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Ancient Egyptian LiteratureTheory and Practice$
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Roland Enmarch and Verena M. Lepper

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265420

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265420.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 08 April 2020

Reading Greek Literature

Reading Greek Literature

Chapter:
(p.25) 3 Reading Greek Literature
Source:
Ancient Egyptian Literature
Author(s):

Thomas A. Schmitz

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265420.003.0003

This chapter looks at Ancient Greek texts as a foil for Ancient Egyptian literature. Scholars who work on cultural products of premodern societies will always be faced with the question whether, by using modern terminology, they are unconsciously importing anachronistic and thus inappropriate concepts into their research. The word ‘literature’ implies literacy, but it is an open question whether the fundamental qualities of writing can reside in texts which have been produced and received as written and read texts. The chapter argues that the awareness of the special quality of literary texts can indeed be found in the earliest Greek texts. It compares the ways in which speaker and addressee are constructed in early oral poetry (such as lyrics and epic) and early written texts (such as epigrams) and argues that there is no clear-cut boundary between the two modes.

Keywords:   Ancient Greek literature, literary theory, orality, literacy, reading

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