Ancient Greek Literature

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Polity Press, 2004 - Literary Collections - 284 pages
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In this book, Tim Whitmarsh offers an innovative new introduction to ancient Greek literature. The volume integrates cutting-edge cultural theory with the latest research in classical scholarship, providing a comprehensive, sophisticated and accessible account of literature from Homer to late antiquity.


Whitmarsh offers new readings of some of the best-known and most influential authors of Greek antiquity, including Sophocles, Euripides, Herodotus, Aristophanes and Plato, as well as introducing many lesser-known figures. Unlike conventional narrative histories, this volume focuses on the profound effects of literature within Greek society. Whitmarsh shows that literature, distributed via a range of social institutions, such as festivals, theatres, symposia and book production, played an important role in the legitimization – and challenging – of ideologies of gender, class and cultural identity. The volume also addresses the legacy of Greek literature: how the Victorian cult of Hellenism and its successors have structured the reception of ancient texts, and how and why the modern West has adopted the Greeks as its ancestors.


This book will be important reading for undergraduates, in their first year and above, of ancient Greek literature and culture. All texts in the volume are translated, and no knowledge of ancient Greek literature is assumed.

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About the author (2004)

Tim Whitmarsh is a reader in Greek Literature at the University of Exeter

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