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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.

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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.

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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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Odes

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The Odes of Horace

translated by Jeffrey H. Kaimowitz introduction by Ronnie Ancona

This groundbreaking new translation of Horace’s most widely read collection of poetry is rendered in modern, metrical English verse rather than the more common free verse found in many other translations. Jeffrey H. Kaimowitz adapts the Roman poet's rich and metrically varied poetry to English formal verse, reproducing the works in a way that maintains fidelity to the tone, timbre, and style of the originals while conforming to the rules of English prosody. Each poem is true to the sense and aesthetic pleasure of the Latin and carries with it the dignity, concision, and movement characteristic of Horace’s writing. Kaimowitz presents each translation with annotations, providing the context necessary for understanding and enjoying Horace's work. He also comments on textual instability and explains how he constructed his verse renditions to mirror Horatian Latin. Horace and The Odes are introduced in lively fashion by noted classicist Ronnie Ancona.

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Oedipus Rex

Sophocles

Oedipus Rex is the greatest of the Greek tragedies, a profound meditation on the human condition. The story of the mythological king, who is doomed to kill his father and marry his mother, has resonated in world culture for almost 2,500 years. But Sophocles’ drama as originally performed was much more than a great story—it was a superb poetic script and exciting theatrical experience. The actors spoke in pulsing rhythms with hypnotic forward momentum, making it hard for audiences to look away. Interspersed among the verbal rants and duels were energetic songs performed by the chorus.

            David Mulroy’s brilliant verse translation of Oedipus Rex recaptures the aesthetic power of Sophocles’ masterpiece while also achieving a highly accurate translation in clear, contemporary English. Speeches are rendered with the same kind of regular iambic rhythm that gave the Sophoclean originals their drive. The choral parts are translated as fluid rhymed songs. Mulroy also supplies an introduction, notes, and appendixes to provide helpful context for general readers and students.

 

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Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic

Claudia Baracchi

"Baracchi has identified pivotal points around which the Republic operates; this allows a reading of the entire text to unfold.... a very beautifully written book." -- Walter Brogan

"... a work that opens new and timely vistas within the Republic.... Her approach... is thorough and rigorous." -- John Sallis

Although Plato's Republic is perhaps the most influential text in the history of Western philosophy, Claudia Baracchi finds that the work remains obscure and enigmatic. To fully understand and appreciate its meaning, she argues, we must attend to what its original language discloses. Through a close reading of the Greek text, attentive to the pervasiveness of story and myth, Baracchi investigates the dialogue's major themes. The first part of the book addresses issues of generation, reproduction, and decay as they apply to the founding of Socrates' just city. The second part takes up the connection between war and the cycle of life, employing a thorough analysis of Plato's rendition of the myth of Er. Baracchi shows that the Republic is concerned throughout with the complex but intertwined issues of life and war, locating the site of this tangled web of growth and destruction in the mythical dimension of the Platonic city.

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Ovid before Exile

Art and Punishment in the Metamorphoses

Patricia J. Johnson

The epic Metamorphoses, Ovid’s most renowned work, has regained its stature among the masterpieces of great poets such as Vergil, Horace, and Tibullus. Yet its irreverent tone and bold defiance of generic boundaries set the Metamorphoses apart from its contemporaries. Ovid before Exile provides a compelling new reading of the epic, examining the text in light of circumstances surrounding the final years of Augustus’ reign, a time when a culture of poets and patrons was in sharp decline, discouraging and even endangering artistic freedom of expression.
    Patricia J. Johnson demonstrates how the production of art—specifically poetry—changed dramatically during the reign of Augustus. By Ovid’s final decade in Rome, the atmosphere for artistic work had transformed, leading to a drop in poetic production of quality. Johnson shows how Ovid, in the episodes of artistic creation that anchor his Metamorphoses, responded to his audience and commented on artistic circumstances in Rome.

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Pandora's Senses

The Feminine Character of the Ancient Text

Vered Lev Kenaan

The notorious image of Pandora haunts mythology: a woman created as punishment for the crimes of man, she is the bearer of hope yet also responsible for the Earth’s desolation. She binds together perpetuating dichotomies that underlie the most fundamental aspects of the Western canon:  beauty and evil, body and soul, depth and superficiality, truth and lie. Speaking in multiplicity, Pandora emerges as the first sign of female complexity.
     In this compelling study, Vered Lev Kenaan offers a radical revision of the Greek myth of the first woman. She argues that Pandora leaves a decisive mark on ancient poetics and shows that we can unravel the profound impact of Pandora’s image once we recognize that Pandora embodies the very idea of the ancient literary text. Locating the myth of the first woman right at the heart of feminist interrogation of gender and textuality, Pandora’s Senses moves beyond a feminist critique of masculine hegemony by challenging the reading of Pandora as a one-dimensional embodiment of the misogynist vision of the feminine. Uncovering Pandora as a textual principle operating outside of the feminine, Lev Kenaan shows the centrality of this iconic figure among the poetics of such central genres as the cosmological and didactic epic, the Platonic dialogue, the love elegy, and the ancient novel. Pandora’s Senses innovates our understanding of gender as a critical lens through which to view ancient literature.

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Perfidy and Passion

Reintroducing the Iliad

Mark Buchan

Homer’s Iliad is often considered a poem of blunt truthfulness, his characters’ motivation pleasingly simple. A closer look, however, reveals a complex interplay of characters who engage in an awful lot of lies. Beginning with Achilles, who hatches a secret plot to destroy his own people, Mark Buchan traces motifs of deception and betrayal throughout the poem. Homer’s heroes offer bluster, their passion linked to and explained by their lack of authenticity. Buchan reads Homer’s characters between the lies, showing how the plot is structured individual denial and what cannot be said.

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