Pliny's Encyclopedia: The Reception of the Natural History

Pliny's Encyclopedia: The Reception of the Natural History

by Aude Doody


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The Elder Pliny's Natural History is one of the largest and most extraordinary works to survive from antiquity. It has often been referred to as an encyclopedia, usually without full awareness of what such a characterisation implies. In this book, Dr Doody examines this concept and its applicability to the work, paying far more attention than ever before to the varying ways in which it has been read during the last two thousand years, especially by Francis Bacon and Denis Diderot. This book makes a major contribution not just to the study of the Elder Pliny but to our understanding of the cultural processes of ordering knowledge widespread in the Roman Empire and to the reception of classical literature and ideas.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521491037
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 02/11/2010
Pages: 204
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Aude Doody is Lecturer in Classics at University College Dublin. She has published articles on Pliny the Elder and his Natural History and on Latin literature, and has co-edited (with Liba Taub) Authorial Voices in Greco-Roman Technical Writing (2009).

Table of Contents

Introduction. How to read an encyclopedia; 1. Science and encyclopedism: the originality of the Natural History; 2. Diderot's Pliny and the politics of the encyclopedia; 3. Finding facts: the Summarium in the early printed editions; 4. Specialist readings: art and medicine from the Natural History; Conclusion. Changing approaches to Pliny's Natural History; Bibliography; Index.

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