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This is a study of how sex and sexuality were written about in the first centuries of this era, a central period in the history of sexuality. Writing with the same wit and verve as the ancient writers he engages with, Simon Goldhill shows how the standard accounts of sexuality in this period are distorted by ignoring the sexy, ironic and often bizarre texts of the ancient novel, erotic poetry and humorous dialogues.

How did the Victorians engage with the ancient world? Victorian Culture and Classical Antiquity is a brilliant exploration of how the ancient worlds of Greece and Rome influenced Victorian culture. Through Victorian art, opera, and novels, Simon Goldhill examines how sexuality and desire, the politics of culture, and the role of religion in society were considered and debated through the Victorian obsession with antiquity. Looking... more...

Simon Goldhill offers a fresh and exciting perspective on how the Victorians used material culture to express their sense of the past in an age of progress, especially the biblical past and the past of classical antiquity. From Pompeian skulls on a writer's desk, to religious paraphernalia in churches, new photographic images of the Holy Land and the remaking of the cityscape of Jerusalem and Britain, Goldhill explores the remarkable way in which the... more...


The Victorian era was the high point of literary tourism. Writers such as Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Sir Walter Scott became celebrities, and readers trekked far and wide for a glimpse of the places where their heroes wrote and thought, walked and talked. Even Shakespeare was roped in, as Victorian entrepreneurs transformed quiet Stratford-upon-Avon into a combination shrine and tourist trap. Stratford... more...

These especially commissioned essays open up a fascinating and novel perspective on a crucial era of Western culture. In the second century CE the Roman empire dominated the Mediterranean, but Greek culture maintained its huge prestige. At the same time, Christianity and Judaism were vying for followers against the lures of such an elite cultural life. This book looks at how writers in Greek from all areas of Empire society responded to their... more...

'Dialogue' was invented as a written form in democratic Athens and made a celebrated and popular literary and philosophical style by Plato. Yet it almost completely disappeared in the Christian empire of late antiquity. This book, the first general and systematic study of the genre in antiquity, asks: who wrote dialogues and why? Why did dialogue no longer attract writers in the later period in the same way? Investigating dialogue goes to the heart of... more...