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Making Men:
Sophists and Self-Presentation in Ancient Rome
Maud W. Gleason

Paperback | 2008 | $39.95 | £32.95 | ISBN: 9780691137346
232 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 1 halftone
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Reviews | Table of Contents

The careers of two popular second-century rhetorical virtuosos offer Maud Gleason fascinating insights into the ways ancient Romans constructed masculinity during a time marked by anxiety over manly deportment. Declamation was an exhilarating art form for the Greeks and bilingual Romans of the Second Sophistic movement, and its best practitioners would travel the empire performing in front of enraptured audiences. The mastery of rhetoric marked the transition to manhood for all aristocratic citizens and remained crucial to a man's social standing. In treating rhetoric as a process of self-presentation in a face-to-face society, Gleason analyzes the deportment and writings of the two Sophists--Favorinus, a eunuch, and Polemo, a man who met conventional gender expectations--to suggest the ways character and gender were perceived.

Physiognomical texts of the era show how intently men scrutinized one another for minute signs of gender deviance in such features as gait, gesture, facial expression, and voice. Rhetoricians trained to develop these traits in a "masculine" fashion. Examining the successful career of Favorinus, whose high-pitched voice and florid presentation contrasted sharply with the traditionalist style of Polemo, Gleason shows, however, that ideal masculine behavior was not a monolithic abstraction. In a highly accessible study treating the semiotics of deportment and the medical, cultural, and moral issues surrounding rhetorical activity, she explores the possibilities of self-presentation in the search for recognition as a speaker and a man.


"There has been a good deal of recent work on gender-construction in the ancient world, and this book is the fresher for not being another contribution by a woman to women's studies, nor even by a man to the fashionable question of masculinity. . . . Making Men is a delightful and illuminating book, and full of surprises for anyone who imagined that the Romans were . . . men who knew exactly what manhood was all about."--Times Literary Supplement

Table of Contents:

List of Abbreviations
Ch. 1 Favorinus and His Statue 3
Ch. 2 Portrait of Polemo: The Deportment of the Public Self 21
Ch. 3 Deportment as Language Physiognomy and the Semiotics of Gender 55
Ch. 4 Aerating the Flesh: Voice Training and the Calisthenics of Gender 82
Ch. 5 Voice and Virility in Rhetorical Writers 103
Ch. 6 Manhood Achieved through Speech: A Eunuch-Philosopher's Self-Fashioning 131
Conclusion 159
A Note on Finding Sources in Translation 169
Select Bibliography 171
Index Locorum 175
General Index 187

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Originally published in 1995

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 Paperback : $39.95 ISBN: 9780691137346

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  • For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

 Paperback  £32.95 ISBN: 9780691137346

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File created: 7/11/2017

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