Landscape and the Spaces of Metaphor in Ancient Literary Theory and Criticism
7 Jan 2016
This study explores a previously uncharted area of ancient literary theory and criticism: the ancient landscapes (such as the Ilissus river in Athens and Mount Helicon) that generate metaphors for distinguishing styles, which dovetail with ancient conceptions of metaphor as itself spatial and mobile. Ancient writers most often coordinate stylistic features with country settings, where authoritative performers such as Muses, poets, and eventually critics or theorists view, appropriate, and emulate their bounties (for example springs, flowers, rivers, paths). These spaces of metaphor and their elaborations provide poets and critics with a vivid means of distinguishing among styles and an influential vocabulary. Together these figurative terrains shape critical and theoretical discussions in Greece and beyond. Since this discourse has a remarkably wide reach, the book is broad in scope, ranging from archaic Greek poetry through Roman oratory and 'Longinus' to the reception of critical imagery in Proust and Derrida.