Helen’s most recent edited volume, the Brill Companion to the Classics, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany (2018) has received another extremely favourable review in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR).
The reviewer, Natalie de Haan, writes:
“In the last two decades, a growing number of monographs, articles and conference proceedings dedicated to the use and abuse of the classical past have seen the light. This volume is a welcome addition to that body of work and offers fresh perspectives on the (mis)appropriation of the classical past by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.
One of the strengths of this companion is the inclusion of work by scholars from a wide variety of fields: cultural and modern historians, classicists, an ancient historian, a specialist in film history, an archaeologist, a philosopher and an architectural historian. The editors themselves reflect this balance as well… The result is a companion that “aims to present the reader with a smorgasbord of varied case studies, each of which can arguably offer a unique perspective on the matter in hand” (p. 17), an objective that is fully met.
The sixteen chapters by fourteen contributors are all well-written, relevant and carefully edited. Some offer useful overviews of broader themes (e.g. the fine chapters by Nelis and Arthurs), whereas other contributions discuss more specific topics in detail (e.g. interesting chapters by Wildmann, Piovan, and Porter)…
In her excellent Introduction Roche offers a balanced overview of recent research, with the valid observation that until recently scholars working on fascism tended to neglect the appropriation of the classical past in Germany and Italy. These appropriations were much more than mere window-dressing, not least because in many instances such uses of the classical past were bottom-up phenomena, reflecting the totalitarian grip upon all levels of society achieved by the Fascist and Nazi regimes. Indeed, many intellectuals working in academia, education, public administration, or the cultural world at large in Italy and Germany were not forced to appropriate classical antiquity for contemporary agendas, but rather appear to have felt the need to do so themselves…”