A Guide to Hellenistic Literature

A Guide to Hellenistic Literature

Paperback Blackwell Guides to Classical Literature

By (author) Kathryn Gutzwiller

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  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd)
  • Format: Paperback | 264 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 226mm x 23mm | 363g
  • Publication date: 1 September 2007
  • Publication City/Country: Chicester
  • ISBN 10: 0631233229
  • ISBN 13: 9780631233220
  • Edition: Annotated
  • Illustrations note: 18
  • Sales rank: 787,480

Product description

This book is a guide to the extraordinarily diverse literature of the Hellenistic period.* A guide to the literature of the Hellenistic age, from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE to the Battle of Actium in 31 BC* Provides overviews of the social, political, intellectual and literary historical contexts in which Hellenistic literature was produced* Introduces the major writers and genres of the period* Provides information about style, meter and languages to aid readers with no prior knowledge of the language in understanding technical aspects of literary Greek* Distinctive in its coverage of current issues in Hellenistic criticism, including audience reception, the political and social background, and Hellenistic theories of literature

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Author information

Kathryn Gutzwiller is Professor of Classics at the University of Cincinnati. Her recent publications include Poetic Garlands: Hellenistic Epigrams in Context (1998) and The New Posidippus: A Hellenistic Poetry Book (edited, 2005). She is the winner of the American Philological Association's Goodwin Award of Merit and has twice won the Gildersleeve Prize for the best article in the American Journal of Philology.

Review quote

"Kathryn Gutzwiller is a renowned and well-respected scholar, and her wide ranging publications have contributed greatly to the rise in scholarly estimation that the field now enjoys. Accordingly a guide to the subject by such a knowledgeable and influential specialist is both a timely and welcome addition to the handbooks and companions to classical authors already available." (Journal of the Classical Association of Canada, Winter 2009) "This book is likely to dispel more of the inherited prejudice against Hellenistic literature. The guide is rich in detail and succinct comments, yet very readable ... .Gutzwiller manages to give life (albeit brief in most cases) to the prominent writers of this period." (Scholia Reviews, 2009) "Kathryn Gutzwiller's [Guide to Hellenistic Literature] is exceptionally good…Gutzwiller covers a lot of ground in not very much space, without the exposition ever appearing either skimpy or cramped, and gives a good sense of the breadth and diversity of Hellenistic literature (not just poetry), along with a basic understanding of the historical, social, and cultural context. This is a model of the genre." (Greece and Rome, Vol 55 No. 2 2008) "An up-to-date handbook on the literature of the period from the death of Alexander to the Roman conquest of Egypt -- something long needed in the field of Classics. As one of the leading scholars of Hellenistic poetry in North America, Gutzwiller has helped to shape the discourse of the critical issues in that field, and her presentation of poets and poetry in this guide is always well-informed and interesting. But what makes this guide so valuable to the classical community as a whole is the broad scope of the literature it presents … .Students of Greek literature, from undergraduates to specialists, will find interesting observations and connections throughout the guide. No Classicist should be without it. This guide consistently offers elegant proof of how modern discoveries and the application of critical theories have enriched our knowledge and appreciation of Hellenistic literature. Gutzwiller's guide expertly summarizes what we know about this period's literature, charts scholarly approaches to it, and should -- I hope -- help to plot the path for future research." (Bryn Mawr Classical Review, November 2008) “Gutzwiller serves as an expert eyewitness to literature which is, at the least, complex even for classicists and, more often, wholly inaccessible to the non-scholarly reader. Like any travel guide, such a tour cannot replace what it describes, but is rather an invitation to visit the sites on one's own. More than any other book available today, [it] opens the door to this rich and exciting period of Greek literary history." (New England Classical Literature) “An internationally recognized authority, Gutzwiller offers an engaging and stimulating guide to the field. This elegant and useful guide has much to offer both new and long-standing readers of Hellenistic literature." (Choice Magazine)

Back cover copy

This book is a guide to Greek literature of the Hellenistic period, from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE to the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE. It demonstrates how, during this period, Greek culture spread to Egypt and the Near East, was adapted and absorbed by the Romans, and produced an extraordinarily diverse literature, ranging from the comedy of Menander to the intricately wrought epigrams of Callimachus, from Apollonius' epic "Argonautica" to the great historical work of Polybius. The book helps readers to find their way through this remarkable but complex body of work. It situates Hellenistic literature in its historical and cultural contexts, introduces the major writers and genres of the period, and explains the major critical trends in current scholarship on the subject. Information about style, meter, and language aids readers with no prior knowledge in understanding technical aspects of literary Greek. All ancient Greek words are transliterated, and literary passages are quoted in translation.

Table of contents

Preface. List of Illustrations. 1 History and Culture. 1.1 The Successors. 1.2 Macedonia and Greece. 1.3 Seleucid Asia. 1.4 Attalid Pergamum. 1.5 Ptolemaic Egypt. 2 Aesthetics and Style. 2.1 Aesthetic Principles. 2.2 Meter, Dialect, and Diction. 2.3 Literature as Artefact. 3 Authors and Genres. 3.1 Menander. 3.2 Callimachus. 3.3 Apollonius. 3.4 Theocritus and the Other Bucolic Poets. 3.5 Didactic Poetry. 3.6 Epigrams. 3.7 Dramatic Poetry. 3.8 Parodic and Philosophical Literature. 3.9 Polybius. 3.10 Technical Prose Writing. 4 Topics in Hellenistic Literature. 4.1 Learning and Innovation. 4.2 Book Culture and Performance. 4.3 Social and Political Background. 4.4 The Critical Impulse. 4.5 Reception in Rome. Suggested Reading. Bibliography. Index