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A Guide to Hellenistic Literature

ISBN: 978-0-470-76608-8
264 pages
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
A Guide to Hellenistic Literature (0470766085) cover image

Description

This book is a guide to the extraordinarily diverse literature of the Hellenistic period.
  • A guide to the literature of the Hellenistic age, from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE to the Battle of Actium in 31 BC
  • Provides overviews of the social, political, intellectual and literary historical contexts in which Hellenistic literature was produced
  • Introduces the major writers and genres of the period
  • Provides information about style, meter and languages to aid readers with no prior knowledge of the language in understanding technical aspects of literary Greek
  • Distinctive in its coverage of current issues in Hellenistic criticism, including audience reception, the political and social background, and Hellenistic theories of literature
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Table of Contents

List of Figures ix

List of Maps x

Preface xi

1 History and Culture 1

1.1 The Successors 2

1.2 Macedonia and Greece 4

1.3 Seleucid Asia 8

1.4 Attalid Pergamum 12

1.5 Ptolemaic Egypt 16

2 Aesthetics and Style 26

2.1 Aesthetic Principles 29

2.2 Meter, Dialect, and Diction 36

2.3 Literature as Artefact 43

3 Authors and Genres 50

3.1 Menander 50

3.2 Callimachus 60

3.3 Apollonius of Rhodes 74

3.4 Theocritus and the Other Bucolic Poets 84

3.5 Didactic Poetry 97

3.6 Epigrams 106

3.7 Dramatic Poetry 120

3.8 Parodic and Philosophical Literature 131

3.9 Polybius 144

3.10 Technical Prose Writing 154

4 Topics in Hellenistic Literature 168

4.1 Learning and Innovation 169

4.2 Book Culture and Performance 178

4.3 Social and Political Background 188

4.4 The Critical Impulse in Literature and Art 202

4.5 Reception in Rome 213

Notes 223

Chronological Tables 228

Suggested Reading 230

Bibliography 239

Index 251

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Author Information

Kathryn Gutzwiller is Professor of Classics at the University of Cincinnati. Her recent publications include Poetic Garlands: Hellenistic Epigrams in Context (1998) and The New Posidippus: A Hellenistic Poetry Book (edited, 2005). She is the winner of the American Philological Association’s Goodwin Award of Merit and has twice won the Gildersleeve Prize for the best article in the American Journal of Philology.
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The Wiley Advantage


  • A guide to the literature of the Hellenistic age, from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE to the Battle of Actium in 31 BC
  • Demonstrates the extraordinary diversity of Hellenistic literature, which ranges from the comedy of Menander and the epigrams of Callimachus to the great historical work of Polybius
  • Provides overviews of the social, political, intellectual and literary historical contexts in which Hellenistic literature was produced
  • Introduces the major writers and genres of the period
  • Provides information about style, meter and languages to aid readers with no prior knowledge of the language in understanding technical aspects of literary Greek
  • Distinctive in its coverage of current issues in Hellenistic criticism, including audience reception, the political and social background, and Hellenistic theories of literature.
See More

Reviews

"Kathryn Gutzwiller is a renowned and well-respected scholar, and her wide ranging publications have contributed greatly to the rise in scholarly estimation that the field now enjoys.  Accordingly a guide to the subject by such a knowledgeable and influential specialist is both a timely and welcome addition to the handbooks and companions to classical authors already available." (Journal of the Classical Association of Canada, Winter 2009)

"This book is likely to dispel more of the inherited prejudice against Hellenistic literature. The guide is rich in detail and succinct comments, yet very readable ... .Gutzwiller manages to give life (albeit brief in most cases) to the prominent writers of this period." (Scholia Reviews, 2009)

"Kathryn Gutzwiller's [Guide to Hellenistic Literature] is exceptionally good…Gutzwiller covers a lot of ground in not very much space, without the exposition ever appearing either skimpy or cramped, and gives a good sense of the breadth and diversity of Hellenistic literature (not just poetry), along with a basic understanding of the historical, social, and cultural context.  This is a model of the genre." (Greece and Rome, Vol 55 No. 2 2008)

"An up-to-date handbook on the literature of the period from the death of Alexander to the Roman conquest of Egypt -- something long needed in the field of Classics. As one of the leading scholars of Hellenistic poetry in North America, Gutzwiller has helped to shape the discourse of the critical issues in that field, and her presentation of poets and poetry in this guide is always well-informed and interesting. But what makes this guide so valuable to the classical community as a whole is the broad scope of the literature it presents … .Students of Greek literature, from undergraduates to specialists, will find interesting observations and connections throughout the guide. No Classicist should be without it. This guide consistently offers elegant proof of how modern discoveries and the application of critical theories have enriched our knowledge and appreciation of Hellenistic literature. Gutzwiller's guide expertly summarizes what we know about this period's literature, charts scholarly approaches to it, and should -- I hope -- help to plot the path for future research." (Bryn Mawr Classical Review, November 2008)

“Gutzwiller serves as an expert eyewitness to literature which is, at the least, complex even for classicists and, more often, wholly inaccessible to the non-scholarly reader. Like any travel guide, such a tour cannot replace what it describes, but is rather an invitation to visit the sites on one's own. More than any other book available today, [it] opens the door to this rich and exciting period of Greek literary history.” (New England Classical Literature)

“An internationally recognized authority, Gutzwiller offers an engaging and stimulating guide to the field. This elegant and useful guide has much to offer both new and long-standing readers of Hellenistic literature.” (Choice Magazine)

“Simply said, this is a superb book. It is fresh, readable, and liberated from the necessity of making a pronouncement on every tired, scholarly controversy. Instead it dares to take a wide view of Hellenistic literature that forges connections between poetry and politics, literature and art, and science with all of the foregoing. A better guide to the subject is impossible to imagine.”
Dee L. Clayman, City University of New York

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