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Klooster, Jacqueline

Klooster, Jacqueline

Individual Fellow

Leadership and Literary Art. How the ancient world evaluated literary works by its political leaders

Research Question

How did Greeks and Romans evaluate leaders who were also literary artists? How does the evaluation of political leadership interact with that of literary art? What can this teach us about both?

Project Description

In our world the figure of the poet-dictator is familiar: Mao Zedong and Stalin wrote lyric poetry; Mussolini and Saddam Hussein novels. It is difficult to separate evaluation of these writings from that of the leadership and ideologies of their authors. The ancient world was familiar with a similar phenomenon. A number of prominent leaders both good and bad produced literary art. How did Greek and Romans evaluate these leaders and their literary activity? What happens when one individual combines the social function of the poet and the leader? When is this regarded positively or negatively, and for what reasons? In different periods, different parameters determine the answer to this.

Selected Publications

J.J.H.Klooster (2011) Poetry as Window and Mirror. Positioning the Poet in Hellenistic Poetry (Brill),

J.J.H.Klooster (2018) ‘Solon of Athens as a precedent for Plutarch’s authorial persona’, Mnemosyne 71.2, 247-264,

J.J.H.Klooster and I.N.I. Kuin (2020), After the Crisis. Remembrance, Re-anchoring and Recovery in ancient Greece and Rome, (Bloomsbury Academic).


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