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The “Second Sophistic” traditionally refers to a period at the height of the Roman Empire’s power that witnessed a flourishing of Greek rhetoric and oratory, and since the 19th century it has often been viewed as a defense of Hellenic civilization against the domination of Rome. This book proposes a very different model. Covering popular fiction, poetry and Greco-Jewish material, it argues for a rich, dynamic, and diverse culture, which cannot be reduced to a simple model of continuity. Shining new light on a series of playful, imaginative texts that are left out of the traditional accounts of Greek literature, Whitmarsh models a more adventurous, exploratory approach to later Greek culture. Beyond the Second Sophistic offers not only a new way of looking at Greek literature from 300 BCE onwards, but also a challenge to the Eurocentric, aristocratic constructions placed on the Greek heritage. Accessible and lively, it will appeal to students and scholars of Greek literature and culture, Hellenistic Judaism, world literature, and cultural theory.
Introduction: Beyond the Second Sophistic and into the Postclassical
PART ONE. FICTION BEYOND THE CANON
1. The “Invention of Fiction”
2. The Romance of Genre
3. Belief in Fiction: Euhemerus of Messene and the Sacred Inscription
4. An I for an I: Reading Fictional Autobiography
5. Metamorphoses of the Ass
6. Addressing Power: Fictional Letters between Alexander and Darius
7. Philostratus’s Heroicus: Fictions of Hellenism
8. Mimesis and the Gendered Icon in Greek Theory and Fiction
PART TWO. POETRY AND PROSE
9. Greek Poets and Roman Patrons in the Late Republic and Early Empire
10. The Cretan Lyre Paradox: Mesomedes, Hadrian, and the Poetics of Patronage
11. Lucianic Paratragedy
12. Quickening the Classics: The Politics of Prose in Roman Greece
PART THREE. BEYOND THE GREEK SOPHISTIC
13. Politics and Identity in Ezekiel’s Exagoge
14. Adventures of the Solymoi
Tim Whitmarsh is Professor of Ancient Literatures, Corpus Christi College, Oxford University.
"Beyond the Second Sophistic is a quietly passionate and intellectually complex book...The world of late ancient Greek literature is a profoundly exciting and deceptive one, and there is no better guide to it working today than Tim Whitmarsh."—Edith Hall Bryn Mawr Classical Review
"Beyond the Second Sophistic is of great importance for anyone currently working on postclassical literature."—Acta Classica
"This collection of essays is a treasure-house of insights, shaped within a sometimes polemical template which will surely shift the discourse and the future of scholarship on imperial Greek literature."—Calum A. Maciver Phoenix
"As the premier authority of Greek literature under Rome, Tim Whitmarsh redefines the literary history of the period and extends a challenge to anyone who would care or dare to follow in his adventurous wake."
—James I. Porter, University of California, Irvine, author of The Origins of Aesthetic Thought in Ancient Greece
"Whitmarsh's forays into the fringes of the canon demonstrate the richness and variety of post-classical culture, as well as the great amount of interest inherent in texts that lie 'beyond the Second Sophistic.' Essential reading."
--Lawrence Kim, Trinity University, author of Homer between History
and Fiction in Imperial Greek Literature
2014 Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit, Society for Classical Studies