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

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Product Details


$48.00 • £38.95 • €43.00

ISBN 9780674988200

Publication Date: 09/17/2019


376 pages

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


Geue homes in on the many post-Augustan texts that rail against traditional modes of self-memorialization, and turn towards anonymity not just as a survival strategy and tool for political satire under autocracy, but also as a creative experiment in deliberate decontextualization, and a means of exploring class power, authority and the status of knowledge… [A] provocative book.—Victoria Rimell, The Times Literary Supplement

Geue mounts a powerful and meticulous case for a poetics of the unknown, setting up not just a new agenda for ancient texts, but an updated ethics for literary history itself.—Irene Peirano, author of The Rhetoric of the Roman Fake

What is a text without context? Can we separate the art from the artist? How does the signature of an artist shape the ways in which we hate, love, or even forget an object? This innovative and sophisticated book engages with an array of imperial Roman works—from graffiti art to epic poetry—and asks us to embrace literary anonymity, in antiquity and in our own time. With disarming directness, Geue has challenged us to rethink our urge to uncover the ‘real’ author of ancient texts.—Sarah E. Bond, author of Trade and Taboo: Disreputable Professionals in the Roman Mediterranean

In this engaging book, Geue inventively repositions uncertain authorship as a feature that adds, rather than detracts, from the richness of ancient texts. You may not immediately notice how thoroughly he subverts some of the most basic assumptions about the centrality of historical context in Classical Studies.—Donna Zuckerberg, author of Not All Dead White Men

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