Criticism

The Cypria

The Cypria, so named because its poet supposedly came from the island of Cyprus, was an early Greek epic that is known to us primarily through quotations and references to passages by later authors, as well as through a prose summary of its plot and contents. Malcolm Davies uses linguistic… Read more

The Tears of Achilles

Warrior, hero, super-male—Achilles, by the protocols of Western culture, should never cry. And yet Homeric epic if full of his tears and those of his companions at Troy. This path-blazing study by Hélène Monsacré shows how later ideals of stoically inexpressive manhood run contrary to the poetic vision presented in… Read more

The Art of Reading: From Homer to Paul Celan

The Art of Reading is the first—long overdue—collection of essays by the French classical philologist and humanist Jean Bollack to be published in English. As the scope of the collection demonstrates, Bollack felt at home thinking in depth about two things that seem starkly different to most other thinkers. We see on the… Read more

Literary History in the Parian Marble

Inscribed some time after 264 BCE, the Parian Marble offers a chronological list of events with an exceptional emphasis on literary matters. Literary History in the Parian Marble explores the literary and historiographical qualities of the inscription, the genre to which it belongs, and the emerging patterns of time. Endorsing the hypothesis… Read more

The Theban Epics

In antiquity, the story of the failed assault of the Seven against Thebes ranked second only to the Trojan War. But whereas the latter was immortalized by Homer’s Iliad, the account of the former in the epic Thebais survives only in fragments preserved in later authors. The same is true of the Oedipodeia and Epigoni, which… Read more

Plato’s Four Muses: The Phaedrus and the Poetics of Philosophy

Plato’s Four Muses reconstructs Plato’s authorial self-portrait through a fresh reading of the Phaedrus, with an Introduction and Conclusion that contextualize the construction more broadly. The Phaedrus, it is argued, is Plato’s most self-referential dialogue, and Plato’s reference to four Muses in Phaedrus 259c–d is read as a hint at the “ingredients” of philosophical discourse,… Read more

Divine yet Human Epics: Reflections of Poetic Rulers from Ancient Greece and India

The central character of Divine Yet Human Epics is the developing conception of epic itself. Its story unfolds as the ancient Greek idea of epic originates with Pindar and Herodotus on the basis of the Iliad and Odyssey. While this notion eventually leads their Sanskrit counterparts, the Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata, to be understood selectively in modern times, medieval… Read more