Matrices of Genre: Authors, Canons, and Society
edited by Mary Depew and Dirk Obbink
Harvard University Press, 2000
eISBN: 978-0-674-03420-4 | Cloth: 978-0-674-00338-5
Library of Congress Classification PA39.M38 2000
Dewey Decimal Classification 880.09


The literary genres given shape by the writers of classical antiquity are central to our own thinking about the various forms literature takes. Examining those genres, the essays collected here focus on the concept and role of the author and the emergence of authorship out of performance in Greece and Rome.

In a fruitful variety of ways the contributors to this volume address the questions: what generic rules were recognized and observed by the Greeks and Romans over the centuries; what competing schemes were there for classifying genres and accounting for literary change; and what role did authors play in maintaining and developing generic contexts? Their essays look at tragedy, epigram, hymns, rhapsodic poetry, history, comedy, bucolic poetry, prophecy, Augustan poetry, commentaries, didactic poetry, and works that "mix genres."

The contributors bring to this analysis a wide range of expertise; they are, in addition to the editors, Glenn W. Most, Joseph Day, Ian Rutherford, Deborah Boedeker, Eric Csapo, Marco Fantuzzi, Stephanie West, Alessandro Barchiesi, Ineke Sluiter, Don Fowler, and Stephen Hinds. The essays are drawn from a colloquium at Harvard's Center for Hellenic Studies.

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