Find a copy in the library
Finding libraries that hold this item...
|Genre/Form:||Criticism, interpretation, etc|
|Material Type:||Government publication, State or province government publication|
|All Authors / Contributors:||
|ISBN:||9780299248246 0299248240 9780299248239 0299248232|
|Description:||x, 158 pages ; 23 cm.|
|Contents:||The backward glance --
Myself sick --
Latin decomposition --
The erasable Cicero --
The surface of the page --
The folded page.
|Series Title:||Wisconsin studies in classics.|
Butler begins with some considerations about the materiality of the literary text, both as a process (the draft) and a product (the book), and he traces the curious history of "the page" from scroll to manuscript codex to printed book and beyond. He then offers a series of unforgettable portraits of authors at work: Thucydides struggling to describe his own diseased body; Vergil ready to burn an epic poem he could not finish; Lucretius wrestling with words even as he fights the madness that will drive him to suicide; Cicero mesmerized by the thought of erasing his entire career; Seneca plumbing the depths of the soul in the wax of his tablets; and Dhuoda, who sees the book she writes as a door, a tunnel, a womb. Butler reveals how the work of writing transformed each of these authors into his or her own first reader, and he explains what this metamorphosis teaches us about how we too should read. All Greek and Latin quotations are translated into English and technical matters are carefully explained for general readers, with scholarly details in the notes.
"A learned, moving essay in humane literary and cultural criticism. Brilliantly written, The Matter of the Page takes our own sense of reading and writing and relates it to the work of past writers and readers, showing in fascinatingly different ways how authors as diverse as Thucydides, Vergil, and Dhuoda transcended both their own mortality and the limits of material culture."--James Tatum, Dartmouth College.
"Innovative both stylistically and methodologically, Butler's outstanding book has the feel of a dual elegy--for the author, whom it seeks to resuscitate as more than an abstract theoretical concept, and for the vanishing (or at least de-materializing) page in an ever accelerating digital universe. The Matter of the Page should appeal broadly, from anyone interested in the history of the book to classicists, medievalists, and literary comparatists."--James I. Porter, University of California, Irvine --Book Jacket.
This is both a playful and a serious book that opens many doors onto the texts it studies. Students of classical literature and of the history of the book should be glad for the openings. "Bryn Mawr