The Poetics of Imitation: Anacreon and the Anacreontic Tradition
Western literature knows the anacreontic poems best in the translations and adaptations of such poets as Ronsard, Herrick and Goethe. This collection of poems, once assumed to be the work of Anacreon himself, was considered unworthy of serious attention after the poems were proved to be late Hellenistic and early Roman imitations by anonymous writers. This book, the first full-length treatment of the anacreontic corpus, rejects the assumption that the later poets were trying to pass themselves off as Anacreon, and explores the complex poetics of imitation which inspired anacreontic composition for so many centuries in antiquity. The author begins with a reassessment of Anacreon's own oeuvre, and then discusses the system of selective imitation practiced by the anacreontic poets Individual chapters offer close readings of these sophisticated and allusive poems. the book also explores what light the corpus can shed on ancient literary genres, intertextual influences, and the literary manifestations of symposiastic and erotic ideals in a post-classical society which looks back to an archaic model as its guiding force. The book concludes with a brief look at Byzantine adaptations and the anacreontic renaissance in Europe. A full translation of the anacreontic collection is included as an appendix, and all Greek and Latin is translated to make the work available to those whose primary interest is European literature and the classical tradition. -- publisher description.
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