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Title: Wonder and the marvellous from Homer to the Hellenistic world
Author: Lightfoot, Jessica
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 6776
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis is the first serious examination of the significance of wonder and the marvellous as a category of experience in the Greek world from Homer to the early Hellenistic period. I argue that wonder and wonders, far from being a tangential concern of the Greek literary tradition, constitute a constant and central theme in Greek culture. Over the course of the thesis I examine texts from a range of literary genres (for example, early Greek hexameter poetry, tragedy, comedy, historiography, philosophy, oratory, Hellenistic paradoxographical collections) to present a diachronic view of the place of wonder and the marvellous in relation to several key Greek cultural themes. I show that wonder is an important term of aesthetic response in the Greek world; that it occupies a central position in concepts of what philosophy and literature are and do; that it becomes a means of expressing the manner in which the realms of the human and divine interrelate with one another; and that it is central to the articulation of the ways in which the relationships between self and other, near and far, and familiar and unfamiliar were conceived. Moreover, this thesis is the first attempt to analyse the sources and literary models that helped to underpin, thematically, structurally and ideologically, the ancient literary mode of paradoxography ('marvel-writing') which emerged fully in the Hellenistic period. It provides a much needed starting point for the production of re-assessments of the impact of wonder as a literary critical and cultural concept in later periods and contexts.
Supervisor: Budelmann, Felix Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available