- Scale, Space and Canon in Ancient Literary Culture
As part of its Classical Dialogues series, the Classical Studies Graduate Program CLST at Columbia University is pleased to welcome Reviel Netz, Patrick Suppes Professor of Greek Mathematics and Astronomy at Stanford University. On November 18, 11am-1pm, Reviel Netz will discuss his book Scale, Space and Canon in Ancient Literary Culture (Cambridge UP, 2020), an exploration of cultural formation (both general and specific) in the ancient world. Introduction by Marcus Folch (Columbia University) with commentators Abby Breuker (Columbia University) and Shenda Kuang (Columbia University). Location: Hamilton Hall 507, Columbia University.
Greek culture matters because its unique pluralistic debate shaped modern discourses. This ground-breaking book explains this feature by retelling the history of ancient literary culture through the lenses of canon, space and scale. It proceeds from the invention of the performative 'author' in the archaic symposium through the 'polis of letters' enabled by Athenian democracy and into the Hellenistic era, where one's space mattered and culture became bifurcated between Athens and Alexandria. This duality was reconfigured into an eclectic variety consumed by Roman patrons and predicated on scale, with about a thousand authors active at any given moment. As patronage dried up in the third century CE, scale collapsed and literary culture was reduced to the teaching of a narrower field of authors, paving the way for the Middle Ages. The result is a new history of ancient culture which is sociological, quantitative, and all-encompassing, cutting through eras and genres.
In its Classical Dialogues series, the interdepartmental Classical Studies Graduate Program CLST at Columbia University invites authors of recent work in ancient studies that is exemplary for the kind of study that CLST aims to foster. All faculty and students at Columbia and beyond are cordially invited. CLST students are required to read carefully at least one chapter or article in advance and prepare questions and comments for discussion.