The similes in Homer are treasure troves. They describe scenes of Greek life that are not presented in their simplest form anywhere else: landscapes and seascapes, storms and calm weather, fighting among animals, civic disputes, athletic contests, horse races, community entertainment, women involved in their daily tasks, men running their farms and orchards. These basic paratactic additions to the narrative show how the Greeks found and developed parallels between two scenes—each of which elucidated and interpreted the other—then expressed those scenes in effective poetic language. In The Artistry of the Homeric Simile, Scott explores the variations and modifications that Homer employs in order to make similes blend expressively with the larger context. This engaging study will help unlock the richness of Homer for the modern reader.
Barred from political engagement and legal advocacy, the second sophists composed and performed epideictic works for audiences across the Mediterranean world during the early centuries of the Common Era. In a wide-ranging study, author Susan C. Jarratt argues that these artfully wrought discourses, formerly considered vacuous entertainments, constitute intricate negotiations with the absolute power of the Roman Empire. Positioning culturally Greek but geographically diverse sophists as colonial subjects, Jarratt offers readings that highlight ancient debates over free speech and figured discourse, revealing the subtly coded commentary on Roman authority and governance embedded in these works.
Through allusions to classical Greek literature, sophists such as Dio Chrysostom, Aelius Aristides, and Philostratus slipped oblique challenges to empire into otherwise innocuous works. Such figures protected their creators from the danger of direct confrontation but nonetheless would have been recognized by elite audiences, Roman and Greek alike, by virtue of their common education. Focusing on such moments, Jarratt presents close readings of city encomia, biography, and texts in hybrid genres from key second sophistic figures, setting each in its geographical context. Although all the authors considered are male, the analyses here bring to light reflections on gender, ethnicity, skin color, language differences, and sexuality, revealing an underrecognized diversity in the rhetorical activity of this period.
While US scholars of ancient rhetoric have focused largely on the pedagogical, Jarratt brings a geopolitical lens to her study of the subject. Her inclusion of fourth-century texts—the Greek novel Ethiopian Story, by Heliodorus, and the political orations of Libanius of Antioch—extends the temporal boundary of the period. She concludes with speculations about the pressures brought to bear on sophistic political subjectivity by the rise of Christianity and with ruminations on a third sophistic in ancient and contemporary eras of empire.
This book provides the first translations in English and a preliminary analysis of the commentaries on the chreia chapter in Aphthonius’s standard Progymnasmata, a classroom guide on composition. The chreia, or anecdote, was a popular form that preserved the wisdom of philosophers, kings, generals, and sophists. Aphthonius used the chreia to provide instructions on how to construct an argument and to confirm the validity of the chreia by means of an eight-paragraph essay. His treatment of this classroom exercise, however, was so brief that commentators needed to clarify, explain, and supplement what he had written as well as to situate the chreia as preparation for the study of rhetoric—the kinds of public speeches and the parts of a speech. By means of these Byzantine commentaries, we can thus see more clearly how this important form and its confirmation were taught in classrooms for over a thousand years.
Charm, wit, and style were critical, but dangerous, ingredients in the social repertoire of the Roman elite. Their use drew special attention, but also exposed one to potential ridicule or rejection for valuing style over substance. Brian A. Krostenko explores the complexities and ambiguities of charm, wit, and style in Roman literature of the late Republic by tracking the origins, development, and use of the terms that described them, which he calls "the language of social performance."
As Krostenko demonstrates, a key feature of this language is its capacity to express both approval and disdain—an artifact of its origins at a time when the "style" and "charm" of imported Greek cultural practices were greeted with both enthusiasm and hostility. Cicero played on that ambiguity, for example, by chastising lepidus ("fine") boys in the "Second Oration against Catiline" as degenerates, then arguing in his De Oratore that the successful speaker must have a certain charming lepos ("wit"). Catullus, in turn, exploited and inverted the political subtexts of this language for innovative poetic and erotic idioms.
