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The Alexiad of Anna Komnene
Artistic Strategy in the Making of a Myth


  • Date Published: March 2014
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107037229

£ 76.00

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About the Authors
  • This is the first full-scale study of the literary art of Anna Komnene's Alexiad. Her history of her father's reign is well-known and much used by Byzantinists and historians of the First Crusade, but the art with which it shapes its central character has not been fully examined or understood. This book argues that the work is both history and tragedy; the characterization of Alexios I Komnenos is cumulative; it develops; the models for his idealization change; much of the action takes place in his mind and the narrative relays and amplifies his thought while building a dense picture of the world in which he acts. Engaging critically and responsively with other texts, Komnene uses the full range of current literary genres to portray the ideal culture of his rule. She matches her art of literary control to his of government over the adverse forces of his time.

    • Provides the first full-length critical appraisal of the Alexiad as a work of literary art
    • Places the Alexiad in relation to literary and cultural traditions, examining how it criticizes, incorporates and reinvents those traditions
    • Reads the Alexiad as a work that develops and accumulates its meanings
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… an immensely valuable addition to the scholarship on this twelfth-century epic, providing important analysis of Anna's work as a piece of literature. Buckley's achievement is to produce a thought-provoking and well-written literary analysis that will surely stimulate further debate on how modern scholars view Anna as an author.' Elisabeth Mincin, Reviews in History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107037229
    • length: 331 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 157 x 2 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    The prologue
    1. The Emperor Alexios, my father
    2. The soldier-emperor
    3. The second story begins
    4. West into East
    5. The second Norman war and the Crusade
    6. The second Constantine and the last
    Appendix. The Alexiad as pre-Renaissance text.

  • Author

    Penelope Buckley, University of Melbourne
    Penelope Buckley is a Fellow of the Melbourne University School of Historical and Philosophical Studies.

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