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Tradition and Innovation in Hellenistic Poetry Hardcover – 13 Jan 2005


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Review of the hardback: '… this invaluable and endlessly engaging book splendidly reflects their scholarly priorities and pleasures.' Journal of Classics Teaching

Review of the hardback: '… a book so full that it defies summary. … will undoubtedly become an indispensable starting-point for many generations of students and scholars, presenting as it does the culmination of many years' thinking and writing on the part of both of its distinguished authors.' Hermathena

'Wary of generalization that only simplify or obscure, Fantuzzi and Hunter are right to have invested most of their energy in the scrutiny of details; it has enable them to produce the most formidable synthesis of Hellenistic poetic developments yet written.' The Times Literary Supplement

Book Description

This 2005 study explores the Greek poetry of the third and second centuries BC and its reception and influence at Rome. Close readings of the most familiar poetry of the age are set alongside considerations of newly published texts, providing a different perspective on the literary practices of the period.

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For the Greeks, from the age of Homer to the late imperial period, the poet received his inspiration from the Muses or from some other god (e.g. Apollo or Dionysus), to whom he attributed the responsibility for the enthousiasmos which allowed him to sing as he wished to sing; consequently, it was a widespread practice for poets to apostrophise these divine sources of inspiration at the beginning of their works, or even to claim that they had been invested as poets by them (as in the case of Hesiod). Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Hellenistic Couple 28 April 2013
By Um - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you look up at the night sky, you might wonder how on earth anyone could trace the signs of the zodiac in the stars, so much of the outline seems to be missing, or the stars that are joined seem to be so arbitrarily chosen. Likewise, some of the literary interpretations by Fantuzzi and Hunter do seem a bit subjective. There are so many gaps in the historical record, and many of the significant remains are so fragmentary, that even these two scholars can't really be sure how to map the influences and traditions at play. BUT, they give us a great way to study literature, just as the zodiac give us a great way to divide the night sky. In some ways, they seem to be role playing two Hellenistic scholar/poets, exemplifying the subtle and allusive thinking that men like Callimachus and Apollonius engaged in when approaching their work. Fantuzzi and Hunter could even be role playing the co-operation and rivalry of two such scholarly poets. They wrote different chapters of the book, as indicated in the preface, where they end with this wry remark: "...though we have both lived with the whole book (and each other) for many years...neither of us swears that he believes every word which the other has written." Similarly, Hellenistic poems appear to have resulted from collaborative efforts and rivalries over many years. Of the two, Fantuzzi appears to me to be the more subjective and subtle of the pair. Hunter is subtle too but more cautionary. Most of the scholarship of course is solid rather than intuitive. So all in all, it's a fascinating read, a great lesson in literary sensitivity, and a good spring board for revising many classical texts, from Archaic Greek to Roman. But of course you need to have some familiarity with the subject to get a lot out of it.
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