Classical Literature: An Epic Journey from Homer to Virgil and Beyond

Classical Literature: An Epic Journey from Homer to Virgil and Beyond

by Richard Jenkyns

Hardcover(First US Edition)

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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 aperçu 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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465097975
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 03/01/2016
Edition description: First US Edition
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 566,800
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 12.00(h) x 3.60(d)

About the Author

Richard Jenkyns is an emeritus professor of the classical tradition and the Public Orator at the University of Oxford. The author of many books, including Virgil's Experience and The Victorians and Ancient Greece, he lives in Oxford, England.

Table of Contents

1. Homer
2. Archaic Greece
3. The Rise of Tragedy and History
4. The Later Fifth Century
5. The Fourth Century
6. The Hellenistic Age
7. The Roman Republic
8. Virgil
9. The Augustan Age
10. After the Augustans
11. Two Novels
12. Epilogue

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