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Thucydides' War Narrative

A Structural Study

Carolyn Dewald (Author)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 272 pages
ISBN: 9780520241275
February 2006
$85.00, £71.00
Other Formats Available:
As a sustained analysis of the connections between narrative structure and meaning in the History of the Peloponnesian War, Carolyn Dewald's study revolves around a curious aspect of Thucydides' work: the first ten years of the war's history are formed on principles quite different from those shaping the years that follow. Although aspects of this change in style have been recognized in previous scholarship, Dewald has rigorously analyzed how its various elements are structured, used, and related to each other. Her study argues that these changes in style and organization reflect how Thucydides' own understanding of the war changed over time. Throughout, however, the History's narrative structure bears witness to Thucydides' dialogic efforts to depict the complexities of rational choice and behavior on the part of the war's combatants, as well as his own authorial interest in accuracy of representation.

In her introduction and conclusion, Dewald explores some ways in which details of style and narrative structure are central to the larger theoretical issue of history's ability to meaningfully represent the past. She also surveys changes in historiography in the past quarter-century and considers how Thucydidean scholarship has reflected and responded to larger cultural trends.
List of Tables


1. An Overview of the Archidamian Narrative Structure (ii.1–v.24)

2. Introductory Sentences (ii.1–v.24)
Subjects in Introductory Sentences
Verbs in Introductory Sentences
Settings in Introductory Sentences
Time in Introductory Sentences

3. Internal Structure of the Unit of Action (ii.1–v.24)
Developed Picture Units
List Units
Extended Narrative Units
Complex Units

4. Patterns Formed by Units of Action in the Archidamian Narrative (ii.1–v.24)
Significant Juxtaposition
Larger Connections

5. The Years of the Peace (v.25–vi.7): The Unit of Action Changing
Introductory Sentences of Units of Action
Unit Arrangement
Connections among Units
The Narrative of the Years of the Peace

6. Years Seventeen through Twenty-one: The Unit of Action Transformed

7. Some Conclusions: Thucydides' Narrative Structures (ii.1–viii.109)

Appendix A. Narrative Units and Narrative Sections (ii.1–viii)
Appendix B. Introductory Sentences of Units of Action (ii.1–v.24)
Appendix C. Time Formulae in Introductory Sentences (ii.1–viii.109)
Carolyn Dewald, Professor in History and Classics at Bard College, is coauthor of Herodotus: The Histories (1998).
“A groundbreaking study. . . . There is much pleasure for the reader in Dewald’s study, not least the pleasure of discovering Thucydides over again with one of his most careful and quietly authoritative readers.”—Int’l Journal Of The Classical Tradition
“Rigorously comprehensive and detailed analysis.”—New England Classical Journal

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