Scale, Space and Canon in Ancient Literary Culture (Hardcover)
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Greek culture matters because its unique pluralistic debate shaped modern discourses. This ground-breaking book explains this feature by retelling the history of ancient literary culture through the lenses of canon, space and scale. It proceeds from the invention of the performative 'author' in the archaic symposium through the 'polis of letters' enabled by Athenian democracy and into the Hellenistic era, where one's space mattered and culture became bifurcated between Athens and Alexandria. This duality was reconfigured into an eclectic variety consumed by Roman patrons and predicated on scale, with about a thousand authors active at any given moment. As patronage dried up in the third century CE, scale collapsed and literary culture was reduced to the teaching of a narrower field of authors, paving the way for the Middle Ages. The result is a new history of ancient culture which is sociological, quantitative, and all-encompassing, cutting through eras and genres.