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Mail and Female Cover

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Mail and Female

Epistolary Narrative and Desire in Ovid's Heroides

Sara H. Lindheim

    In the Heroides, the Roman poet Ovid wittily plucks fifteen abandoned heroines from ancient myth and literature and creates the fiction that each woman writes a letter to the hero who left her behind. But in giving voice to these heroines, is Ovid writing like a woman, or writing "Woman" like a man?
    Using feminist and psychoanalytic approaches to examine the "female voice" in the Heroides, Sara H. Lindheim closely reads these fictive letters in which the women seemingly tell their own stories. She points out that in Ovid’s verse epistles all the women represent themselves in a strikingly similar and disjointed fashion. Lindheim turns to Lacanian theory of desire to explain these curious and hauntingly repetitive representations of the heroines in the "female voice." Lindheim’s approach illuminates what these poems reveal about both masculine and feminine constructions of the feminine

The Matter of the Page Cover

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The Matter of the Page

Essays in Search of Ancient and Medieval Authors

Shane Butler

Ancient and medieval literary texts often call attention to their existence as physical objects. Shane Butler helps us to understand why. Arguing that writing has always been as much a material struggle as an intellectual one, The Matter of the Page offers timely lessons for the digital age about how creativity works and why literature moves us.
    Butler begins with some considerations about the materiality of the literary text, both as a process (the draft) and a product (the book), and he traces the curious history of “the page” from scroll to manuscript codex to printed book and beyond. He then offers a series of unforgettable portraits of authors at work: Thucydides struggling to describe his own diseased body; Vergil ready to burn an epic poem he could not finish; Lucretius wrestling with words even as he fights the madness that will drive him to suicide; Cicero mesmerized by the thought of erasing his entire career; Seneca plumbing the depths of the soul in the wax of his tablets; and Dhuoda, who sees the book she writes as a door, a tunnel, a womb. Butler reveals how the work of writing transformed each of these authors into his or her own first reader, and he explains what this metamorphosis teaches us about how we too should read.
    All Greek and Latin quotations are translated into English and technical matters are carefully explained for general readers, with scholarly details in the notes.

Médée protéiforme Cover

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Médée protéiforme

Marie Carrière

Le mythe de l’infanticide Médée a toujours connu une fortune littéraire et la littérature féminine contemporaine ne fait pas exception. L’analyse comparée de huit textes de femmes de divers horizons tente de cerner les enjeux de cette figure irréductible pour une pensée féministe actuelle sur la maternité, le sujet et l’écriture mythique.

En s’interrogeant sur la pertinence particulière de la tragédie d’Euripide aux reprises médéennes, explicites ou sous-entendues, des femmes, cette étude comparée se penche sur des textes du théâtre de Marie Cardinal, de Deborah Porter, de Franca Rame et de Cherríe Moraga, et des romans de Monique Bosco, de Christa Wolf, de Bessora et de Marie-Célie Agnant. À travers ses incarnations transculturelles, le mythe de Médée éclaire les affres de l’exil et de l’exclusion, ainsi que certaines visions du maternel qui préféreraient peut-être rester dans l’ombre de nos présuppositions et de nos règles sociales. Bien qu’il n’y ait pas plus monstrueux ou fou que l’acte infanticide, Médée, elle, n’est pas monstre, pas folle, mais lucide, humaine à part entière, comme la voulait Euripide, alors qu’elle s’en prend à ses enfants, à la culture défectueuse, à l’histoire des hommes. La réécriture au féminin de Médée force aussi une conception du sujet qui ne revêt pas facilement sa cohérence. Mais la poétique même de cette Médée retranscrite au féminin fait preuve de sa flexibilité, son indétermination, son pouvoir de transcender la simple répétition de son mythe, vu ici autrement et différemment.

