Sewanee Classics Professor Stephanie McCarter has published a new article in Eidolon, an online journal for scholarly writing about classics.
Her piece, entitled "Can a Middle-Aged Woman Seize the Day?" is a meaningful and reflective introspection through her relationship with the Roman lyric poet Horace through the years.
Prompted by a question during dinner with her Sewanee freshman advisees, McCarter re-examines her long term dedication to this poet:
As we inquired about each other’s interests, one eager student asked me, “Why do you like Horace’s Odes?” I was a bit taken aback. For years whenever someone has asked me why I study Classics, I’ve readily answered, “Because I read Horace.” But I realized in that moment just how much the why of this has changed in recent years.
From the role of wine to the importance of friends, McCarter traces Horace's advice in many works, ultimately leading to a welcome clarification of the (in)famous "Carpe Diem", as well as a maxim of her own to scholars of classical literature who relentelessly toil in this important transfer of human values from one generation to the next:
"College classrooms, where I teach, tend not to be peopled solely with middle-aged men who, like Horace, hobnob with the elite, and we need to show students that there is something rewarding in this for each of them, even if they do not proceed to the more rarefied pursuits of the academy. We can claim these texts as our own even when our identities do not square neatly with those of the poet as we imagine him (or her) to be.