Variety: The Life Of A Roman Concept by William Fitzgerald

Variety: The Life Of A Roman Concept

byWilliam Fitzgerald

Hardcover | March 8, 2016

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The idea of variety may seem too diffuse, obvious, or nebulous to be worth scrutinizing, but modern usage masks the rich history of the term. This book examines the meaning, value, and practice of variety from the vantage point of Latin literature and its reception and reveals the enduring importance of the concept up to the present day.

William Fitzgerald looks at the definition and use of the Latin term varietas and how it has played out in different works and with different authors. He shows that, starting with the Romans, variety has played a key role in our thinking about nature, rhetoric, creativity, pleasure, aesthetics, and empire. From the lyric to elegy and satire, the concept of variety has helped to characterize and distinguish different genres. Arguing that the ancient Roman ideas and controversies about the value of variety have had a significant afterlife up to our own time, Fitzgerald reveals how modern understandings of diversity and choice derive from what is ultimately an ancient concept.

About The Author

William Fitzgerald is professor of Latin language and literature at King’s College London. He is the author of several books, including Martial: The World of the Epigram, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
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Details & Specs

Title:Variety: The Life Of A Roman ConceptFormat:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:March 8, 2016Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022629949X

ISBN - 13:9780226299495

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"By tackling such an apparently amorphous idea as 'variety', Fitzgerald ran the risk of writing a lot about nothing. Instead, he has written a lot about something, a something that - like a clue in a Sherlock Holmes mystery - has been lying in plain sight. Once the master sleuth perceives the clue, a mystery is unlocked. I therefore recommend this book to linguists, classicists and those who enjoy a good mystery."