Cover image for Classical literature : an epic journey from Homer to Virgil and beyond
Title:
Classical literature : an epic journey from Homer to Virgil and beyond
Author:
Jenkyns, Richard, author.
ISBN:
9780465097975
Personal Author:
Physical Description:
xi, 270 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"First published in the United Kingdom in 2015 by the Penguin Book Group"--Title-page verso.
Contents:
Homer -- Archaic Greece -- The rise of tragedy and history -- The later fifth century -- The fourth century -- The Hellenistic Age -- The Roman Republic -- Virgil -- The Augustan Age -- After the Augustans -- Two novels.
Abstract:
"The writings of the Greeks and Romans form the bedrock of Western culture. Inventing the molds for histories, tragedies, and philosophies, while pioneering radical new forms of epic and poetry, the Greeks and Romans created the literary world we still inhabit today. Writing with verve and insight, distinguished classicist Richard Jenkyns explores a thousand years of classical civilization, carrying readers from the depths of the Greek dark ages through the glittering heights of Rome's empire. Jenkyns begins with Homer and the birth of epic poetry before exploring the hypnotic poetry of Pindar, Sappho, and others from the Greek dark ages. Later, in Athens's classical age, Jenkyns shows the radical nature of Sophocles's choice to portray Ajax as a psychologically wounded warrior, how Aeschylus developed tragedy, and how Herodotus, in 'inventing history,' brought to narrative an epic and tragic quality. We meet the strikingly modern figure of Virgil, struggling to mirror epic art in an age of empire, and experience the love poems of Catullus, who imbued verse with obsessive passion as never before. Even St. Paul and other early Christian writers are artfully grounded here in their classical literary context. A dynamic and comprehensive introduction to Greek and Roman literature, Jenkyns's Classical Literature is essential reading for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the classics and the extraordinary origins of Western culture."--Publisher website.
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Summary

Summary

The writings of the Greeks and Romans form the bedrock of Western culture. Inventing the molds for histories, tragedies, and philosophies, while pioneering radical new forms of epic and poetry, the Greeks and Romans created the literary world we still inhabit today. Writing with verve and insight, distinguished classicist Richard Jenkyns explores a thousand years of classical civilization, carrying readers from the depths of the Greek dark ages through the glittering heights of Rome's empire.

Jenkyns begins with Homer and the birth of epic poetry before exploring the hypnotic poetry of Pindar, Sappho, and others from the Greek dark ages. Later, in Athens's classical age, Jenkyns shows the radical nature of Sophocles's choice to portray Ajax as a psychologically wounded warrior, how Aeschylus developed tragedy, and how Herodotus, in "inventing history," brought to narrative an epic and tragic quality. We meet the strikingly modern figure of Virgil, struggling to mirror epic art in an age of empire, and experience the love poems of Catullus, who imbued verse with obsessive passion as never before. Even St. Paul and other early Christian writers are artfully grounded here in their classical literary context.

A dynamic and comprehensive introduction to Greek and Roman literature, Jenkyns's Classical Literature is essential reading for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the classics -- and the extraordinary origins of Western culture.

"There is scarcely anything on which he does not offer an original aperç sometimes illuminating, sometimes simply provocative, but always worth reading... Jenkyns's view of ancient literature is Olympian." -- G.W. Bowersock, The New York Review of Books


Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. vii
Prefacep. vii
Chapter 1 Homerp. 1
Chapter 2 Archaic Greecep. 23
Chapter 3 The Rise of Tragedy and Historyp. 43
Chapter 4 The Later Fifth Centuryp. 67
Chapter 5 The Fourth Centuryp. 89
Chapter 6 The Hellenistic Agep. 103
Chapter 7 The Roman Republicp. 119
Chapter 8 Virgilp. 149
Chapter 9 The Augustan Agep. 173
Chapter 10 After the Augustansp. 201
Chapter 11 Two Novelsp. 233
Chapter 12 Epiloguep. 243
Notesp. 247
Indexp. 261