In this article I review eleven books published since 2010 that bring the ‘material turn’ to Classics. Some start from emic ancient perspectives on matter and materiality; others take their cue from current theoretical models such as those of the new materialisms. All offer new insights into our relationship with the material world, and consider the material object as active within different paradigms. In reviewing these important volumes together, I question entrenched boundaries: from those between (sub-)disciplines to those between human and nonhuman agents. I explore the material turn not as an isolated phenomenon, but first, as a cyclical ‘re’-turn, and secondly, as an integrated set of ideas incorporating (to name but a few strands) aesthetics, cognitive humanities, embodiment, affect, and the senses. The books reviewed range from literary studies to archaeology to art history to material culture to heritage. Taken together, they set new directions for Classics, and indeed for our thinking about our place in the world.
- material turn