Reviewed: Trio of Books on the Dilettanti and Antiquarianism

Posted in books, catalogues, reviews by Editor on December 29, 2011

Recently added to caa.reviews:

Bruce Redford, Dilettanti: The Antic and the Antique in Eighteenth-Century England, exhibition catalogue (Los Angeles: Getty Trust Publications, 2008), 232 pages, ISBN: 9780892369249, $49.95.

Ilaria Bignamini and Clare Hornsby, Digging and Dealing in Eighteenth-Century Rome, 2 volumes (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), 622 pages, ISBN: 9780300160437, $85.

Jason M. Kelly, The Society of Dilettanti: Archaeology and Identity in the British Enlightenment (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), 366 pages, ISBN: 9780300152197, $75.

Reviewed by Susan Dixon, University of Tulsa; posted 1 December 2011.

These three recent books explore an eighteenth-century British engagement with classical archaeology during a time when the practice was transforming from an early modern antiquarianism into a modern scientific discipline. Two of the books are monographic studies of the Society of the Dilettanti, an organization that became known for its support of unprecedented archaeological activity in Greece, while a third outlines how British subjects, some of whom were Dilettanti, undertook archaeological excavations on Italian soil and refurbished, sold, and bought the antiquities found there. In some measure, all the authors note this engagement as integral to shaping British cultural identity in the eighteenth century, and in this way add to robust scholarship on the issue. . . .

The full review is available here» (CAA membership required)

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