A broad consideration of the ways in which writers and artists from the early modern era to the present day have responded to the classical tradition, borrowing from, imitating, questioning, and challenging their classical predecessors. Through modern reworkings of ancient epic, tragedy, biography, and lyric by authors ranging from Shakespeare and Racine to contemporary poets, painters, and filmmakers, we will ask what the terms “classical” and “tradition” might mean and will track the continuities and differences between antiquity and the modern world. Should we see ancient Greek and Roman culture as an “inheritance,” a valuable source of wealth bequeathed to the modern age? Or is there something wrong with that picture? How do ancient texts have to be adapted and transformed if they are to speak to modern conditions and concerns? This is an introductory-level course open to anyone who cares about the relationship between the present and the past.