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The Afterlife of Plutarch

Plutarch’s writings have had a varied reception history from when he was writing in the second century BCE down to today. This volume starts from what may be a translation into the Syriac dialect of a lost Plutarch essay; continues with a tribute from a leading scholar of the later Byzantine period; and follows the centuries of sustained enthusiasm from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century. This period started once a translation into Latin had become available, and ended when scholars in the nineteenth century lowered Plutarch’s reputation as historian, biographer, philosopher, and stylist. By the end of the century, he came to symbolize in the eyes of Tolstoy precisely what history should not be. Both the causes of the decline and the later recovery of interest raise important new questions about how Plutarch should be assessed in the twenty-first century. This is one of the early volumes in the series of ‘Afterlives’ of the Classics, being produced jointly by the Institute of Classical Studies and the Warburg.  

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