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Friday, November 17, 2006

REVIEW of Kathryn Gutzwiller (ed.), The New Posidippus. A Hellenistic Poetry Book.

Kathryn Gutzwiller (ed.), The New Posidippus. A Hellenistic Poetry Book. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Pp. 394. ISBN 0-19-926781-2. £50.00.

Reviewed by Antonios Rengakos, Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki
Word count: 2502 words

"This collective volume includes 14 contributions presented at a 2002 international conference on the "New" Posidippus, i.e. on the 112 epigrams preserved in the recently published P. Mil. Vogl. VIII 309 papyrus, as well as the translation of all the poet's 132 extant epigrams by Frank Nisetich. The papyrus is one of the most important Greek literary finds of the last decades. Unsurprisingly, its publication, in an excellent edition by Guido Bastianini, Claudio Gallazzi and Colin Austin, has already generated a voluminous bibliography. It is worth noting outright that the volume, edited by K. Gutzwiller, is the most rewarding fruit of this crop, offering several highly stimulating and innovative studies. As indicated by the subtitle of the volume (A Hellenistic Poetry Book), they deal with a major issue that has been exercising scholars since the publication of the papyrus, namely the construction of a poetry book not long after the poet's time. The papyrus is dated to the second half of the third century BC, just a few short decades following Posidippus' death. Should its epigrams be viewed as a compilation that may be traced, directly or indirectly, back to the poet himself, or have they been compiled by a more or less skilled and learned editor? The other major and originally much discussed question posited by the papyrus, whether all the poems
should be attributed to Posidippus, i.e. the question of authenticity, is apparently of no major concern to the contributors of the volume. They all subscribe to the communis opinio, which attributes all poems to the Macedonian epigrammatist." more

Contents (from OUP's site)
1. Introduction , Kathryn Gutzwiller
2. The Poems of Posidippus , Frank Nisetich
I. Papyrus Rolls, Readers, and Editors
3. Back from the Dead with Posidippus , Colin Austin
4. The Posidippus Papyrus: Bookroll and Reader , William Johnson
5. The Editor's Toolbox: Strategies for Selection and Presentation in the Milan Epigram Papyrus , Nita Krevans
6. New Old Posidippus and Old New Posidippus: From Occasion to Edition in the `Epigrams' , Dirk Obbink
II. A Book in Sections
7. The Politics and Poetics of Geography in the Milan Posidippus, Section One: In Stones , Peter Bing
8. Cabinet Fit for a Queen: The `Lithika' as Posidippus' Gem Museum , Ann Kuttner
9. Posidippus on Weather Signs and the Tradition of Didactic Poetry , David Sider
10. Posidippus and the Truth in Sculpture , Andrew Stewart
11. The Art of Poetry and the Poetry of Art: The Unity and Poetics of Posidippus' Statue-Poems , Alexander Sens
III. Posidippus in a Ptolemaic Context
12. Battle of the Books , Susan Stephens
13. `Posidippus' at Court: The Contribution of the `Hippika' of P. Mil. Volg. VIII. 309 to the Ideology of Ptolemaic Kingship , Marco Fantuzzi
14. Posidippus, Poet of the Ptolemies , Dorothy J. Thompson
IV. A Hellenistic Book and its Literary Context
15. The Literariness of the Milan Papyrus, or What Difference a Book? , Kathryn Gutzwiller
16. The Search for the Perfect Book: A PS to the New Posidippus , Alessandro Barchiesi


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