The Court of Comedy
Wilfred E. Major The Ohio State University Press, 2013 Library of Congress PA3265.M34 2013 | Dewey Decimal 882.01
The Court of Comedy: Aristophanes, Rhetoric, and Democracy in Fifth-Century Athens, by Wilfred E. Major, analyzes how writers of comedy in Classical Greece satirized the emerging art of rhetoric and its role in political life. In the fifth century BCE, the development of rhetoric proceeded hand in hand with the growth of democracy both on Sicily and at Athens. In turn, comic playwrights in Athens, most notably Aristophanes, lampooned oratory as part of their commentary on the successes and failures of the young democracy.
This innovative study is the first book to survey all the surviving comedy from the fifth century BCE on these important topics. The evidence reveals that Greek comedy provides a revealing commentary on the incipient craft of rhetoric before its formal conventions were stabilized. Furthermore, Aristophanes’ depiction of rhetoric and of Athenian democratic institutions indicates that he fundamentally supports the Athenian democracy and not, as is often argued, oligarchic opposition to it.
These conclusions confirm recent work that reinterprets the early development of rhetoric in Classical Greece and offer fresh perspectives on the debate over the role of comedy in early Greek democracy. Throughout, Major capitalizes on recent progress in understanding of the performance dynamics of Classical Greek theater.
Demosthenes’ speech On the Crown (330 B.C.E.), in which the master orator spectacularly defended his public career, has long been recognized as a masterpiece. The speech has been in continuous circulation from Demosthenes’ lifetime to the present day, and multiple generations have acclaimed it as the greatest speech ever written. In addition to a clear and accessible translation, Demosthenes’“On the Crown”:Rhetorical Perspectives includes eight essays that provide a thorough analysis—based on Aristotelian principles—of Demosthenes’ superb rhetoric.
The volume includes biographical and historical background on Demosthenes and his political situation; a structural analysis of On the Crown; and an abstract of Aeschines’ speech Against Ctesiphon to which Demosthenes was responding. Four essays by contributors analyze Demosthenes’ speech using key elements of rhetoric defined by Aristotle: ethos, the speaker’s character or authority; pathos, or emotional appeals; logos, or logical appeals; and lexis, a speaker’s style. An introduction and an epilogue by Murphy frame the speech and the rhetorical analysis of it.
By bringing together contextual material about Demosthenes and his speech with a translation and astute rhetorical analyses, Demosthenes’“On the Crown”:Rhetorical Perspectives highlights the oratorical artistry of Demosthenes and provides scholars and students with fresh insights into a landmark speech.
Eighteen essays by leading scholars in English, speech communication, education, and philosophy explore the vitality of the classical rhetorical tradition and its influence on both contemporary discourse studies and the teaching of writing.
Some of the essays investigate theoretical and historical issues. Others show the bearing of classical rhetoric on contemporary problems in composition, thus blending theory and practice. Common to the varied approaches and viewpoints expressed in this volume is one central theme: the 20th-century revival of rhetoric entails a recovery of the classical tradition, with its marriage of a rich and fully articulated theory with an equally efficacious practice. A preface demonstrates the contribution of Edward P. J.Corbett to the 20th-century revival, and a last chapter includes a bibliography of his works.
In The Ethics of Persuasion: Derrida’s Rhetorical Legacies, Brooke Rollins argues that some of the most forceful and utilitarian examples of persuasion involve significant ethical dimensions. Using the work of Jacques Derrida, she draws this ethical imperative out from a series of canonical rhetorical texts that have traditionally been understood as insistent or even guileful instances of persuasion. Her reconsideration of highly determined pieces by Gorgias, Lysias, Isocrates, and Plato encourages readers to inherit the rhetorical tradition differently, and it pinpoints the important rhetorical dimensions of Derrida’s own work.
Drawing on Derrida’s (non)definition of ethics and his pointed accounts of performativity, Rollins argues that this vital ethical component of many ancient theories, practices, and pedagogies of persuasion has been undertheorized for more than two millennia. Through deconstructive readings of some of these texts, she shows us that we are not simply sovereign beings who both wield and guard against linguistic techniques of rule. Our persuasive endeavors, rather, are made possible by an ethics—an always prior encounter with otherness that interrupts self-presence.
