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Scale, Space and Canon in Ancient Literary Culture

Scale, Space and Canon in Ancient Literary Culture


  • Publication planned for: December 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from December 2019
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108481472

c.£ 45.00

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About the Authors
  • Greek culture matters because its unique pluralistic debate shaped modern discourses. This ground-breaking book explains this feature by retelling the history of ancient literary culture through the lenses of canon, space and scale. It proceeds from the invention of the performative 'author' in the archaic symposium through the 'polis of letters' enabled by Athenian democracy and into the Hellenistic era, where one's space mattered and culture became bifurcated between Athens and Alexandria. This duality was reconfigured into an eclectic variety consumed by Roman patrons and predicated on scale, with about a thousand authors active at any given moment. As patronage dried up in the third century CE, scale collapsed and literary culture was reduced to the teaching of a narrower field of authors, paving the way for the Middle Ages. The result is a new history of ancient culture which is sociological, quantitative, and all-encompassing, cutting through eras and genres.

    • Provides a bold new overarching history of ancient literary culture as a whole
    • Combines both literary and specialized/scientific genres
    • Provides a mass of statistics on ancient culture and so will become a source of reference as well as a starting-point for debate concerning its quantitative analysis
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: December 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108481472
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • contains: 13 b/w illus. 30 maps 82 tables
    • availability: Not yet published - available from December 2019
  • Table of Contents

    General introduction
    Part I. Canon:
    1. Canon: the evidence
    2. Canon in practice: the polis of letters
    Part II. Space:
    3. Space, the setting: the making of an Athens-against-Alexandria Mediterranean
    4. Space in action: when worlds diverge
    Part III. Scale:
    5. A quantitative model of ancient literary culture
    6. Scale in action: stability and its end
    Coda to the book

  • Author

    Reviel Netz, Stanford University, California
    Reviel Netz is the Patrick Suppes Professor of Greek Mathematics and Astronomy at Stanford University, California. He is a prolific author in many fields, from verse through literary theory to modern environmental history, and his core field is the history of the ancient exact sciences. He has pursued a more cultural, cognitive and literary approach to the history of science and has published a series of studies, beginning with The Shaping of Deduction in Greek Mathematics (Cambridge, 1999). He is also the translator and editor of the Cambridge editions of the works of Archimedes, two volumes of which have been published to date, and one of the main contributors to the study of the Archimedes Palimpsest, on which he co-authored (with William Noel) The Archimedes Codex (2007), which has been translated into eighteen languages.

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