This study explores a previously uncharted area of ancient literary theory and criticism: the ancient landscapes (such as the Ilissus river in Athens and Mount Helicon) that generate metaphors for distinguishing styles, which dovetail with ancient conceptions of metaphor as itself spatial and mobile. Ancient writers most often coordinate stylistic features with country settings, where authoritative performers such as Muses, poets, and eventually critics or theorists view, appropriate, and emulate their bounties (for example springs, flowers, rivers, paths). These spaces of metaphor and their elaborations provide poets and critics with a vivid means of distinguishing among styles and an influential vocabulary. Together these figurative terrains shape critical and theoretical discussions in Greece and beyond. Since this discourse has a remarkably wide reach, the book is broad in scope, ranging from archaic Greek poetry through Roman oratory and 'Longinus' to the reception of critical imagery in Proust and Derrida.
Nancy Worman is Professor of Classics at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is the author of articles and books on style, performance and the body in Greek literature and culture, such as Abusive Mouths in Classical Athens (Cambridge University Press, 2008). Most recently she has published articles on the aesthetics of tragic embodiment and co-edited Space, Place, and Landscape in Ancient Greek Literature and Culture (with Kate Gilhuly, Cambridge University Press, 2014).
Introduction: dreams of order; 1. Mimesis, style, and the spaces of metaphor; 2. Rural resources: Hesiod, Pindar, and establishing poetic dominion; 3. On the road: charting the path of literary judgment in Aristophanes; 4. Rural retreats: staking philosophy's terrain in Plato; 5. Diaspora: journeys and idylls in Hellenistic poetry; 6. On the road again: Demetrius and fellow travelers on aesthetic re-routings; 7. In Plato's garden: reordering the retreat in Cicero and Dionysius of Halicarnassus; Epilogue: dreaming in the garden with Proust.