Classical Connections Seminar Lecture: Dr Tom Phillips (Manchester) "Shelley's Plastic Hellenism"
Dr Tom Phillips is lecturer in Classical Literature at the University of Manchester. He is the author of Pindar's Library: Performance Poetry and Material Texts (Oxford, 2016) and of numerous contributions on Greek classical and hellenistic literature.
This talk explores connections in the work of P.B. Shelley between his conception of the poet’s capacity to generate forms of ‘sympathy’ with the natural world and historical phenomena, and his responses to ancient Greek poetry. Examining Shelley’s translation of the Homeric Hymn to Hermes and some passages from ‘Ode to Liberty’, I argue that both translation and allusion aim to uncover morally and intellectually transformative aspects of ancient texts that only become available for recognition by prefiguring the futurity realized in Shelley’s own poetry. Attending to such connections is a valuable starting point for thinking about the untimeliness of our relations with classical antiquity and its literature.