What does it mean to “know” what a work of fiction tells us? In Vergil’s Aeneid, the promise and uncertainty of fama convey this challenge. Expansive and flexible, the Latin word fama can mean “fame,” long-lasting “tradition,” and useful “news,” but also ephemeral “rumor” and disruptive “scandal.” Fama is personified as a horrifying winged goddess who reports the truth while keeping an equally tight grip on what’s distorted or made up. Fama reflects the ways talk—or epic song—may merge past and present, human and divine, things remembered and things imagined.
Most importantly, fama marks the epic’s power to bring its story world into our own. The cognitive dynamics of metaphor share in this power, blending the Aeneid’s poetic authority with the imagined force of the gods. Characters and readers are encouraged—even impelled— to seek divine order amidst unsettling words and visions by linking new experiences with existing knowledge. Transformative moments of recognition set the perceptual stage both for the gods’ commands and for the epic’s persuasive efficacy, for pietas (remembrance of ritual and social obligations) and furor (madness).
Antonia Syson’s sensitive close readings offer fresh insights into questions of fictive knowledge and collective memory in the Aeneid. These perspectives invite readers to reconsider some of the epistemological premises underlying inquiry into ancient cultures. Drawing comparisons with the nineteenth-century English novel, Syson highlights continuities between two narrative genres whose cultural contributions and rhetorical claims have often seemed sharply opposed.
In Gorgias and the New Sophistic Rhetoric, Bruce McComiskey achieves three rhetorical goals: he treats a single sophist's rhetorical technê (art) in the context of the intellectual upheavals of fifth-century bce Greece, thus avoiding the problem of generalizing about a disparate group of individuals; he argues that we must abandon Platonic assumptions regarding the sophists in general and Gorgias in particular, opting instead for a holistic reading of the Gorgianic fragments; and he reexamines the practice of appropriating sophistic doctrines, particularly those of Gorgias, in light of the new interpretation of Gorgianic rhetoric offered in this book.
In the first two chapters, McComiskey deals with a misconception based on selective and Platonic readings of the extant fragments: that Gorgias's rhetorical technê involves the deceptive practice of manipulating public opinion. This popular and ultimately misleading interpretation of Gorgianic doctrines has been the basis for many neosophistic appropriations. The final three chapters deal with the nature and scope of neosophistic rhetoric in light of the non-Platonic and holistic interpretation of Gorgianic rhetoric McComiskey postulates in his opening chapters. He concludes by examining the future of communication studies to discover what roles neosophistic doctrines might play in the twenty-first century.
McComiskey also provides a selective bibliography of scholarship on sophistic rhetoric and philosophy in English since 1900.
Insults in Classical Athens
Deborah Kamen University of Wisconsin Press, 2020 Library of Congress DF275.K275 2020 | Dewey Decimal 808.0481
Scholarly investigations of the rich field of verbal and extraverbal Athenian insults have typically been undertaken piecemeal. Deborah Kamen provides an overview of this vast terrain and synthesizes the rules, content, functions, and consequences of insulting fellow Athenians. The result is the first volume to map out the full spectrum of insults, from obscene banter at festivals, to invective in the courtroom, to slander and even hubristic assaults on another's honor.
While the classical city celebrated the democratic equality of "autochthonous" citizens, it counted a large population of noncitizens as inhabitants, so that ancient Athenians developed a preoccupation with negotiating, affirming, and restricting citizenship. Kamen raises key questions about what it meant to be a citizen in democratic Athens and demonstrates how insults were deployed to police the boundaries of acceptable behavior. In doing so, she illuminates surprising differences between antiquity and today and sheds light on the ways a democratic society valuing "free speech" can nonetheless curb language considered damaging to the community as a whole.
The Homeric poems were not intended for readers, but for a listening audience. Traditional in their basic elements, the stories were learned by oral poets from earlier poets and recreated at every performance. Individual nuances, tailored to the audience, could creep into the stories of the Greek heroes on each and every occasion when a bard recited the epics.
