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Quintus Ennius, often considered the father of Roman poetry, is best remembered for his epic poem, the Annals, a history of Rome from Aeneas until his own lifetime. Ennius represents an important bridge between Homer’s works in Greek and Virgil’s Aeneid. Jay Fisher argues that Ennius does not simply translate Homeric models into Latin, but blends Greek poetic models with Italic diction to produce a poetic hybrid. Fisher's investigation uncovers a poem that blends foreign and familiar cultural elements in order to generate layers of meaning for his Roman audience. Fisher combines modern linguistic methodologies with traditional philology in order to uncover the influence of the language of Roman ritual, kinship, and generalship on the Annals. Moreover, because these cultural practices are themselves hybrids of earlier Roman, Etruscan, and Greek cultural practices, not to mentionthe cultures of speakers of lesser-known languages such as Oscan and Umbrian, these echoes of cultural interactions also generated layers of meaning for Ennius, his ancient audience, and the modern readers of the fragments of the Annals.
Vol. 29 (1996) through current issue
This distinguished journal is known for publishing original literary and cultural studies of the ancient world that combine contemporary theoretical perspectives with traditional approaches to literary and material evidence. Arethusa introduced the world of classics to the application of new methods in literary theory, and continues to be an exciting venue for innovative and stimulating approaches.
Discussion in Twelfth-Century Byzantium
The author’s argument starts from a kind of literature that has not so far seemed important enough to be included in this new wave of publications on the literary and intellectual culture of the day. The study contends that Byzantium deserves its place in the broader development of Europe, even as it also reaches out to the vast territories of Anatolia and the Caucasus, and to the eastern Mediterranean. The long twelfth century from the seizure of the throne by Alexius I Comnenus in 1081 to the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204 is a period recognized as one of the most brilliant in Byzantine history in cultural terms, especially in terms of its literary production. The study focuses on the prose dialogues in Greek from this period—of very varying kinds—and on what they can tell us about the society and culture of the era when western Europe was itself developing a new culture of schools, universities, and scholars. Yet it was also one in which Byzantium felt the fateful impact of the Crusades, and which ended with the momentous sack of Constantinople in 1204. Despite revisionist attempts to play down the extent of this disaster, it was a blow from which arguably the Byzantines never fully recovered.
Archaic Lyric into Hellenistic Poetry
Arion's Lyre examines how Hellenistic poetic culture adapted, reinterpreted, and transformed Archaic Greek lyric through a complex process of textual, cultural, and creative reception. Looking at the ways in which the poetry of Sappho, Alcaeus, Ibycus, Anacreon, and Simonides was preserved, edited, and read by Hellenistic scholars and poets, the book shows that Archaic poets often look very different in the new social, cultural, and political setting of Hellenistic Alexandria. For example, the Alexandrian Sappho evolves from the singer of Archaic Lesbos but has distinct associations and contexts, from Ptolemaic politics and Macedonian queens to the new phenomenon of the poetry book and an Alexandrian scholarship intent on preservation and codification.
A study of Hellenistic poetic culture and an interpretation of some of the Archaic poets it so lovingly preserved, Arion's Lyre is also an examination of how one poetic culture reads another--and how modern readings of ancient poetry are filtered and shaped by earlier readings.
The comedies of Aristophanes are known not only for their boldly imaginative plots but for the ways in which they incorporate and orchestrate a wide variety of literary genres and speech styles. Unlike the writers of tragedy, who prefer a uniformly elevated tone, Aristophanes articulates his dramatic dialogue with striking literary and linguistic juxtapositions, producing a carnivalesque medley of genres that continually forces both audience and reader to readjust their perspectives. In this energetic and original study, Charles Platter interprets the complexities of Aristophanes' work through the lens of Mikhail Bakhtin's critical writing. This book charts a new course for Aristophanic comedy, taking its lead from the work of Bakhtin. Bakhtin describes the way multiple voices—vocabularies, tones, and styles of language originating in different social classes and contexts—appear and interact within literary texts. He argues that the dynamic quality of literature arises from the dialogic relations that exist among these voices. Although Bakhtin applied his theory primarily to the epic and the novel, Platter finds in his work profound implications for Aristophanic comedy, where stylistic heterogeneity is the genre's lifeblood.
Self-Censorship from Aristophanes to Hobbes
Throughout Western history, there have been those who felt compelled to share a dissenting opinion on public matters, while still hoping to avoid the social, political, and even criminal consequences for exercising free speech. In this collection of fourteen original essays, editors Han Baltussen and Peter J. Davis trace the roots of censorship far beyond its supposed origins in early modern history.
Beginning with the ancient Greek concept of parrhêsia, and its Roman equivalent libertas, the contributors to The Art of Veiled Speech examine lesser-known texts from historical periods, some famous for setting the benchmark for free speech, such as fifth-century Athens and republican Rome, and others for censorship, such as early imperial and late antique Rome. Medieval attempts to suppress heresy, the Spanish Inquisition, and the writings of Thomas Hobbes during the Reformation are among the examples chosen to illustrate an explicit link of cultural censorship across time, casting new light on a range of issues: Which circumstances and limits on free speech were in play? What did it mean for someone to "speak up" or "speak truth to authority"?
Drawing on poetry, history, drama, and moral and political philosophy the volume demonstrates the many ways that writers over the last 2500 years have used wordplay, innuendo, and other forms of veiled speech to conceal their subversive views, anticipating censorship and making efforts to get around it. The Art of Veiled Speech offers new insights into the ingenious methods of self-censorship to express controversial views, revealing that the human voice cannot be easily silenced.
Contributors: Pauline Allen, Han Baltussen, Megan Cassidy-Welch, Peter J. Davis, Andrew Hartwig, Gesine Manuwald, Bronwen Neil, Lara O'Sullivan, Jon Parkin, John Penwill, François Soyer, Marcus Wilson, Ioannis Ziogas