Joan Palevsky Imprint in Classical Literature

Published by: University of California Press

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Interpreting a Classic

Demosthenes and His Ancient Commentators

Craig A. Gibson

Demosthenes (384-322 b.c.) was an Athenian statesman and a widely read author whose life, times, and rhetorical abilities captivated the minds of generations. Sifting through the rubble of a mostly lost tradition of ancient scholarship, Craig A. Gibson tells the story of how one group of ancient scholars helped their readers understand this man's writings. This book collects for the first time, translates, and offers explanatory notes on all the substantial fragments of ancient philological and historical commentaries on Demosthenes. Using these texts to illuminate an important aspect of Graeco-Roman antiquity that has hitherto been difficult to glimpse, Gibson gives a detailed portrait of a scholarly industry that touched generations of ancient readers from the first century b.c. to the fifth century and beyond.

In this lucidly organized work, Gibson surveys the physical form of the commentaries, traces the history of how they were passed down, and explains their sources, interests, and readership. He also includes a complete collection of Greek texts, English translations, and detailed notes on the commentaries.

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Learned Girls and Male Persuasion

Gender and Reading in Roman Love Elegy

Sharon Lynn James

This study transforms our understanding of Roman love elegy, an important and complex corpus of poetry that flourished in the late first century b.c.e. Sharon L. James reads key poems by Propertius, Tibullus, and Ovid for the first time from the perspective of the woman to whom they are addressed—the docta puella, or learned girl, the poet's beloved. By interpreting the poetry not, as has always been done, from the stance of the elite male writers—as plaint and confession—but rather from the viewpoint of the women—thus as persuasion and attempted manipulation—James reveals strategies and substance that no one has listened for before.

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Thucydides’ War Narrative

A Structural Study

Carolyn Dewald

As a sustained analysis of the connections between narrative structure and meaning in the History of the Peloponnesian War, Carolyn Dewald's study revolves around a curious aspect of Thucydides' work: the first ten years of the war's history are formed on principles quite different from those shaping the years that follow. Although aspects of this change in style have been recognized in previous scholarship, Dewald has rigorously analyzed how its various elements are structured, used, and related to each other. Her study argues that these changes in style and organization reflect how Thucydides' own understanding of the war changed over time. Throughout, however, the History's narrative structure bears witness to Thucydides' dialogic efforts to depict the complexities of rational choice and behavior on the part of the war's combatants, as well as his own authorial interest in accuracy of representation.

In her introduction and conclusion, Dewald explores some ways in which details of style and narrative structure are central to the larger theoretical issue of history's ability to meaningfully represent the past. She also surveys changes in historiography in the past quarter-century and considers how Thucydidean scholarship has reflected and responded to larger cultural trends.

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