For a particular audience at a particular moment, "tradition" is what it believes it has inherited from the past--and it may not be particularly old. The boundaries between the traditional and the innovative may become blurry and indistinct. By rethinking tradition, we can see Homer's methods and concerns in a new light. The Homeric poet is not naive. He must convince his audience that the story is true. He must therefore seem disinterested, unconcerned with promoting anyone's interests. The poet speaks as if everything he says is merely the repetition of old tales. Yet he carefully ensures that even someone who knows only a minimal amount about the ancient heroes can follow and enjoy the performance, while someone who knows many stories will not remember inappropriate ones. Pretending that every detail is already familiar, the poet heightens suspense and implies that ordinary people are the real judges of great heroes.
Listening to Homer transcends present controversies about Homeric tradition and invention by rethinking how tradition functions. Focusing on reception rather than on composition, Ruth Scodel argues that an audience would only rarely succeed in identifying narrative innovation. Homeric narrative relies on a traditionalizing, inclusive rhetoric that denies the innovation of the oral performance while providing enough information to make the epics intelligible to audiences for whom much of the material is new.
Listening to Homer will be of interest to general classicists, as well as to those specializing in Greek epic and narrative performance. Its wide breadth and scope will also appeal to those non-classicists interested in the nature of oral performance.
Ruth Scodel is Professor of Greek and Latin, University of Michigan, and former president of the American Philological Association.
"Ruth Scodel's Listening to Homer proves it is still possible to explore the workings of epic without recourse to a battery of jargon or technicalities. This is not a 'one big idea' book but a rich . . . set of reflections; it makes refreshing reading . . . ."
---Greece & Rome
"This is an important book, putting the receiving rather than the sending side of the performance of the Homeric epics center stage. The many observations on narrative technique are often new and worthwhile."
---Irene J.F. de Jong, Gnomon
In the Heroides, the Roman poet Ovid wittily plucks fifteen abandoned heroines from ancient myth and literature and creates the fiction that each woman writes a letter to the hero who left her behind. But in giving voice to these heroines, is Ovid writing like a woman, or writing "Woman" like a man?
Using feminist and psychoanalytic approaches to examine the "female voice" in the Heroides, Sara H. Lindheim closely reads these fictive letters in which the women seemingly tell their own stories. She points out that in Ovid’s verse epistles all the women represent themselves in a strikingly similar and disjointed fashion. Lindheim turns to Lacanian theory of desire to explain these curious and hauntingly repetitive representations of the heroines in the "female voice." Lindheim’s approach illuminates what these poems reveal about both masculine and feminine constructions of the feminine
Ellen D. Finkelpearl's Metamorphosis of Language in Apuleius studies the use of literary allusion by the Roman author Apuleius, in his second century C.E. novel the Metamorphoses, popularly known as The Golden Ass. Apuleius' work is enticing yet frustrating because of its enigmatic mixture of the comic and serious; a young man is transformed into a donkey, but eventually finds salvation with the goddess Isis. Finkelpearl's book represents the first attempt to place Apuleius' allusive practices within a consideration of the development of the ancient novel.
When Apuleius wrote his Metamorphoses, the novel--indeed the very concept of fiction in prose--was new. This study argues that Apuleius' repeated allusions to earlier Latin authors such as Vergil, Ovid, and Seneca represent an exploration on his part of the relationship between the novel and more established genres of the era. Apuleius' struggle with this tradition, Finkelpearl maintains, parallels the protagonist's move from an acceptance of the dominance of traditional forms to a sense of arrival and self- discovery.
An introductory chapter includes general discussion of the theory and practice of allusion. Finkelpearl then revisits the issues of parody in Apuleius. She also includes discussion of Apuleius' use of Vergil's Sinon, the Charite episode in relation to Apuleius' African origins, and the stepmother episode. Finally a new reading of Isis is offered, which emphasizes her associations with writing and matches the multiformity of the goddess with the novel's many voices.
This book will be of interest to scholars of literature and the origins of the novel, multiculturalism, and classical literature.
Ellen D. Finkelpearl is Associate Professor of Classics at Scripps College, Claremont, California.
Taking a fresh look at the poetry and visual art of the Hellenistic age, from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. to the Romans’ defeat of Cleopatra in 30 B.C., Graham Zanker makes enlightening discoveries about the assumptions and conventions of Hellenistic poets and artists and their audiences.
