J. Grethlein, Experience and Teleology in Ancient Historiography

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Jonas Grethlein, Experience and Teleology in Ancient Historiography. Futures Past from Herodotus to Augustine, Cambrige, New York, 2013.

Éditeur : Cambridge University Press
431 pages
ISBN : 9781107040281

The past is narrated in retrospect. Historians can either capitalize on the benefit of hindsight and give their narratives a strongly teleological design or they may try to render the past as it was experienced by historical agents and contemporaries. This book explores the fundamental tension between experience and teleology in major works of Greek and Roman historiography, biography and autobiography. The combination of theoretical reflections with close readings yields a new, often surprising assessment of the history of ancient historiography as well as a deeper understanding of such authors as Thucydides, Tacitus and Augustine. While much recent work has focused on how ancient historians use emplotment to generate historical meaning, Experience and Teleology in Ancient Historiography offers a new approach to narrative form as a mode of coming to grips with time.

Jonas Grethlein holds the Chair in Greek Literature at Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. His recent publications include The Greeks and their Past: Poetry, Oratory and History in the Fifth Century BCE (2010) and, co-edited with Christopher B. Krebs, Time and Narrative in Ancient Historiography: The 'Plupast' from Herodotus to Appian (2012).

Table of Contents

Introduction: futures past: historiography between experience and teleology 
Part I. Experience: Making the Past Present:
1. Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War
2. Xenophon, Anabasis
3. Plutarch, Alexander
4. Tacitus, Annals
Part II. Teleology: The Power of Retrospect:
5. Herodotus, Histories
6. Polybius, Histories
7. Sallust, Bellum Catilinae
Part III. Beyond Experience and Teleology:
8. Augustine, Confessions
Epilogue: experience in modern historiography.


Source : Cambridge University Press


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