Prose Rhythm in Latin Literature of the Roman Empire - First Century B.c. to Fourth Century A.d

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This study provides a comprehensive assessment of the ancient and modern evidence on Latin prose rhythm in a single volume. Any student of ancient rhythmical style will find very useful the extended excursuses on the theories of Greek and Roman rhetoricians and literary critics, and will be well served by the detailed discussions and explanations of the complex methodologies crafted by German, French, Russian, Italian, British, and American scholars since 1881 to analyze prose rhythm.


“…knowledge only advances when a scholar of great ability and courage sets out to clean the Augean stables, discarding what doesn’t work, clarifying what does, and directing the attention of others to the tasks that remain. The bibliography of this book, thorough and authoritative, suggests that the scholar most ready for this Herculean labor is Steven Oberhelman, whose work in this area over the last 20 years has already given us a book and series of articles that cover many important aspects of the field. The book we have before us is built on those specialized studies, but provides the overview that the field so desperately needs. As always, Oberhelman’s presentation is straightforward, clear, and persuasive, sifting through masses of conflicting evidence with confidence and tact….Oberhelman’s efforts have cleared away more of the mess than anyone would have anticipated and provide solid, sensible suggestions for how the process might continue.” – Craig Kallendorf, College Station, Texas

“Oberhelman offers a meticulous and persuasive description of the redundant, confused and confusing terminologies that ancient rhetoricians used (and needless elaborated and propagated) in their efforts to explain ‘colometry.’ Having demonstrated the inadequacies of this ancient evidence, he then surveys the competing (and conflicting) versions of colometry devised by later theorists, and shows in patient detail how, one and all, they constructed their own models of colometry (not a few of them ingenious), which, relying as they had to on the ancient terminologies, ended by compounding the errors they were meant to correct. This is a brilliant reformulation of the problems of colometry; it lays to rest the most formidable of the ghosts that have haunted and hampered the study of Latin prose style, and it points new investigators in promising directions.” – Prof. W. Ralph Johnson, Distinguished Professor of Classics, University of Chicago

Table of Contents

Table of Contents (main headings):
Preface; Foreword
1. Terminology and the Nature of Prose Rhythm: Definition and Types (metrical cadences; accentual cadences; Cursus Mixtus); The Clausula; Internal Rhythm; Periodic Style; The Kolon; The Komma
2. Ancient Discussions of Prose Rhythm: Rhetoricians and Literary Critics (Aristotle; Theophrastus; Cicero; Dionysius of Halicarnassus; Quintilian; Hermogenes; Martianus Capella); Grammarians (Terentianus Maurus; Sacerdos; “Cassius Bassus”; “Probus Minor”; Diomedes; Others)
3. Modern Theories on Roman Prose Rhythm: Non-comparative Studies (Wüst, Norden, and Wolff; Meyer and Di Santi; Laurand; Blass and May; Zander; Havet; Zielinski; Bayard and Charpin); Comparative Studies – External Method (Bornecque; De Groot; Hagendahl; Oberhelman; Aumont); Comparative Studies – Internal Method (Novotny; Broadhead; Primmer; Dangel; Aili)
4. Colometry and Internal Rhythm: Fraenkel; Hijmans; Zernial; Habinek, Sträterhoff. Appendix – Zielinski and Sträterhoff on the Colometric Structure of Cicero’s De imperio Cn. Pompeii
5. A Survey of Prose Rhythms in Roman Literature
6. Conclusions
Bibliography of Works Cited;
Index of Ancient Passages Cited; Index of Modern Scholars; General Index

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