Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome

Overview


Classicists have been slow to take advantage of the important advances in the way that literacy is viewed in other disciplines (including in particular cognitive psychology, socio-linguistics, and socio-anthropology). On the other hand, historians of literacy continue to rely on outdated work by classicists (mostly from the 1960's and 1970's) and have little access to the current reexamination of the ancient evidence. This timely volume attempts to formulate new interesting ways of talking about the entire ...
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Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome

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Overview


Classicists have been slow to take advantage of the important advances in the way that literacy is viewed in other disciplines (including in particular cognitive psychology, socio-linguistics, and socio-anthropology). On the other hand, historians of literacy continue to rely on outdated work by classicists (mostly from the 1960's and 1970's) and have little access to the current reexamination of the ancient evidence. This timely volume attempts to formulate new interesting ways of talking about the entire concept of literacy in the ancient world--literacy not in the sense of whether 10% or 30% of people in the ancient world could read or write, but in the sense of text-oriented events embedded in a particular socio-cultural context. The volume is intended as a forum in which selected leading scholars rethink from the ground up how students of classical antiquity might best approach the question of literacy in the past, and how that investigation might materially intersect with changes in the way that literacy is now viewed in other disciplines. The result will give readers new ways of thinking about specific elements of "literacy" in antiquity, such as the nature of personal libraries, or what it means to be a bookseller in antiquity; new constructionist questions, such as what constitutes reading communities and how they fashion themselves; new takes on the public sphere, such as how literacy intersects with commercialism, or with the use of public spaces, or with the construction of civic identity; new essentialist questions, such as what "book" and "reading" signify in antiquity, why literate cultures develop, or why literate cultures matter. The book derives from a conference (a Semple Symposium held in Cincinnati in April 2006) and includes new work from the most outstanding scholars of literacy in antiquity (e.g., Simon Goldhill, Joseph Farrell, Peter White, and Rosalind Thomas).
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Wide-ranging collection, which contains many fascinating contributions." --Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199793983
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 6/8/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

William A. Johnson is Associate Professor of Classics, University of Cincinnati.
Holt Parker is Associate Professor of Classics, University of Cincinnati.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Abbreviations
List of Contributors
1. Introduction
PART I Situating Literacies
2. Writing, Reading, Public and Private "Literacies": Functional Literacy and Democratic Literacy in Greece
3. Literacy or Literacies in Ancient Rome?
4. Reading, Hearing, and Looking at Ephesos
5. The Anecdote: Exploring the Boundaries between Oral and Literate Performance in the Second Sophistic
6. Situating Literacy at Rome
PART II Books and Texts
7. The Corrupted Boy and the Crowned Poet or the Material Reality and the Symbolic Status of the Literary Book at Rome
8. The Impermanent Text in Catullus and Other Roman Poets
9. Books and Reading Latin Poetry
PART III Institutions and Communities
10. Papyrological Evidence for Book Collections and Libraries in the Roman Empire
11. Bookshops in the Literary Culture of Rome
12. Literary Literacy in Roman Pompeii: the Case of Virgil's Aeneid
13. Constructing Elite Reading Communities in the High Empire
PART IV Bibliographical Essay
14. Literacy Studies in Classics: The Last Twenty Years
PART V Epilogue
15. Why Literacy Matters, Then and Now (May 30, 2006)
Index locorum
General Index

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