Medieval Poetics and Social Practice Cover

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Medieval Poetics and Social Practice

Responding to the Work of Penn R. Szittya

Seeta Chaganti

This collection responds to the critical legacy of Penn R. Szittya, the recently retired former chair of Georgetown University's English Department. Inspired by Georgetown's Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice and its statement that poetry "traverses the fields of aesthetic, social, political, and religious thought," this work investigates how medieval poetic language reflects and also shapes social, political, and religious worlds. At a moment in contemporary culture when poetry finds its value increasingly challenged, Medieval Poetics and Social Practice looks to the late Middle Ages to assert the indispensability of poetry and poetics in the formation of social structures, actions, and utterances. The contributors offer new readings of canonical late-medieval English poetic texts, such as Langland's Piers Plowman and Chaucer's Parliament of Fowls, and, of equal importance, explore texts that have hitherto not held a central place in criticism but make important contributions to the literary culture of the period. Introduced by Seeta Chaganti, the collection includes essays by Richard K. Emmerson, J. Patrick Hornbeck, John C. Hirsh, Moira Fitzgibbons, John T. Sebastian, Nicholas R. Havely, Kara Doyle, Anne Middleton, Jo Ann Moran Cruz, and Mark McMorris.

Metamorphoses Cover

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Metamorphoses

Translated by Rolfe Humphries. Ovid

"The Metamorphoses of Ovid offers to the modern world such a key to the literary and religious culture of the ancients that it becomes an important event when at last a good poet comes up with a translation into English verse." —John Crowe Ransom

"... a charming and expert English version, which is right in tone for the Metamorphoses." —Francis Fergusson

"This new Ovid, fresh and faithful, is right for our time and should help to restore a great reputation." —Mark Van Doren

The first and still the best modern verse translation of the Metamorphoses, Humphries’ version of Ovid’s masterpiece captures its wit, merriment, and sophistication.

Everyone will enjoy this first modern translation by an American poet of Ovid’s great work, the major treasury of classical mythology, which has perennially stimulated the minds of men. In this lively rendering there are no stock props of the pastoral and no literary landscaping, but real food on the table and sometimes real blood on the ground.

Not only is Ovid’s Metamorphoses a collection of all the myths of the time of the Roman poet as he knew them, but the book presents at the same time a series of love poems—about the loves of men, women, and the gods. There are also poems of hate, to give the proper shading to the narrative. And pervading all is the writer’s love for this earth, its people, its phenomena.

Using ten-beat, unrhymed lines in his translation, Rolfe Humphries shows a definite kinship for Ovid’s swift and colloquial language and Humphries’ whole poetic manner is in tune with the wit and sophistication of the Roman poet.

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The Modern Construction of Myth

Andrew Von Hendy

"... one of the richest, clearest, and acutest surveys to date of the course of theorizing about myth from the eighteenth century on. I know of no more useful volume on the topic. Despite the postmodern connotations of the title, Von Hendy is writing not to expose the concept of myth but simply to show the array of ways in which it has been used from time to time and from place to place. A superb work." -- Robert A. Segal,
University of Lancaster,
author of Theorizing about Myth

Andrew Von Hendy offers an integrated critical account of the career of myth in modernity. He takes as its starting point some crucial moments in the 18th-century reinvention of the concept and then follows the major branches of theorizing as they appear in the work of theologians, philosophers, literary artists, political thinkers, folklorists, anthropologists, psychologists, and others.

Von Hendy pursues each of these four fundamental strains of theory through the 20th century: the rise of neo-romantic theories in depth psychology, modernist literature, and later in religious phenomenology, philosophy, and literary criticism; the establishment of folkloristic theory in ethnological fieldwork and in classical studies; the growth of ideological theories from Sorel to Barthes and Derrida; and the recent ascent of constitutive theories of myth as necessary fiction. Finally, Von Hendy examines the work of five theorists who attempt to come to terms with the lessons of the ideological critique, yet regard myth as a constructive phenomenon.

