • Classics Centre of the University of Oxford and Centre Louis Gernet Paris (CNRS/EHESS). Bibliotheca Academica Translationum.

    Searchable database of (mostly) cross-European translations of scholarly writing on Greek and Roman Antiquity, especially of the 18th and 19th centuries (officially 1701–1917). Having originated in Oxford, the project is currently maintained at the EHESS in Paris. The site also has useful bibliographies on translation and cultural transfers.

  • Grafton, Anthony, Glenn W. Most, and Salvatore Settis, eds. 2010. The classical tradition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    A dictionary-style guide to the receptions of classical Greco-Roman Antiquity in later cultures in their full variety of forms, mediators, and media. Entries, both on individuals and thematic, vary from a few hundred to a few thousand words in length. Useful index.

  • Kuhlmann, Peter, and Helmuth Schneider, eds. 2014. Brill’s new Pauly supplements 6: The history of classical scholarship: A biographical dictionary. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

    Short biographical entries, international in orientation, together with some introductory historical essays.

  • Todd, Robert B., ed. 2004. The dictionary of British classicists. 3 vols. Bristol, UK: Thoemmes Continuum.

    Short biographical essays, supplemented with author bibliographies and further reading. Also contains a good general bibliography on British classics.

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