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This review is from: Ananios of Kleitor (Paperback)
4 1/2 stars.This is one of the best books I've read this year despite its being a scholarly study of poetry written by Ananios of Kleitor (not, of course, to be confused with the sixth-century iambic poet Ananios) several centuries B.C.E. and a far cry from my usual reading.
What remains of Ananios's work has come down to us on papyrus and thus the poems are really only fragments, though even these scraps are suggestive of a distinctive voice: 'Dance through the forest [ ] deer season (cakes?) [ / Artem]is shouts and shoots [ / as the moon [ ] on flying feet [ / ]the precipice / ]fisherman's net [ ] my heart, my love [ '. Economou gives us his own sometimes startling translation of them and provides as well endnotes, information on the various commentators, and general background and in fact it would be a good idea to have two or three bookmarks to hand before beginning his book. A fair bit of Ananios of Kleitor though comprises writings from a range of commentators through the centuries, from The Anonymous Alexandrian to 20th-century academics. Of particular interest are how their interpretations of the poems are skewed by their own inclinations and how much about them is revealed in their discussions of the poetry: amongst the references to other classical authors, prosody, and attempted reconstruction of the fragments there are outpourings of fierce religiosity, accounts of a third-century dinner party bore, and of course sniping, squabbling, and possibly plagiarism between modern academics. (In fact, my only--minor--objection to the book is Economou's decision to include letters between these last that contain personal information he possibly considered powerful and revelatory that were for me neither.}
I don't think one need have any but a basic familiarity with the classics, mythology, and scholarly commentary to enjoy this book, though when I re-read it I'll do so with The Reader's Dictionary and Lempriere beside me as I've little doubt there were significant bits I overlooked on first reading. It's a book that does, though, require close attention--which will be generously rewarded.
I can't recommend this highly enough: I was held rapt by Ananios of Kleitor and noticed as soon as the second page that I was smiling, as I was to be through almost all the book. Admirers of rather similar scholarly work of Charles Kinbote and his collaborator might be especially likely to enjoy this, though I think Economou puts them in the shade.
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Initial post: 24 Dec 2013 00:48:06 GMT
M. Dowden says:
monica - here is hoping that you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
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