Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Versions or portions of this book’s individual chapters have been heard by the following audiences, who are thanked collectively for their corrections and suggestions: Seminar on the History of Material Texts, University of Pennsylvania (introduction, chapters 1 and 6); Classics Colloquium, Bryn Mawr College (chapter 3); Department of Classics, UCLA (chapter 3); Classics Colloquium, ...

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Introduction: Presenting the Author

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pp. 3-12

More than four decades have now passed since Roland Barthes announced “The Death of the Author.”1 Others had anticipated this obituary, and many have repeated it, although precise emphases have varied: authorial intent is unrecoverable or irrelevant; meaning is constituted by readers, or by communities thereof; the literary text is an instantiation of the social text; any of a number of ...

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The Backward Glance

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pp. 13-27

Of all the turning points in the history of poetry, the most important lies just below the surface of the earth, almost at the end of the steep climb up from Hell. This is the spot where Orpheus ignored the terms imposed upon him and looked over his shoulder at the wife he had just won back from death ...

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Myself Sick

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pp. 28-36

Let us imagine a Byzantine grammarian blessed with a fine classical library, one lined with many works we know, but with just as many now lost to us. From these he draws the citations that fill his learned treatises on ancient language and style. In the course of one such study, he offers a discussion of the ...

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Latin Decomposition

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pp. 37-62

There is much here that could be said to be scandalous: sex, drugs, madness, suicide. And yet it is a seemingly drab bibliographical note—quos postea Cicero emendavit—which has caused Lucretian scholars the most unease. Karl Lachmann avoids the nightmarish possibility of philosophical tinkering with the ...

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The Erasable Cicero

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pp. 63-74

The summer of 59 BC found Cicero in his forty-eighth year and Rome in a state of high anxiety. This was the first summer of the so-called First Triumvirate, and Roman wits had begun to date their documents “in the year in which Julius and Caesar were consuls.”1 Cicero’s letters for that year to his dear ...

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The Surface of the Page

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pp. 75-86

Is the page flat? Our first impulse is to say yes, else it would not be a page. But to peer closely, even at the finest paper, parchment, or papyrus, is to find the strands and pores and fibers that give every page both the texture and the depth into which the ink must sink without penetrating. And the fact that the page is ...

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The Folded Page

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pp. 87-105

In a famous medieval illuminated manuscript known as the Codex Aureus of St. Emmeram, the beginning of the Gospel of John is illustrated, on the facing page, with the somewhat uncanny image of the hand of God.1 Again and again one can close the book and then reopen it, lifting the hand from the elaborately ...

Notes

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pp. 107-135

Bibliography

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pp. 137-145

Index

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pp. 147-152

Index Locorum

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pp. 153-158