Modes of Viewing in Hellenistic Poetry and Art Cover

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Modes of Viewing in Hellenistic Poetry and Art

And Art

Graham Zanker

Taking a fresh look at the poetry and visual art of the Hellenistic age, from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. to the Romans’ defeat of Cleopatra in 30 B.C., Graham Zanker makes enlightening discoveries about the assumptions and conventions of Hellenistic poets and artists and their audiences.
    Zanker’s exciting new interpretations closely compare poetry and art for the light each sheds on the other. He finds, for example, an exuberant expansion of subject matter in the Hellenistic periods in both literature and art, as styles and iconographic traditions reserved for grander concepts in earlier eras were applied to themes, motifs, and subjects that were emphatically less grand.

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Mouseion: Journal of the Classical Association of Canada

Vol. 7 (2007) through current issue

Mouseion aims to be a distinctively comprehensive Canadian journal of Classical Studies, publishing articles and reviews in both French and English. One issue annually is normally devoted to archaeological topics, including field reports, finds analysis, and the history of art in antiquity. The other two issues focus on all other areas of Greek and Roman antiquity, including literature, history, philosophy, religion, and reception studies.

New Literary Papyri from the Michigan Collection Cover

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New Literary Papyri from the Michigan Collection

Mythographic Lyric and a Catalogue of Poetic First Lines

Cassandra Borges

New texts from Greek antiquity continue to emerge on scraps of papyrus from the sands of Egypt, not only adding to the surviving corpus of classical and Hellenistic literature, but also occasionally offering a glimpse into how these poems were studied in antiquity. New Literary Papyri from the Michigan Collection: Mythographic Lyric and a Catalogue of Poetic First Lines presents three such new texts: an innovative lyric poem on the Trojan cycle, a scholarly anthology of lyric verses, and a brief but enigmatic third text. Cassandra Borges and C. Michael Sampson offer the original Greek text of these pieces, along with their scholarly commentary, analyzing their features in a variety of contexts—historical, cultural, poetic, mythological, religious, and scholarly. The fragments collected here are of considerable antiquity (late third to second century BCE) a fact that is significant inasmuch as it places them among the oldest Greek papyri, but all the more so because in this period, a scholarly community was thriving in Ptolemaic Alexandria, the political and cultural capital of Hellenistic Egypt. The fragments bear witness to that scholarly activity: not only is their anthology of poetic verses consistent with other scholarly selections, but the very survival of these texts may well be at least partially indebted to the work of the Alexandrians in studying and propagating Greek literature in Egypt. This edition supplements the 1970s work of Reinhold Merkelbach and Denys Page. Recent digitizing for the APIS project revealed a previously unsuspected join with other material, however, which alone warrants a new, comprehensive edition and analysis.

Nox Philologiae Cover

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Nox Philologiae

Aulus Gellius and the Fantasy of the Roman Library

Erik Gunderson

In this strikingly original and playful work, Erik Gunderson examines questions of reading the past—an enterprise extending from antiquity to the present day. This esoteric and original study focuses on the equally singular work of Aulus Gellius—a Roman author and grammarian (ca. 120-180 A.D.), possibly of African origin. Gellius’s only work, the twenty-volume Noctes Atticae,is an exploding, sometimes seemingly random text-cum-diary in which Gellius jotted down everything of interest he heard in conversation or read in contemporary books. Comprising notes on Roman and classical grammar, geometry, philosophy, and history, it is a one-work overview of Latin scholarship, thought, and intellectual culture, a combination condensed library and cabinet of curiosities.
            Gunderson tackles Gellius with exuberance, placing him in the larger culture of antiquarian literature. Purposely echoing Gellius’s own swooping word-play and digressions, he explores the techniques by which knowledge was produced and consumed in Gellius’s day, as well as in our own time. The resulting book is as much pure creative fun as it is a major work of scholarship informed by the theories of Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Jacques Derrida.

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