Variety: The Life of a Roman Concept
The idea of variety may seem too diffuse, obvious, or nebulous to be worth scrutinizing, but modern usage masks the rich history of the term. This book examines the meaning, value, and practice of variety from the vantage point of Latin literature and its reception and reveals the enduring importance of the concept up to the present day.
William Fitzgerald looks at the definition and use of the Latin term varietas and how it has played out in different works and with different authors. He shows that, starting with the Romans, variety has played a key role in our thinking about nature, rhetoric, creativity, pleasure, aesthetics, and empire. From the lyric to elegy and satire, the concept of variety has helped to characterize and distinguish different genres. Arguing that the ancient Roman ideas and controversies about the value of variety have had a significant afterlife up to our own time, Fitzgerald reveals how modern understandings of diversity and choice derive from what is ultimately an ancient concept.
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activity aesthetic ancient appears association attention authors beauty become beginning brings chapter Cicero cites claim collection color comes common Compare concept connection context contrast copia creativity describes discussion distinguishes diversity effect elements epigram example experience fact field follows Gellius Gellius’s genre gives Greek Horace Horace’s human idea important individual instance interesting kind language Latin letters limits literary look lyric Martial means metaphor mind miscellany mixing namely narrative nature nature’s Noctes notes particular passage Plautus play pleasure Pliny Pliny’s poem poet poetic poetry poikilia positive priamel principle produces provides puts quoted reader reading refers reflect relation rerum rhetorical Roman satire seems seen semantic field Seneca sense Silvae single suggests term texts theme things tion translation turn types unity varia varied variegated variety various Vergil whole word writing