Research in this area currently focuses on the exploration of the various traditions surrounding the Alexander Romance. Other work in this area has included work on children’s literature, including the Asterisks and Obelisks: Classical Receptions in Children’s Literature conference (2009). As a practice-led conference which included both academics and authors of children’s literature, this event enabled discussion between academics and authors involved in the writing of children’s literature about the uses and value of the ancient world. This allowed for reflection and opened up avenues for development within the practices of both creative writing and academia.
The cluster has pursued an approach of working within the creative arts sector to advise upon the performance, use, reception and historical context of Classical literature. This approach has sought to develop the cultural capital and historical texture of artists’ work and enhance understanding and appreciation for their audiences. Examples include:
- The Asterisks and Obelisks: Classical Receptions in Children’s Literature conference (2009). As a practice-led conference which included both academics and authors of children’s literature, this event enabled discussion between academics and authors involved in the writing of children’s literature about the uses and value of the ancient world. This allowed for reflection and opened up avenues for development within the practices of both creative writing and academia.
- The cluster has provided expertise to Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, the Welsh Language National Theatre, on matters of Latin pronunciation and metre pertaining to the 2011 production of Spring Awakening.
A key priority for the cluster is widening access to the Classical world which cuts across all of our research strands. This is particularly significant in a region where Classics is not taught in schools. Examples include:
- Classical Association lectures and talks: Members of the cluster regularly deliver public talks to local school children of A-Level age in order to excite them about the ancient world and promote higher aspirations for learning and personal betterment in local communities.
- Summer Schools: Members also contribute a popular module, From Homer to Harry Potter, to the University Summer School. This University-organised initiative builds partnerships with secondary schools in South and West Wales, to develop arrangements which support progression from secondary school to Higher Education, and particularly emphasises subjects such as Classics which are not taught in Welsh secondary schools. Members of the cluster participated in the Reaching Wider Summer University in Aberystwyth, a widening-access scheme which runs courses for non-traditional students, and offers modules linked to research in the cluster on Myth and reception. In addition, the Lampeter Summer University both offered research-based modules and provided a subsidy which enabled low income participants to engage in learning about the ancient world.
Through the work in this research area the School has active research links and collaborations with researchers and practitioners in:
Stoneman, R, K Erickson and I Netton (eds). 2012. The Alexander Romance in Persia and the East. Ancient Narrative Supplements 15. Barkhuis Publishing
Alexander Romance was translated into Syriac in the sixth century and may have become current in Persia as early as the third century AD. From these beginnings it reached into the Persian national epic, the Shahnameh, into Jewish traditions, and into the Qur’an and subsequent Arab romance. The papers in this volume all have the aim of deepening our understanding of this complex development. If we can understand better why Alexander is such an important figure in both east and west, we shall be a little closer to understanding what unites two often antipathetic worlds.