By Michael von Albrecht, Gareth L. Schmeling

Michael von Albrecht's A historical past of Roman Literature, initially released in German, can rightly be noticeable because the lengthy awaited counterpart to Albin Lesky's Geschichte der Griechischen Literatur. In what is going to most likely be the final survey made by way of a unmarried student the complete of Latin literature from Livius Andronicus as much as Boethius comes to the fore. 'Literature' is taken right here in its wide, old feel, and consequently additionally contains e.g. rhetoric, philosophy and heritage. targeted recognition has been given to the effect of Latin literature on next centuries right down to our personal days. vast indices supply entry to this monument of studying. The introductions in Von Albrecht's texts, including the massive bibliographies make extra learn either extra fruitful and straightforward.

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Extra resources for A History of Roman Literature: From Livius Andronicus to Boethius : With Special Regard to Its Influence on World Literature (Mnemosyne, Bibliotheca Classica Batava Supplementum)

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Suas. 3. 7, describing Ovid's relationship to Virgil); s. now: A. S E E L E , R ö m i s c h e Übersetzer. N ö t e , Freiheiten, Absichten. Verfahren des literarischen Übersetzens in der griechisch­ römischen Antike, Darmstadt 1995. 14 CONDITIONS O F T H E RISE O F ROMAN L I T E R A T U R E imitation o f Greek models was creditable, whereas borrowing from Latin predecessors was labeled as theft. W i t h the formation o f genu­ ine Roman traditions, however, a change took place. V i r g i l , for i n ­ stance, was also competing w i t h earlier Latin epic poets such as Naevius and Ennius.

Even where moraliz­ ing was ridiculed, a system o f moral values was still presupposed. The comedy o f 'howlers' can only be appreciated against the back­ ground o f a marked awareness o f conventions. 1 The social situation therefore encouraged development i n different directions. O n the one hand, it demanded that what was to be learned should be reduced to essentials, which would stand the test o f Roman gravitas. O n the other, it allowed to construct an independent world of aesthetic and intellectual values, thus leading literature towards self-awareness.

T h e mutual interaction o f fixed and variable elements keeps a literary genre alive. The withering o f a branch o f literature may be avoided by a timely introduction o f new models, materials or principles o f form. Thus, by means o f rhetoric, O v i d and Lucan enlivened epic, and Seneca renewed tragedy. The standard example o f a genre i n which variable elements domi­ nate at least at first glance is satire; even i f we consider subject matter alone, this genre allowed for an almost limitless variety.

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