Nox Philologiae: Aulus Gellius and the Fantasy of the Roman Library

Hardcover | December 8, 2008

byErik Gunderson

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In this strikingly original and playful work, Erik Gunderson examines questions of reading the past—an enterprise extending from antiquity to the present day. This esoteric and original study focuses on the equally singular work of Aulus Gellius—a Roman author and grammarian (ca. 120-180 A.D.), possibly of African origin. Gellius’s only work, the twenty-volume Noctes Atticae,is an exploding, sometimes seemingly random text-cum-diary in which Gellius jotted down everything of interest he heard in conversation or read in contemporary books. Comprising notes on Roman and classical grammar, geometry, philosophy, and history, it is a one-work overview of Latin scholarship, thought, and intellectual culture, a combination condensed library and cabinet of curiosities.
            Gunderson tackles Gellius with exuberance, placing him in the larger culture of antiquarian literature. Purposely echoing Gellius’s own swooping word-play and digressions, he explores the techniques by which knowledge was produced and consumed in Gellius’s day, as well as in our own time. The resulting book is as much pure creative fun as it is a major work of scholarship informed by the theories of Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Jacques Derrida.

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From the Publisher

In this strikingly original and playful work, Erik Gunderson examines questions of reading the past—an enterprise extending from antiquity to the present day. This esoteric and original study focuses on the equally singular work of Aulus Gellius—a Roman author and grammarian (ca. 120-180 A.D.), possibly of African origin. Gellius’s onl...

Erik Gunderson is associate professor of classics at the University of Toronto. His other books include Declamation, Paternity and Roman Identity: Authority and the Rhetorical Self and Staging Masculinity: The Rhetoric of Performance in the Roman World.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:344 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.2 inPublished:December 8, 2008Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:029922970X

ISBN - 13:9780299229702

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Read from the Book

“As a practice antiquarianism concerns itself with symbols of violence as well as symbolic violence. . . . The process entails the mastery of others as well as the mastery of the self. Preliminary to either conquest, though, one masters the contents of books. This ?rst success empowers the scholar to challenge all competitors.”—excerpt from Nox Philologiae

Table of Contents

Contents
 
Editor's Preface                       
Original Title Page                   
The Author's Preface: Verfremdungseffekt                 
The Other Preface: Again and Again                
The Third Preface: Gellius's Preface                 
Table of Contents                    
 
Volume One
            Book One: Authority               
            Book Two: Logic                    
            Book Three: Usage                  
            Book Four: Index of Names                
            Book Five: Index of Things                  
 
Volume Two
            Book Six: Books of Books                  
            Book Seven: Authors of the Author                  
            Book Eight: Readers of Readings                     
 
            Appendix: It Was to Be/It Is to Be                   
            Unplaced Fragments                
            Spurious Fragments                 
            Notes              
            Bibliography                
 

Editorial Reviews

“A sustained jeu d’ ésprit of rare verve and panache. It is also perhaps the deepest and most perceptive assault on the complex world of Aulus Gellius’s Noctes Atticae in modern scholarship: by turns playful, conversational, difficult, discursive, penetrating.”—Jas’ Elsner, University of Oxford