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Title: Greek declamation in context
Author: Guast, William Edward
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 5824
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis looks at the genre of Greek declamation in the second and third centuries of the Common Era. Communis opinio sees the genre as 'nostalgic', a chance for Greeks dissatisfied with their political powerlessness under Rome to 'escape' to the glorious classical past of a free Greece. I argue, by contrast, that despite its famous classicism of language and theme, Greek declamation remains firmly anchored in the present of the Roman empire, and has much to say to that present. The thesis explores in three sections three contemporary contexts in which to read the genre. Each section is made up of two chapters, the first of which examines the context in question and reconstructs the sort of reading process it requires, while the second illustrates and explores that reading process through extended examples. In the first section (chapters one and two), Greek declamation is read in the context of the extraordinary developments in rhetorical theory that were taking place in this period: I argue that the reading of declamation through rhetorical theory was more widespread than has hitherto been appreciated, and that the relationship between theory and practice in declamation should ultimately be seen as dialogic. In the second and third sections (chapters three to six), the genre is read in its contemporary context more broadly. In the second section (chapters three to four), I explore how we might read declamation as 'mythology', that is, as a sort of safe space for exploring major contemporary concerns. In the third section, I make the case for 'metalepsis' in declamation, which I define as a breaking of the boundaries between a declamation and its immediate performance context, used above all by declaimers to talk about themselves and their careers, and also frequently to make reference to their audience.
Supervisor: Elsner, Jaś Sponsor: Stavros Niarchos Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Recitations ; Greek literature--History and criticism ; Rhetoric ; Ancient