From Polypragmon to Curiosus Ancient Concepts of Curious and Meddlesome

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-06-10
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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From Polypragmon to Curiosusis a study of how Greek and Latin writers describe curious, meddlesome, and exaggerated behavior. Founded on a detailed investigation of a family of Greek terms, often treated as synonymous with each other, and of the Latin words used to describe them, opening chapters survey how they were used in Greek literature from the 5th and 4th centuries BC, moving onto their Latin usage and relationship to that of Hellenistic and imperial Greek. Other chapters adopt a more thematic approach and consider how words, such as polypramon, periergos, philopragmon, and curiosus, are employed in descriptions of the world of knowledge opened up by empire - in discourses of pious and impious curiosity, in reflections on what constitutes useful and useless learning, and in descriptions of style. The themes which the volume addresses remain alive throughout the literature of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, most obviously through emblematic figures of human curiosity, such as Dante's Ulisse and Marlowe's Dr Faustus.

Author Biography

Matthew Leigh is Fellow and Tutor in Classical Languages and Literature at St Anne's College, Oxford. He is author of Lucan: Spectacle and Engagement (1997) and Comedy and the Rise of Rome (2004), as well as numerous articles on Greek and Latin literature and culture.

Table of Contents

1. Polypragmosyne and Periergia from Thucydides to Theophrastus
2. Translating Polypragmosyne
3. Polypragmosyne and Empire
4. Polypragmosyne and the Divine
5. Polypragmosyne, Periergia, and the Language of Criticism
Index Rerum et Nominum
Index Locorum

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