Speaking from the margins: Paratexts in Greek and Latin poetry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Paratexts of all kinds became more significant as antiquity wore on. The Homeric epics, for example, and Herodotus’ Histories were not originally divided into books; the canonical book divisions were made only in the Hellenistic period. Despite evidence for the spread of paratexts, editors and scholars often ignore them. They do so, in part, because paratexts are inherently unstable texts; and yet, as ephemeral products of their own literary culture, paratexts provide precious evidence for how poetry was read at any given time or place. The first goal of this chapter is to the collate evidence for section headings, illustrations, and prefaces being produced for poetic texts in the East and West in Late Antiquity in Latin and in Greek. The second goal is to compare their use in each tradition and to analyze where the cultures either converged or departed in their use of paratexts. The evidence collated reveals that new paratextual forms appear around the same time in Greek and Latin, but that there are also separate developments in each tradition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGreek and Latin Poetry of Late Antiquity
Subtitle of host publicationForm, Tradition, and Context
EditorsBerenice Verhelst, Tine Scheijnen
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781009033268
ISBN (Print)9781316516058
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • title
  • section heading
  • summary
  • paratext
  • illustration
  • preface
  • intermediality
  • author and audience


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