Zanker’s exciting new interpretations closely compare poetry and art for the light each sheds on the other. He finds, for example, an exuberant expansion of subject matter in the Hellenistic periods in both literature and art, as styles and iconographic traditions reserved for grander concepts in earlier eras were applied to themes, motifs, and subjects that were emphatically less grand.
PROBLEMS, VOLUME I
Robert Aristotle Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress PA3893.P9M39 2011 | Dewey Decimal 185
PROBLEMS, VOLUME II
Robert Aristotle Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress PA3893.P9M39 2011 | Dewey Decimal 185
Readings from Classical Rhetoric
Edited by Patricia P. Matsen, Philip Rollinson, and Marion Sousa Southern Illinois University Press, 1990 Library of Congress PA3637.R5R4 1990 | Dewey Decimal 808.048
Here, for the first time in one volume, are all the extant writings focusing on rhetoric that were composed before the fall of Rome.
This unique anthology of primary texts in classical rhetoric contains the work of 24 ancient writers from Homer through St. Augustine, including Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian, Tacitus, and Longinus.
Along with many widely recognized translations, special features include the first English translations of works by Theon and Nicolaus, as well as new translations of two works by important sophists, Gorgias’ encomium on Helen and Alcidamas’ essay on composition.
The writers are grouped chronologically into historical periods, allowing the reader to understand the scope and significance of rhetoric in antiquity. Introductions are included to each period, as well as to each writer, with writers’ biographies, major works, and salient features of excerpts.
In 1345, when Petrarch recovered a lost collection of letters from Cicero to his best friend Atticus, he discovered an intimate Cicero, a man very different from either the well-known orator of the Roman forum or the measured spokesman for the ancient schools of philosophy. It was Petrarch’s encounter with this previously unknown Cicero and his letters that Kathy Eden argues fundamentally changed the way Europeans from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries were expected to read and write.
The Renaissance Rediscovery of Intimacy explores the way ancient epistolary theory and practice were understood and imitated in the European Renaissance.Eden draws chiefly upon Aristotle, Cicero, and Seneca—but also upon Plato, Demetrius, Quintilian, and many others—to show how the classical genre of the “familiar” letter emerged centuries later in the intimate styles of Petrarch, Erasmus, and Montaigne. Along the way, she reveals how the complex concept of intimacy in the Renaissance—leveraging the legal, affective, and stylistic dimensions of its prehistory in antiquity—pervades the literary production and reception of the period and sets the course for much that is modern in the literature of subsequent centuries. Eden’s important study will interest students and scholars in a number of areas, including classical, Renaissance, and early modern studies; comparative literature; and the history of reading, rhetoric, and writing.
Rereading Aristotle's Rhetoric
Edited by Alan G. Gross and Arthur E. Walzer Southern Illinois University Press, 2000 Library of Congress PN173.A7R47 2000 | Dewey Decimal 808.5
In this collection edited by Alan G. Gross and Arthur E. Walzer, scholars in communication, rhetoric and composition, and philosophy seek to “reread” Aristotle’s Rhetoric from a purely rhetorical perspective. So important do these contributors find the Rhetoric, in fact, that a core tenet in this book is that “all subsequent rhetorical theory is but a series of responses to issues raised by the central work.”
The essays reflect on questions basic to rhetoric as a humanistic discipline. Some explore the ways in which the Rhetoric explicates the nature of the art of rhetoric, noting that on this issue, the tensions within the Rhetoric often provide a direct passageway into our own conflicts.
Rhetoric in Antiquity
Laurent Pernot Catholic University of America Press, 2005 Library of Congress PA3038.P46 2005 | Dewey Decimal 808.00938
Originally published as La Rhétorique dans l'Antiquité (2000), this new English edition provides students with a valuable introduction to understanding the classical art of rhetoric and its place in ancient society and politics
We tend to think of rhetoric as a solely human art. After all, only humans can use language artfully to make a point, the very definition of rhetoric.
Yet when you look at ancient and early modern treatises on rhetoric, what you find is surprising: they’re crawling with animals. With Rhetoric in Tooth and Claw, Debra Hawhee explores this unexpected aspect of early thinking about rhetoric, going on from there to examine the enduring presence of nonhuman animals in rhetorical theory and education. In doing so, she not only offers a counter-history of rhetoric but also brings rhetorical studies into dialogue with animal studies, one of the most vibrant areas of interest in humanities today. By removing humanity and human reason from the center of our study of argument, Hawhee frees up space to study and emphasize other crucial components of communication, like energy, bodies, and sensation.
