This is a series of essays composed largely from the 1949 Gilbert Highet work, The Classical Tradition. The aim of the series is to create a strong spine from which further investigation into the classical tradition in the sphere of literature can be investigated and expounded. The content takes us from the emergence of epic in Dark Age England to the immediate post Second World War works of French playwright and filmmaker Jean Cocteau. Each instance shall show how the writers of their time had their creativity inextricably impressed by Graeco-Roman antiquity, and achieved greater literary merit through enabling the tradition. The content, based off Highet’s 24 chapter structure, is laid out below:

  1. Introduction
  2. England and the Dark Ages
  3. France and the Middle Ages
  4. Dante and Virgilian Destiny
  5. Gathering Pace: Petrarch, Boccaccio, Chaucer
  6. Translators and Transmission
  7. Drama in the Renaissance
  8. Epic Poetry in the Renaissance
  9. Pastoral and Romance in the Renaissance
  10. Fractious France: Rabelais & Montaigne
  11. Engaging England: Shakespeare’s Classics
  12. Lyric Poetry & Its Legacy
  13. A Tradition Matured
  14. The Classical Dilemma
  15. Baroque: Its Character & its Characters
  16. Baroque Tragedy
  17. Satire: Sniping at Supremacy
  18. Baroque Prose
  19. Age of Revolution
  20. Age of Industry
  21. The Collectors and the Fin de Siècle
  22. Surviving the Cataclysm: Joyce and the Symbolists
  23. Mythological Meddling
  24. Conclusion