Casper de Jonge
Fields of interest
- Ancient Literary Criticism
- Greek Criticism
- Greek and Roman Rhetoric
- History of Linguistics
- History of Scholarship
- Longinus, On the Sublime
- Dionysius of Halicarnassus
- Greek and Latin Literature in Rome
Greek Criticism and Latin Literature
This project examines the intriguing relationship between Greek literary criticism and Latin literature in Rome (first centuries BC and AD). It focuses on the connections between the Greek treatises of Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Roman works of rhetoric (Cicero, Quintilian) and Latin poetry (Virgil, Horace).
In his critical works, Dionysius studies the classical literature of the Greek past. His activities, however, are firmly based in the literary and rhetorical culture of the Roman present. Dionysius knows Latin, teaches Roman students and participates in a network of Greek and Roman intellectuals. The works of Dionysius and his Greek colleagues (Caecilius, Longinus) have traditionally been studied as part of the Greek tradition of literary criticism, whereas the interaction between Greek critics and contemporary authors of Latin texts has received little attention. This project will argue that Greek scholars and Roman writers participate in a continuous dialogue, contributing to a discourse of poetics, rhetoric and literary criticism. Common interests between Dionysius and Roman authors include classicism, stylistic composition, and creative imitation.
Classical Greek literature plays a central role in the cultural interaction between Greeks and Romans. Greeks under Roman rule locate their identity in the classical past of Greece. Romans are interested in the same Greek tradition, which inspires them to compose new literary works in competition with the Greeks: Sappho and Pindar are important models for both Dionysius and Horace, as Demosthenes is for Dionysius and Cicero. The literary past forms a powerful means of negotiating identity for Greeks as well as Romans, since it helps both groups to define their role in the present.
By drawing attention to the unexplored dialogue between Greek criticism and Latin literature, this research project aims to present a new vision of rhetorical and literary culture in Late Republican and Early Imperial Rome.
The Sublime in Context
One of the most influential concepts of ancient rhetorical and literary theory, the Sublime (Greek: hupsos) inspired many modern thinkers such as Kant, Burke and Schopenhauer. In the first century BC, rhetoricians seem to have developed the terminology of hupsos (literally height) in order to describe the special effect of a passage in prose or poetry that enchants and completely overwhelms the audience. The modern fascination for the sublime is ultimately based on the ancient rhetorical treatise On the Sublime (Peri hupsous), the unknown author of which is commonly referred to as Longinus. Because both date and authorship of this work are unknown, scholars have traditionally regarded the treatise as an isolated, unique and even mysterious piece of ancient literary criticism. Peri hupsous is considered to be so timeless that it seems to be a work without context.
This research project, however, aims at placing the ancient Sublime (and the treatise that made it famous) in its intellectual context, by examining the close connections between Longinus and five disciplines that are highly relevant to his work: (1) rhetorical theory, (2) technical grammar, (3) poetic criticism, (4) art and architecture and (5) the theory and practice of literary composition in Augustan poetry. Through close reading, intertextuality and discourse analysis, On the Sublime will be compared with the works of a number of Greek and Roman authors who represent the five contexts mentioned.
By relating Longinus' discourse and ideas to these different disciplines, we will be able to reconstruct the intellectual context of his rich and multidisciplinary treatise. This reading of Longinus within the rhetorical, cultural, literary and intellectual world of the first centuries BC and AD will result in a new early history of one of the most influential categories in the history of literature.
Aristotle's Poetics: a Dutch translation
Piet Gerbrandy (University of Amsterdam) and Casper C. de Jonge are preparing a new Dutch translation of Aristotle's Poetics, which will be published by the Historische Uitgeverij (Groningen).
Recent courses include the following:
- Greek Grammar and Syntax (Language Acquisition) (BA1)
- Plato, Republic (BA1)
- Sophocles, Oedipus Rex (BA1)
- Homer, Iliad (BA2)
- Herodotus, Histories (BA2)
- Imperial Greek Prose (BA2)
- Supervised Reading List (BA2)
- Greek Lyric Poetry (BA3)
- Ancient Literary Criticism (BA3)
- Longinus, On the Sublime (BA3)
- Homer, Odyssey (BA3)
- Aristotle, Poetics (MA)
- History of Linguistics (MA)
- Cultural Contact in the Hellenistic World (Research MA)
- Thesis Seminar (Research MA)
Casper C. de Jonge (Leiden, 1977) studied Classics at Leiden University (1995-2001), where he also defended his PhD thesis (2006, cum laude). His revised thesis Between Grammar and Rhetoric. Dionysius of Halicarnassus on Language, Linguistics and Literature was published in 2008 (Leiden / Boston: Brill). In 2006 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Greek Language and Literature at Leiden University. He was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC (2008) and at the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies of Princeton University (2012). The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) awarded him a VENI grant for his research project The Sublime in Context (2010-2013) and a VIDI grant for his project Greek Criticism and Latin Literature (2014-2018). Casper de Jonge is chief editor of the classics journal Lampas (2009-present), chair of the teaching committee of the Classics Department (2010-present), and council member of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric (2013-2017).
Recent publications include:
- Between Grammar and Rhetoric. Dionysius of Halicarnassus on Language, Linguistics and Literature. (Mnemosyne Supplements 301). Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2008.
- ‘Clever Composition. A Textual Note on Longinus, On the Sublime 40.2’, Mnemosyne 65 (2012), 717-725.
- ‘Dionysius and Longinus on the Sublime. Rhetoric and Religious Language’, American Journal of Philology 133 (2012), 271-300.
- 'Longinus 36.3: The Faulty Colossus and Plato's Phaedrus', Trends in Classics 5 (2013), 318-340.
- 'The Semantics of ΕΝΑΓΩΝΙΟΣ in Greek Literary Criticism', Classical Philology 108 (2013), 95-110 (with Steven Ooms).
- Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
- Centre for the Arts in Society
- Griekse T&C