Drawing on thinkers from Aristotle to Erasmus, Rhetoric in Tooth and Claw tells a new story of the discipline’s history and development, one animated by the energy, force, liveliness, and diversity of our relationships with our “partners in feeling,” other animals.
The Rhetoric of Faith argues that the structure of Irenaeus’s opus magnum, the Adversus Haereses, is the argument of the Adversus Haereses. Through a close reading of the Irenaeus’s text, as well as through a comparison with Greco-Roman rhetorical texts, Scott Moringiello argues that Irenaeus structured his argument around the articles of the faith of the Church and that this structure builds on tropes found in the Greco-Roman rhetorical tradition.
The argument focuses on the Adversus Haereses, although it does begin with some discussion to put Irenaeus in the context of second century Christian literature. Moringiello concludes with a discussion of Irenaeus’s Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching.Other scholars have provided introductions to Irenaeus’s work, and other scholars have argued for the structural unity of the Adversus Haereses. No other scholar, though, has argued that the faith of the Church is the basis of Irenaeus’s argument. This argument, then, presents an important contribution to the field of Irenaeus studies.
James Fredal’s wide-ranging survey examines the spatial and performative features of rhetorical artistry in ancient Athens from Solon to Demosthenes, demonstrating how persuasive skill depended not on written treatises, but on the reproduction of spaces and modes for masculine self-formation and displays of contests of character.
Studies of the history of rhetoric generally begin with Homer and Greek orality, then move on to fifth-century Sicily and the innovations of Corax, Tisias, and the older Sophists. While thorough and useful, these narratives privilege texts as the sole locus of proper rhetorical knowledge. Rhetorical Action in Ancient Greece:Persuasive Artistry from Solon to Demosthenes describes rhetoric as largely unwritten and rhetorical skill as closely associated with the ideologies and practices of gender formation and expression. In expanding the notion of rhetorical innovation to include mass movements, large social genres, and cultural practices—rather than the formulations of of individual thinkers and writers—Fredal offers a view of classical rhetoric as local and contingent, bound to the physical spaces, local histories, and cultural traditions of place.
Fredal argues that Greek rhetorical skill remained a function of local spaces like the Pnyx, social practices such as symposia or local meetings, cultural ideologies like those surrounding masculine friendship, and genres of performance such as how to act like a man, herald, sage, tyrant, or democrat. Citizen participation, he explains, was motivated by the desire to display masculine excellence in contests of character by overcoming fear and exerting symbolic and bodily control over self, situation, and audience. He shows how ancient Greek rhetoric employed patterns of “action” such as public oratory and performance to establish, reinforce, or challenge hierarchies and claims to political power.
Instead of examining speeches, handbooks, and theory, Rhetorical Action in Ancient Greece examines the origins of rhetoric in terms of performance. The result is a presentation of rhetorical knowledge as embodied in places and practices with spatial and practical logics that are rarely articulated in written discourse. The volume calls on archaeological, literary, and anthropological evidence about the rhetorical actions of Athens’s leading political agents—including Solon, Peisistratus, Cleisthenes, Demosthenes, and the anonymous “herm-choppers” of the Peloponnesian war—to demonstrate how each generation of political leaders adopted and transformed existing performance genres and spaces to address their own political exigency.
In Siren Songs: Gender, Audiences, and Narrators in the Odyssey, Lillian Eileen Doherty shows us that the attitude of Odysseus, as well as of the Odyssey, is highly ambivalent toward women. Odysseus rewards supportive female characters by treating them as privileged members of the audience for his own tales. At the same time, dangerous female narrators--who threaten to disrupt or revise the hero's story--are discredited by the narrative framework in which their stories appear.
