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Aesopic Conversations:
Popular Tradition, Cultural Dialogue, and the Invention of Greek Prose
Leslie Kurke

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"Kurke's . . . approach to the text(s) of the Life of Aesop [is] groundbreaking and sophisticated. While there have been a number of valuable studies of the Life of Aesop in recent decades, few have attempted to grapple in earnest with the specific challenges posed by its anonymity, textual multiplicity, and popular character."--Jeremy B. Lefkowitz, Phoenix

"Kurke's is a very distinctive voice. Her scholarship is always trenchant, thoughtful, and articulate. Her argument is clear, even when intricate and extended, and it has no Aesopic aggressions or sleights of hand. . . . There is much to admire and enjoy here."--Simon Goldhill, Classical World

"Aesopic Conversations is a brilliant book overall, rich in specialized information, and drawing on accurate data and references."--Filomena Vasconcelos, European Legacy


"Leslie Kurke is one of the sharpest and most original scholars of ancient Greek literary culture writing today. Informed, intellectually precise, and always engaged, her work has long been a pleasure and an education. Here she brings all of her considerable theoretical experience to the life and work of that least refined of ancient authors: Aesop. A hick, a foreigner, a slave, Aesop speaks with no kind of authority and yet by all accounts he is wise. Kurke takes this central conundrum as the starting point for a wide-ranging exploration of what it means in ancient Greek culture to be highbrow or lowbrow, gold or dross. Along the way there are some surprising diversions, numerous clever insights, and quite a lot of sophisticated and not so sophisticated fun."--James Davidson, University of Warwick

Aesopic Conversations is a masterpiece. Breathtakingly original, the book illuminates the dynamics of the Aesopic tradition and the intellectual history of Greece. It succeeds in showing that the seemingly marginal figure of Aesop, a fable-telling alleged criminal and itinerant slave, had a central role in the invention of a fundamental medium for all of Western history--serious nonfictional prose."--Richard P. Martin, Stanford University

"This brilliant and exciting book revises major parts of ancient Greek cultural and literary history by revealing the important influence of the Aesopic tradition. Kurke tackles big issues and treats topics with thoroughness and nuance."--William Hansen, professor emeritus, Indiana University

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File created: 4/21/2017

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