Today is the 310th birthday of the English scholar and landscape gardener Joseph Spence (1699-1768). Spence served both as Professor of Poetry (1728-37) and Regius Professor of Modern History (1742-68) at Oxford, and was a friend of the poet Alexander Pope. Perhaps his most influential work was Polymetis (1741), a treatise in dialogue form on the connections between ancient Roman poetry and art. The work draws extensively on examples from Latin poetry, and from “antiques” such as sculptures, medals, and cameos. The special collections department of the Carleton College library holds a 1755 edition of the Polymetis, from which the frontispiece and title page above are taken. Continue reading
One of my former jobs was researching and writing scripts for Garrison Keillor’s daily radio program, The Writers’ Almanac. What always frustrated me about that gig was that I could never go into much depth, and had to confine myself to anecdotes about famous people. Keillor complained if my scripts sounded too much like “term papers.” Succumbing to that tendency, now that I’m no longer subject to quality control by Mr. Keillor, I’ve posted a birthday appreciation of Victorian poet and friend of the classics, Walter Savage Landor. It can be found over on my personal blog, Rough Draft.
One of the links in the post is to another classics blog out there,
Laudator Temporis Acti, the work of Minnesota-based “antediluvian, bibliomaniac, and curmudgeon,” Michael Gilleland.
Note: According to Wikipedia, one of Landor’s early love interests was a girl named Nancy Evans.