A Companion to Hellenistic Literature

A Companion to Hellenistic Literature

A Companion to Hellenistic Literature

A Companion to Hellenistic Literature

Synopsis

Offering unparalleled scope, A Companion to Hellenistic Literature in 30 newly commissioned essays explores the social and intellectual contexts of literature production in the Hellenistic period, and examines the relationship between Hellenistic and earlier literature.
  • Provides a wide ranging critical examination of Hellenistic literature, including the works of well-respected poets alongside lesser-known historical, philosophical, and scientific prose of the period
  • Explores how the indigenous literatures of Hellenized lands influenced Greek literature and how Greek literature influenced Jewish, Near Eastern, Egyptian, and Roman literary works

Excerpt

This Companion is intended to serve as an introduction to the Greek literature of the Hellenistic period (323–31 BCE) for slightly advanced students of Classics. Its organization largely follows genre, and therefore quite a few authors are discussed in more than one chapter (Callimachus and Theocritus were especially lucky). Poetry takes up more space than prose, as the state of the evidence commands, but a variety of prose texts are also discussed in the Contexts and Neighbors sections. The latter section is perhaps the most unusual feature of this volume. It explores the cultural dialogue between the Greeks and their Egyptian, Jewish, Western Asian, and Roman literary interlocutors.

Although we underscored particularly apposite connections among the chapters through cross-references and offered an overview of the contributions in the Introduction, we chose not to synthesize, generalize, or construct a grand narrative. Collectively authored companions are by nature polyphonic, and this one is perhaps even more so than others. Our contributors represent three scholarly generations and a wide range of academic traditions, experiences, and fields, and their topics invite or rather require very different approaches. It is our hope that the volume we have produced reflects the variety of scholarship on the Hellenistic world as well as the state of the field and current trends in research. Certainly included among these trends is an emphasis on the contexts of literature production and cultural continuity.

Greek and Latin are cited more frequently than in most other volumes in this series because we felt the absence of the original text and a total ban on “philological” discussion would have impoverished discussions of Hellenistic literature, especially given the fact that this was the era when philology was born. All Greek and Latin are translated and, where discussions turn technical, we have tried to organize them so that their general drift should also be clear to readers who have no access to the original text. Among omissions, inevitable even in a volume of this size, we want to single out reception. Because so many Latin authors directly engage with Hellenistic . . .

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