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a cultural term used in a variety of disciplines.

Originally “classic” was applied to the first order or “class,” the highest of the five census categories into which the citizens of ancient Rome were traditionally divided. Cicero was the first to use the word in the metaphoric sense of “elite.” It was first applied to literature by Aulus Gellius in the second century. Humanists of the Renaissance considered all the ancient writers, painters, sculptors, and architects to have been the “chosen” in literature and art and called them classics. The classicists used the words “classics” and “classical” in the same sense, applying it also to the contemporary artists working in the classical style.

The science based upon reading and explaining works of the authors of antiquity was given the name “classical philology” in the 17th and 18th centuries. During the Renaissance, a type of general secondary schooling developed that stressed the study of Latin and Greek—the “classical” languages—and antique, “classical” literature: this was called classical education. A special system of choreography, classical dance, with its own means of expression, emerged in the same period.

This was also the time when the idea of classics and classical as the best, the perfect, the ideal, the first of its kind, came into widespread use. Thus all the outstanding masters of literature and art whose work had lasting value not only for national but also for world culture were called classics—for example, Shakespeare, Raphael, Goethe, Mozart, Beethoven, Pushkin, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky. Classical art refers not only to the work of the ancient Greek classical artists (fifth-fourth century B.C.) or the High Renaissance of the late 15th and early 16th centuries, to which this term has been traditionally applied, but also to the art of particularly fruitful periods in the culture of a country, such as the classical literature of the eighth century in China or the classical opera of the 19th century in Russia.

Yet another semantic nuance is appropriate for the broad interpretation of the term; classics are the demonstrative, the characteristic, the representative, the typical. Thus, reference may be made to the “classical French novel of the 19th century,” meaning the realistic works of Stendhal, Balzac, or Flaubert, which determined the style of the epoch. The “classical Viennese operettas” will include the works of J. Strauss the Younger, F. Lehar, and I. Kalman. It is in this sense that the terms “classical manner” and “classical tradition” are used.

The adjective “classical” is frequently used as a synonym of “mature” and “complete.” Thus in his work Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Marx directly identified the “full maturity” of the historical process with the “classical form” of the latter (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 13, p. 497). This interpretation also applies to such terms as “classical German philosophy,” “classical bourgeois political economy,” and the “classical school of criminal law.” The term “classical natural science” describes the level of scientific knowledge of nature (general principles, system of views, methods of investigation) before the scientific revolution of the 20th century, especially in those fields where basic concepts have since changed radically, for instance, classical mechanics or classical physics.

The term “classical,” apart from rendering the idea of “prototype” and of a perfect creation, can also contain the idea of the original, the programmatic, the pioneering. In this sense, phrases like “the classics of Marxism-Leninism” (Marx, Engels, and Lenin) or “the classics of natural science” (Newton, Darwin, Mendeleev, Pavlov, and Einstein) are used.


References in periodicals archive ?
The book is, however, also an introduction to narratology for classicists, providing a survey of major narratological concepts with illustrations.
Even more revisionist is the Dutch classicist Charles Hupperts, whose work on this subject (notably his three-volume doctoral dissertation at the University of Amsterdam followed by a popular book) will, I hope, soon be translated into English.
Although the researchers held similar philosophies, classicist (content-focused), and humanist (person-centered), the teachers were more diverse in their overall philosophical approach.
It has to be outed, I am not going to be terrorised" - TV historian and classicist Mary Beard who identified a Twitter "troll" who abused her on line.
This gives readers an insight into a not unimportant part of twentieth century English life and an understanding of a man who remained, at heart, an Edwardian classicist in an age that was not Edwardian and cared nothing for the Classics.
Trained as a classicist, Elo uses the components of ballet vocabulary, including pointe work, with skill, and he knows how to challenge dancers.
That's sort of what we're about, I'm the more classicist of the team and Frank is more of a modernist, so in our projects, we blend those two ideas to varying degrees.
The ultimate classicist, he romanticized youth; an icon of maturity, he exalted childhood play.
Indeed, Guy-Bray proves himself a capable classicist in the first two chapters, on the eclogues and on the "persistence of elegy" in the Aeneid.
Fallon then looked to gain compensation in the nine-furlong maiden but Moarban, like Mr Spa trained by Allan Smith, could never quite get on terms as victory went to Willie Supple on Classicist.
These classicist critics should get off their high horses.
Don't go to French classicist Jean-Pierre Vernant for a comprehensive account of all the Greek myths.