Cover: Author Unknown: The Power of Anonymity in Ancient Rome, from Harvard University PressCover: Author Unknown in HARDCOVER

Author Unknown

The Power of Anonymity in Ancient Rome

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$45.00 • £36.95 • €40.50

ISBN 9780674988200

Publication Date: 09/17/2019

Text

376 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

World

An exploration of the darker corners of ancient Rome to spotlight the strange sorcery of anonymous literature.

From Banksy to Elena Ferrante to the unattributed parchments of ancient Rome, art without clear authorship fascinates and even offends us. Classical scholarship tends to treat this anonymity as a problem or game—a defect to be repaired or mystery to be solved. Author Unknown is the first book to consider anonymity as a site of literary interest rather than a gap that needs filling. We can tether each work to an identity, or we can stand back and ask how the absence of a name affects the meaning and experience of literature.

Tom Geue turns to antiquity to show what the suppression or loss of a name can do for literature. Anonymity supported the illusion of Augustus’s sprawling puppet mastery (Res Gestae), controlled and destroyed the victims of a curse (Ovid’s Ibis), and created out of whole cloth a poetic persona and career (Phaedrus’s Fables). To assume these texts are missing something is to dismiss a source of their power and presume that ancient authors were as hungry for fame as today’s.

In this original look at Latin literature, Geue asks us to work with anonymity rather than against it and to appreciate the continuing power of anonymity in our own time.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Book jacket: Vera Rubin: A Life, by Jacqueline Mitton and Simon Mitton, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with Jacqueline Mitton, coauthor of Vera Rubin: A Life

While astronomer Vera Rubin made significant contributions to our understanding of dark matter and championed the advancement of women in science, she is not that well known outside of the scientific community. HUP Executive Editor for Science, Janice Audet, spoke with Jacqueline Mitton, coauthor of Vera Rubin: A Life, about Rubin’s remarkable life and work and the writing of the book