Handbook of Latin literature

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Handbook of Latin literature

Post by BartekStepien » Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:54 pm

Hello All :),
I'm a newbie here, so it is time to say a few words about myself : I am a student of classics in Cracow (Poland), and what's surprising I am keen on reading about classical literature (just a joke, 'tis obvious :lol: ). Nonetheless, I would like to ask you, Dear Colleagues, what handbook of Latin literature would you recommend. I am working on HJ Rose Handbook and it is quite good, though I find two things interesting : it was written in 1934 (so some new theories might have arrived since then) and it constantly refers the reader to Martin Shanz Geschichte der Römischen litteratur (unfortunately, it is in german and right now I am not able to read in german). So, I would also like to ask you, whether HJ Rose work and Martin Schanz work are still up to date and whether there are any other handbooks worth looking at. Thanks in advance :) !

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Re: Handbook of Latin literature

Post by al123 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:27 pm


I stumbled on your post and looked up the Schanz books. It's a very big work. five big volumes. The writing seems good, though I have no way of knowing have much might be outdated. Many small chapters on authors and individual works with quotes. Translated a small piece about a mostly lost work:

"...besides the encyclopedia, a related work by Cato is the "carmen de moribus", which is wrongly considered part of the encyclopedia. Unfortunately this "Book of sayings on the customs" is only known in part. Only one author, Gellius, mentions it and gives us three prosaic sentences from the work. It is unknown whether or not the book of sayings contained 'speech bound by rules of rhetoric',though it is in fact unlikely. In this work the practical wisdom of Cato could shine forth even more clearly than was the case with the encyclopedia. One of the preserved sentences gives a characterization of human life:
"Human life is like iron, work wears it down; if you do not work with it, rust will take care of it. Likewise we see people wear themselves down by working. If one does not work, dullness and lethargy will do more damage than work"" vol 1. p. 246.

Best regards.

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Re: Handbook of Latin literature

Post by rmedinap » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:12 pm

Well, the bad news is that almost all important bibliography in classics is in German. There are some translations though.

Michael von Albrecht's A History of Roman Literature is excellent. He's probably the most important Latinist alive.

Gian Biagio Conte's Latin Literature. I've only consulted it twice with great delight. He's Italy's leading Latinist and Teubner's editor if Virgil. Plus Glenn W. Most helped in the translation.

In English can only recommend Kenney & Clausen's 2nd Volume of The Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Latin Literature.

And Harrison's A Companion to Latin Literature.

When you do learn German you'll be able con consult more bibliography in the fantastic introduction books:

Riemer, Weißenberger & Zimmermann. Einführung in das Studium der Latinistik (Book excellent for beginners)

Graf. Einleitung in die lateinische Philologie. (Massive book with excellent surveys of all pertinent subjects, the chapters on the Augustan and Imperial Literature were written by Gian Biagio Conte).

Fuhrmann. Geschichte der römischen Literatur.

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