Book Search:  

 

 
Google full text of our books:

bookjacket

Birth of the Symbol:
Ancient Readers at the Limits of Their Texts
Peter T. Struck

Winner of the 2007 Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit

Paperback | 2014 | $22.95 / £15.95 | ISBN: 9780691162263
Hardcover | 2004 | $65.00 / £44.95 | ISBN: 9780691116976
312 pp. | 6 x 9 | SHOPPING CART

eBook | ISBN: 9781400826094 |
Our eBook editions are available from these online vendors

Reviews | Table of Contents
Introduction[PDF] pdf-icon

Google full text of this book:
 

Nearly all of us have studied poetry and been taught to look for the symbolic as well as literal meaning of the text. Is this the way the ancients saw poetry? In Birth of the Symbol, Peter Struck explores the ancient Greek literary critics and theorists who invented the idea of the poetic "symbol."

The book notes that Aristotle and his followers did not discuss the use of poetic symbolism. Rather, a different group of Greek thinkers--the allegorists--were the first to develop the notion. Struck extensively revisits the work of the great allegorists, which has been underappreciated. He links their interest in symbolism to the importance of divination and magic in ancient times, and he demonstrates how important symbolism became when they thought about religion and philosophy. "They see the whole of great poetic language as deeply figurative," he writes, "with the potential always, even in the most mundane details, to be freighted with hidden messages."

Birth of the Symbol offers a new understanding of the role of poetry in the life of ideas in ancient Greece. Moreover, it demonstrates a connection between the way we understand poetry and the way it was understood by important thinkers in ancient times.

Peter T. Struck is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a fellow at the National Humanities Center.

Review:

"A rich and fascinating account of how the ideas of symbolism and allegorical reading developed over the course of classical antiquity. It is a remarkable achievement."--David Konstan, Literary Imagination

"This book offers a remarkably comprehensive study of ancient symbolic interpretation from the Pre-Socratics to the later Neoplatonists and beyond."--Derek Collins, Classical World

Endorsement:

"This is a challenging yet rewarding journey through a millenium of texts, thoughts, and interpretations. As against the defensive stance taken by most studies of ancient 'allegory,' Peter Struck gives a resolute appraisal of a persistent and accepted way of understanding literature, a method of interpretation which, in opposition to Aristotelian rhetoric, tries to get beyond the limits of the text in order to find a surplus of meaning, to achieve 'more' or 'deeper' insights. This takes him from the beginnings of Greek literature down to the Neoplatonists of Late Antiquity. For the first time, a non-mimetic approach to literary theory becomes possible: 'Divine' poetry is not secondary reproduction of material realities but is to disclose higher forms of being. Struck keeps close to the texts, presented in translation and often in the original language, too, while maintaining a high theoretical level as to language and interpretation in general. His book makes always clear and not seldom exciting reading."--Walter Burkert, author of Creation of the Sacred and Greek Religion

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction
The Genealogy of the Symbolic 1
1 Symbols and Riddles: Allegorical Reading and the Boundaries of the Text 21
2 Beginnings to 300 b.c.e.: Meaning from the Void of Chance and the Silence of the Secret 77
3 From the Head of Zeus: The Birth of the Literary Symbol 111
4 Swallowed Children and Bound Gods: The Diffusion of the Literary Symbol 142
5 300 b.c.e.-200 c.e.: The Symbol as Ontological Signifier 162
6 Iamblichus and the Defense of Ritual: Talismanic Symbols 204
7 Moonstones and Men That Glow: Proclus and the Talismanic Signifier 227
Epilogue
Symbol Traces: Post-Proclean Theories 254
Appendix
Chrysippus's Reading and Authorial Intention: The Case of the Mural at Samos 279
Bibliography of Ancient Authors 283
Bibliography of Modern Authors 285
Index Locorum 297
General Index 311

Subject Areas:

Shopping Cart:

  • For ebooks:

Our eBook editions are available
from these online vendors:

  • Amazon Kindle Store
  • Apple iBooks
  • Barnes & Noble Nook Store
  • Google Play eBook Store
  • Kno eBook Store
  • Kobo eBook Store
  • Many of our ebooks are available through
    library electronic resources including these platforms:

  • Books at JSTOR
  • Ebrary
  • Ebook Library
  • EBSCO Ebooks
  • MyiLibrary
  • Dawsonera (UK)

  • Shopping Cart:

    • For hardcover/paperback orders:

      For hardcover/paperback orders in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

      Paperback: $22.95 ISBN: 9780691162263

      Hardcover: $65.00 ISBN: 9780691116976

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

      Paperback: £15.95 ISBN: 9780691162263

      Add to shopping cart

      Hardcover: £44.95 ISBN: 9780691116976

      Add to shopping cart

      Prices subject to change without notice

      File created: 9/23/2014

    Questions and comments to: webmaster@press.princeton.edu
    Princeton University Press

    New Book E-mails
    New In Print
    PUP Blog
    Videos/Audios
    Princeton APPS
    Sample Chapters
    Subjects
    Series
    Catalogs
    Princeton Legacy Library
    Textbooks
    Media/Reviewers
    Class Use
    Rights/Permissions
    Ordering
    Recent Awards
    Princeton Shorts
    Freshman Reading
    PUP Europe
    About Us
    Contact Us
    Links
    F.A.Q.
    PUP Home


    Bookmark and Share
    Send me emails
    about new books in:
    Classics
    Poetry
    More Choices
    Email:
    Country:
    Name: