n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Aulus Gellius and Roman Reading Culture: Text, Presence, and Imperial Knowledge in the Noctes Atticae, J.A. Howley - book review

Volume 62 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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When Leofranc Holford-Strevens’s Aulus Gellius appeared in late 1988 (Duckworth; republished by Oxford University Press in 2004 as Aulus Gellius: An Antonine Scholar and His Achievement), it was the first comprehensive study of this author in English. Composed with wide-ranging erudition in a relentlessly compressed style, it left one in doubt whether another ‘definitive’ book on Gellius would ever be written. As it happened, however, Holford-Strevens initiated a many-sided re-appraisal of the Noctes Atticae (hereafter, NA) and its somewhat elusive author. Thirty years later, we may welcome another seminal contribution to Gellian scholarship, which grapples with its central problem: ‘What kind of a thing is the NA’ (p. 4), at least in the mind of its author? Joseph Howley suggests that the key to Gellius is to read him as a reader who can teach us about reading.

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