Siren Songs synthesizes audience-oriented and narratological approaches, and examines the relationships among three kinds of audiences: internal, implied, and actual. The author prefaces her own reading of the Odyssey with an analysis of the issues posed by the earlier feminist readings on which she builds. Should the Odyssey be read as a "closed" text, that is, as one whose meaning is highly determined, or as an "open" text whose contradictions and ambiguities undercut its overt meanings?
Siren Songs presents a feminist critique of the Odyssey in an accessible manner aimed at a more general audience. All Greek is translated, and critical terminology is clearly defined.
Lillian Eileen Doherty is Associate Professor of Classics, University of Maryland, College Park.
The Peloponnesian War, which destroyed imperial Athens and ultimately Sparta as well, continues to fascinate students of history, politics, and human nature. Thucydides' account of the twenty-seven-year conflict charts the opposition between the two great powers of the classical Greek world and the ways of life they represented. Paula Debnar explores the collapse of these powers from a new perspective, examining the ways discourse changed under the strain of a long and costly war.
Speaking the Same Language seeks to recover the role played by the audiences within the History. By restoring the internal audiences to a more prominent place, Debnar emphasizes the perspective of the participants in the war and heightens the dramatic immediacy of the debates. She thoroughly analyzes twelve speeches delivered by or to the Spartans, demonstrating how the earlier speeches illustrate the role of discourse in the construction of Sparta's identity and the unification of her Dorian allies in the face of their primarily Ionian adversaries.
Combining close textual analysis with an examination of narrative and historical context, Debnar bridges the gap between literary and historical studies of Thucydides. Accessible to specialists and nonspecialists alike, her work will interest those working in the fields of Greek literature, ancient historiography, rhetoric, political science, and ethnic studies.
Paula Debnar is Associate Professor of Classics, Mount Holyoke College.
Performance was one of the five canonical branches of oratory in the classical period, but it presents special problems that distinguish it from concerns such as composition and memory. The ancient performer was supposed to be a "good man" and his performance a manifestation of an authentic and authoritative manliness. But how can the orator be distinguished from a mere actor? And what is the proper role for the body, given that it is a potential object of desire?
Erik Gunderson explores these and other questions in ancient rhetorical theory using a variety of theoretical approaches, drawing in particular on the works of Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Lacan. His study examines the status of rhetorical theory qua theory, the production of a specific version of body in the course of its theoretical description, oratory as a form of self-mastery, the actor as the orator's despised double, the dangers of homoerotic pleasure, and Cicero's De Oratore, as what good theory and practice ought to look like.
Erik Gunderson is Assistant Professor of Greek and Latin, Ohio State University.
Geoffrey D. Dunn is the first scholar to use classical rhetoric as the interpretative tool for analyzing the question of the authorship of Aduersus Iudaeos. He argues that Tertullian structured this work according to the rules of classical rhetoric and employed arguments familiar to anyone with training in oratory
The poetry of the Late Roman Republican poet Gaius Valerius Catullus, a rich document of the human heart, is the earliest-known reasonably complete body of erotic verse in the West.
Though approximately 116 poems survive, uncertainties about the condition of the fragmented manuscript and the narrative order of the poems make the Catullan text unusually problematic for the modern critic. Indeed, the poems can be arranged in a number of ways, making a multitude of different plots possible and frustrating the reader’s desire for narrative closure.
Micaela Janan contends that since unsatisfied desire structures both the experience of reading Catullus and its subject matter, critical interpretation of the text demands a "poetics of desire." Furthermore, postmodern critical theory, narratology, and psychoanalysis suggest a flexible concept of the "subject" as a site through which a multitude of social, cultural, and unconscious forces move. Human consciousness, Janan contends, is inherently incomplete and in a continuous process of transformation. She therefore proposes an original and provocative feminist reading of Catullus, a reading informed by theories of consciousness and desire as ancient as Plato and as contemporary as Freud and Lacan.
The Late Roman Republic in which Catullus lived, Janan reminds us, was a time of profound social upheaval when political and cultural institutions that had persisted for centuries were rapidly breaking down—a time not unlike our own. Catullus’ poetry provides an unusually honest look at his culture and its contradictory representations of class, gender, and power. By bringing to the study of this major work of classical literature the themes of consciousness and desire dealt with in postmodern scholarship, Janan’s book invites a new conversation among literary disciplines.