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Durham e-Theses
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The Bookish Turn: Assessing the Impact of the Book-Roll on Authorial Self- Representation in Early Hellenistic Poetry

CHESTERTON, BARNABY (2016) The Bookish Turn: Assessing the Impact of the Book-Roll on Authorial Self- Representation in Early Hellenistic Poetry. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



My thesis takes its start from the oft-used description of Hellenistic poetry as ‘bookish’, but looks beyond the connotations of this label as denoting a milieu which was self-consciously intellectual, and instead considers the more fundamental ramifications of the designation: that Hellenistic poetry was bookish in its form, as much as in outlook. To consider the implications of this, I focus upon a period, and a significant poetic topos, wherein the effects of the book-roll can be most keenly discerned, assessing the impact of the medium upon authorial self- representations - particularly in the construction of authorial personae - undertaken in early Hellenistic poetry (c.323-246 BC).

In Part I of the thesis, I assess the evolution of authorial self-representation in epigram, charting developments from the inscribed form of the genre through to the book-epigram collections of the Hellenistic period: I argue that the author acquired a newfound prominence in this medial transition, asserting their presence as a voice within the text as opposed to a figure situated strictly in antecedence to it. I demonstrate this through analyses of Posidippus, Callimachus, Nossis, Asclepiades, and the epigrams ascribed to Erinna, and suggest that we repeatedly observe authors undertaking composite processes of self-representation, as a direct result of the composite context of the book-roll.

In Part II of the thesis, I examine the Mimiambs of Herodas. Through the analysis of Mimiamb 8 (in which Herodas constructs an authorial persona, and defines his poetic programme) in conjunction with an appraisal of the metapoetic dimension of the other Mimiambs, I assess the manner in which Herodas undertakes a complex, intertextual process of self-representation. Arguing that the author reflects upon the generic and medial innovations of his poetic practice across his corpus, I demonstrate that this process of reflection complements Herodas’ overt authorial self-representation in Mimiamb 8.

In summary, I argue that the impact of the book-roll on authorial self-representation was wide- ranging, but that the most significant consequence of the medium was the evolution of authorial self-representation as a composite, roll-spanning activity.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Classics; Ancient Greek Literature; Hellenistic Poetry; Self-Representation; History of the Book; Persona Studies; Identity; Authorship; Writing; Book-Rolls; Epigram; Callimachus; Posidippus; Asclepiades; Nossis; Erinna; Herodas
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Classics and Ancient History, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:03 Jan 2017 09:20

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