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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.
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.
A Comparative Study of Greek Tragedy and No
By means of a cross-cultural analysis of selected examples of early Japanese and early Greek drama, Mae Smethurst enhances our appreciation of each form. While using the methods of a classicist to increase our understanding of no as literary texts, she also demonstrates that the fifteenth-century treatises of Zeami--an important playwright, actor, critic, and teacher of no--offer fresh insight into Aeschylus' use of actors, language, and various elements of stage presentation.
Relatively little documentation apart from the texts of the plays is available for the Greek theater of the fifth century B.C., but Smethurst uses documentation on no, and evidence from no performances today, to suggest how presentations of the Persians could have been so successful despite the play's lack of dramatic confrontation. Aeschylean theater resembles that of Zeami in creating its powerful emotional and aesthetic effect through a coherent organization of structural elements. Both playwrights used such methods as the gradual intensification of rhythmic and musical effects, an increase in the number and complexity of the actors' movements, and a progressive focusing of attention on the main actors and on costumes, masks, and props during the course of the play.
Originally published in 1989.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
The One about the Asses
Asses, asses, and more asses! This new edition of Plautus' rumbustious comedy provides the complete original Latin text, witty scholarly commentary, and an English translation that both complements and explicates Plautus' original style. John Henderson reveals this play as a key to Roman social relations centered on many kinds of slavery: to sex, money, and family structure; to masculinity and social standing; to senility and partying; and to jokes, lies, and idiocy. The translation remains faithful to Plautus' syllabic style for reading aloud, as well as to his humorous colloquialisms and wordplay, providing readers with a comfortable affinity to Plautus himself. An indispensable teaching and learning tool for the study of Roman New Comedy, this edition includes comprehensive commentary, useful indexes, and a pronunciation guide that will help readers of all levels understand and appreciate Plautus and his era.
In this brief and incisive book, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Garry Wills tells the story of the Confessions--what motivated Augustine to dictate it, how it asks to be read, and the many ways it has been misread in the one-and-a-half millennia since it was composed. Following Wills's biography of Augustine and his translation of the Confessions, this is an unparalleled introduction to one of the most important books in the Christian and Western traditions.
Understandably fascinated by the story of Augustine's life, modern readers have largely succumbed to the temptation to read the Confessions as autobiography. But, Wills argues, this is a mistake. The book is not autobiography but rather a long prayer, suffused with the language of Scripture and addressed to God, not man. Augustine tells the story of his life not for its own significance but in order to discern how, as a drama of sin and salvation leading to God, it fits into sacred history. "We have to read Augustine as we do Dante," Wills writes, "alert to rich layer upon layer of Scriptural and theological symbolism." Wills also addresses the long afterlife of the book, from controversy in its own time and relative neglect during the Middle Ages to a renewed prominence beginning in the fourteenth century and persisting to today, when the Confessions has become an object of interest not just for Christians but also historians, philosophers, psychiatrists, and literary critics.
With unmatched clarity and skill, Wills strips away the centuries of misunderstanding that have accumulated around Augustine's spiritual classic.
Ancient Readers at the Limits of Their Texts
Nearly all of us have studied poetry and been taught to look for the symbolic as well as literal meaning of the text. Is this the way the ancients saw poetry? In Birth of the Symbol, Peter Struck explores the ancient Greek literary critics and theorists who invented the idea of the poetic "symbol."
The book notes that Aristotle and his followers did not discuss the use of poetic symbolism. Rather, a different group of Greek thinkers--the allegorists--were the first to develop the notion. Struck extensively revisits the work of the great allegorists, which has been underappreciated. He links their interest in symbolism to the importance of divination and magic in ancient times, and he demonstrates how important symbolism became when they thought about religion and philosophy. "They see the whole of great poetic language as deeply figurative," he writes, "with the potential always, even in the most mundane details, to be freighted with hidden messages."
Birth of the Symbol offers a new understanding of the role of poetry in the life of ideas in ancient Greece. Moreover, it demonstrates a connection between the way we understand poetry and the way it was understood by important thinkers in ancient times.