Reviews of Volumes in the Hellenic Studies Series
Annette Lucia Giesecke, The Epic City: Urbanism, Utopia, and the Garden in Anceit Greece and Rome, 2007
1. "The Epic City is well written, wide ranging, and full of interesting details...This argument must be taken seriously in any future account of the shape of the ancient city."
Roger Paden, Utopian Studies, 2008 (vol. 19.2: 333-336)
2. "Giesecke’s comprehensive understanding of Epicurean philosophy and utopianism is the great strength of this book. Another positive feature lies in the balance between the sections devoted to Greek and Roman literature. It is difficult to avoid privileging one over the other, and G. has managed this by a very judicious choice of material: mainly Homer, Virgil and Lucretius combined with some corroborating evidence from Attic ware, fresco, and domestic architecture...it contributes to a pleasingly integrated read."
Katharine von Stackelberg, The Classical Review, 2009 (59.1 16-17)
Todd M. Compton, Victim of the Muses: Poet as Scapegoat, Warrior and Hero in Greco-Roman and Indo-European Myth and History, 2006
1. “The author of this book approaches his subject with the freedom of a spirit that is both a gourmand and an adventurer. The poet-scapegoat is at the center of his work: the theme is not new, but it has rarely been treated by itself. Four parts [in the book] ... delineate it with neutrality and brio.... We have here a book that is very readable, neutral, rigorous and impartial, well documented, rich and suggestive, which speaks to the public of non-specialists, at the same time that it methodically integrates the precise elements characteristic of the most rigorous philology.” [translated from French]
Pascale Hummel, Phoenix, Journal of the Classical Association of Canada, 2008 (62.1 196-97)
2. “Compton’s thoroughly researched work has much to contribute to the study of individual poets’ lives and to the study of the lives as a generic form or cultural phenomenon. The book’s chief virtue is the cumulative force with which it demonstrates the extent to which the vitae are shaped by traditional influences, independently both of history and of the literary corpus of the poet in question....Victim of the Muses is thought-provoking reading for those interested in the tensions surrounding the practice of poetry in the Greek and Roman worlds, or in the complex meanings that can be encoded in biographical writing. Although one can imagine alternatives to the interpretations Compton proposes, his compendious assembly of biographical anecdotes provides an illuminating glimpse into a world in which myth and history interact in endlessly interesting ways.”
David F. Elmer, The Journal of Indo-European Studies, 2008 (36.1-2 190-95)
Panagiotis Roilos, Amphoteroglossia: A Poetics of the Twelfth Century Medieval Greek Novel, 2006
"Amphoteroglossia, in its analysis of rhetorical manipulations, generic complexity, and the various tensions made possible by the novels' "discursive plasticity", is undoubtedly the most thorough and most perceptive study ever written of these works, and one from which the Byzantine writer comes through forcefully as one fiercely determined to show his independence while artistically keeping within the overlying strictures of the rhetoric of the Second Sophistic; but it is an independence susceptible to appreciation only by highly sophisticated readers, both ancient and modern. Amphoteroglossia is, moreover, destined to retain for decades to come the priceless ability to provoke further analysis and evaluation."
A. Littlewood, Speculum, January 2008 (vol 83, no 1).
Derek Colllins, Master of the Game: Competition and Performance in Greek Poetry, 2005
1. "To sum up, Master of the Game has a unity not easily obtained in such a survey, and so it should be interesting to researchers concerned with different themes. Collins' defence of a reading preoccupied with the performance contexts of Greek literature allows him to present us a quite vivid picture of it, something unfortunately missing in many interpretative books on classical texts."
Christian Werner, Universidade de São Paulo, BMCR 2005.05.18
2. "The author is lucid and careful in his discussion of primary texts, and he provides balanced and helpful (e.g., translation of foreign quotations) references to secondary material. This is an interesting study that should prove to be useful to scholars working in many different fields, especially if read with other recent work on the procedural aspects of verse competition and the symposium. Readers will appreciate the two indices (general and source) as well as elaborate table of contents and the frequent summing-up sections. It is also an attractively produced book."
Jonathan Burgess, University of Toronto, Phoenix 60 (2006), 369-70
3. "Collins' discussion of rhapsodes, rhapsodic contests, and the Ptolemaic papyri of Homer contains many ideas that are sure to be controversial and that are well worth debating. "
Carolyn Higbie, University of Buffalo, American Journal of Philology 127 (2006)
4. "The work fits comfortably in the current focus on the performance aspect of Greek literature... The disposition to compete is as innate in ourselves as in the ancient Greeks, and has always provided an opportunity to renegotiate social ranking. By linking this to Greek poetic texts C. invites us to new interpretations of intertextuality. "
Bonnie Maclachlan, University of Western Ontario The Classical Review 57.1 (2007), 12-14
Other reviews in: Revue de Philologie 79 (2005), 200-01; The Classical Review 57.1 (2007), 12-14; American Journal of Philology 127 (2006), 137-40; Phoenix 60 (2006), 369-70.
James Lesher, Debra Nails, and Frisbee Sheffield, edd., Plato's Symposium: Issues in Interpretation and Reception, 2007
1. This handsome and remarkably inexpensive anthology is a bargain. Its 446 pages include not only sixteen interesting and original essays, all by well known scholars, but also numerous diagrams and illustrations—the sorts of additions that usually drive up book prices. The collection derives from a conference at the Center for Hellenic Studies in 2005, and appropriate steps (including two anonymous referees engaged by the Center) have been taken to guarantee the quality of the work. The book is divided into four parts. Part 1 consists in three papers on the place of the Symposium within Platonic philosophy. The volume could have benefited from more essays in this area, but those that are included all make valuable contributions. Part II (“Interpreting Plato’s Symposium”) includes six essays which combine to make the strongest section of the book. Part III offers three papers on sex and gender issues, and the final part includes four papers on the later reception of the dialogue. In this section, the paper by Lesher is a particular delight, providing most of the visual materials included in the collection. Highly recommended.
Nicholas D. Smith, Lewis and Clark College, in Choice
2. "This volume presents a spectrum of modes of interpretation, as well as a panoply of disciplinary approaches. Yet it manages to keep the ensemble together by what we might call Wittgenstein's rope trick: no strand goes all the way through but they overlap one another to form a whole. One can imagine that the conference from which they came would have been a stimulating exchange of perspectives among talented observers."
Richard Parry, Agnes Scott College, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=12124.
3. "All in all, however, this is an excellent volume providing challenging and original interpretations of important issues in the Symposium. The level of scholarship is very high; the Works Cited list (378–98) is a valuable resource; and the papers by Rowe, McPherran, Blondell, and Nails are particularly impressive."
Gerald A. Press, Journal of the History of Philosophy (Volume 46, Number 1, January 2008, pp. 167-168).