The Ancient Critic at Work: Terms and Concepts of Literary Criticism in Greek Scholia

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The large but underrated corpus of Greek scholia, the marginal and interlinear notes found in manuscripts, is a very important source for ancient literary criticism. The evidence of the scholia significantly adds to and enhances the picture that can be gained from studying the relevant treatises (such as Aristotle's Poetics): scholia also contain concepts that are not found in the treatises, and they are indicative of how the concepts are actually put to use in the progressive interpretation of texts. This book also demonstrates that it is vital to study both ancient terminology and the cases where a particular phenomenon is simply paraphrased. Nineteen thematic chapters provide a repertoire of the various terms and concepts of ancient literary criticism. The relevant witnesses are extensively quoted in Greek and English translation. A glossary of Greek terms (with translation) and several indices enable the book also to be used for reference.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Using the notes (scholia) of ancient (and mostly anonymous) scholars on the works of a number of Greek authors, Nünlist (Brown Univ.) examines what might be termed 'ancient literary criticism in action.'...The result is fascinating and useful. Fascinating, because the author presents the material through the eyes of the ancient scholars, this allowing the reader to see how they read and what they thought most in need of defense, explanation, praise, and censure. Useful because Nünlist translates all the Greek he cites and equips the work with an extensive glossary of Greek literary-critical terms and exemplary indexes. The book will thus appeal to both scholars working on the topic and anyone interested in ancient literary criticism."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521850582
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/31/2009
  • Pages: 458
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

René Nünlist is Associate Professor of Classics at Brown University, Rhode Island. Publications include Poetologische Bildersprache in der frühgriechischen Dichtung (1998), and a new co-edited commentary in German on Homer's Iliad.

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Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I: 1. Plot; 2. Time; 3. Narrative and speech; 4. Focalisation; 5. Effects on the reader; 6. Gaps and omissions; 7. Poetic licence; 8. Authentication; 9. Style; 10. Allusions, hints, hidden meanings; 11. Characters; 12. Mythography; Part II: 13. The gods in Homer; 14. Homeric similes; 15. Epithets; 16. Type scenes; 17. Homeric speeches; 18. Reverse order; 19. Staging, performance and dramaturgy; Epilogue; Glossary of Greek terms.
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