By Michael von Albrecht, Gareth L. Schmeling
Michael von Albrecht's A background of Roman Literature, initially released in German, can rightly be obvious because the lengthy awaited counterpart to Albin Lesky's Geschichte der Griechischen Literatur. In what's going to most likely be the final survey made by means of a unmarried student the complete of Latin literature from Livius Andronicus as much as Boethius comes to the fore. 'Literature' is taken the following in its extensive, vintage experience, and for that reason additionally contains e.g. rhetoric, philosophy and heritage. targeted cognizance has been given to the impression of Latin literature on next centuries right down to our personal days. wide indices provide entry to this monument of studying. The introductions in Von Albrecht's texts, including the massive bibliographies make additional research either extra fruitful and simple.
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Extra info 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)
The practice o f reading aloud affected the form o f texts. T h r o u g h public readings—and even more through theatrical presentations—literature could reach even the uneducated. O f all literary genres, it is Roman drama therefore which perhaps enjoyed the widest dissemination and contributed most to public awareness o f Greek culture. I t is all the more regrettable then that all that remains o f early Latin tragic poetry are fragments. 2 1 I n this the effect of literary theory and rhetoric on the creativity of the authors must neither be neglected nor overestimated.
The same mentality is observable even i n lyric. A n influential scholar wrote: A n c i e n t poetry never knew a fxr| 6v i n the strict meaning o f that term, that is, an imaginary product o f pure phantasy, devoid o f any reality. " D i d not Goethe find i n Horace 'frightful reality without any genuine poetry'? Actually, this is one o f the differences between Horatian and modern poetry. Yet Roman literature offers to us anything but a trivial stereotype o f reality. 2 This typically Roman preoccupation with concrete details, which the sensitive reader could perceive as a sort o f alphabet, does not render their literature easily accessible.
Thus, during the course of Roman literary history, poetry discovered its identity by way o f reflection. The Roman public's contribution to this development should not be underrated. I t offered far more than material conditions, the Latin language and its concepts o f value. A culture still 'young' re ceived from the hands of an older civilization the phenomenon o f 32 CONDITIONS O F T H E R I S E O F ROMAN L I T E R A T U R E poetry and assimilated it with the seriousness and intensity o f a first encounter.