Website review: David Allsop Classics

Sometimes you need to bring yourself up to speed on an unfamiliar topic quickly (presentations, survey classes, comps — just kidding on the last one). This series of posts will highlight online tools that offer a superficial overview of material, plus pointers for next directions.

I spend more time fruitlessly searching Google than I’d like. It’s mainly for images, but sometimes I also want a text that’s not covered in the usual repositories. There are pros and cons to this habit; the cons are, of course, that I waste a lot of time, and the pros are that I come across hidden gems of the internet. Today’s post focuses on one of those gems.

David Allsop Classics is a blog written by a current MA student in Classics. He posts some quick takes, but also all of his MA-level work. What this means for you: you have access to free research (usually based on the Loeb translations of ancient sources and modern scholarship in English). Most modern scholarship is treated with a brief overview of the argument. Also, most posts have images, and these are excellent: high-quality and crisp.

What does this mean for you? Well, this depends on your level of study. If you are

  • an undergrad: this site should be aspirational, in a few different ways. First of all, this is academic writing, with arguments and citations — and it is written clearly. Better to be clear than to be impressively (and spectactularly) malapropic. You can also use this site to get an idea of how many sources a longer research paper ought to use at your level. I’d classify his use of sources as impressive for third-year undergraduates and up. First- and second-years, you’re off the hook here: you’re still learning how to research. Finally, Allsop offers a starting point for your own research. Because his materials are in English and most are easily accessible from an academic library (vis JSTOR or major publishers like OUP, Routledge, etc.), you can find his sources, read them, and engage in academic conversation. (NB: you probably shouldn’t cite the site, except as a starting point. This is not a peer-reviewed source.)
  • an MA student: this site offers an interesting example of being a public classicist. If you’ve been thinking about blogging, here’s one example where original ideas (such as your MA thesis) are largely left alone. There’s little risk involved, except in taking away from your studies. Every comment about upper-year undergrads also applies to you, although I’d suggest that an MA student should be looking at his/her sources philologically as well. If you haven’t read large chunks of Greek and Latin yet (most MA students haven’t), you’ll be surprised by what you notice when you spend a few hours or days focusing on the original. Trust me: it’s one of the pleasures of advanced research.
  • a PhD student: everything said about the MA students applies to you, and then some. As a doctoral student, you may be asked to teach or TA classes that are out of your subject area. Because Allsop offers a variety of topics, you might find that he’s done some legwork for you, with books to read and potentially class discussions to plan rising from his short essays. If nothing else, I’ll again stress images: these are powerpoint-quality.
  • faculty: aside from teaching, this site probably won’t be very helpful. The scholarship is solid but basic — as you’d expect from an MA student! (I’m in no way trying to criticize the author. I think the site is really useful. Just not for faculty research.) But the bibliographies offer an idea of what’s accessible, both physically and academically, to advanced students, and images are powerpointable. If you have students who are confused about how to clarify their academic writing, these essays also offer examples.

So, what do you think? Did we forget anything? Would you like us to review more of our favorite sites? As we move into summer, posting will become more sporadic — if you have a burning topic that you want to cover/see covered, let us know!


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Website review: David Allsop Classics by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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