Authorship and Cultural Identity in Early Greece and China: by Dr Alexander Beecroft

By Dr Alexander Beecroft

During this publication, Alexander Beecroft explores how the earliest poetry in Greece (Homeric epic and lyric) and China (the Canon of Songs) advanced from being neighborhood, oral, and nameless to being textualized, interpreted, and circulated over more and more wider components. Beecroft re-examines representations of authorship as present in poetic biographies akin to Lives of Homer and the Zuozhuan, and within the works of alternative philosophical and historic authors like Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, Confucius, and Sima Qian. lots of those anecdotes and narratives have lengthy been rejected as spurious or influenced via naïve biographical feedback. Beecroft argues that those texts successfully negotiated the tensions among neighborhood and pan-cultural audiences. The determine of the writer therefore served as a catalyst to a feeling of shared cultural identification in either the Greek and chinese language worlds. It additionally facilitated the emergence of either cultures because the bases for cosmopolitan global orders.

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Even if Aristotle is not actively invested in undermining the traditional understanding of the mimetic relationship between myth and ritual, his tacit disinterest in the terms of that relationship have the effect of perpetuating Plato’s own much more aggressive position, and of transforming forever the meaning of mimˆesis – and thus, in no small way, the history of Western poetics. Our contemporary understanding of mimˆesis, then, and of the entire “problem of representation,” derives to some extent from Plato’s clever misreading of the traditional conceptual vocabulary of the poetics of myth and ritual.

All datings must however, in my view, remain conjectural; as I note throughout, recent discoveries continually alter our understanding of the chronology of early Chinese texts. 24 Authorship and Cultural Identity in Early Greece and China Music), or encodes behavioral practice in textual form (the Rites and the Changes). 40 When citing Greek texts, I have generally used the texts available in the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, for ease of use. Where I have consulted particular critical editions or commentaries those are noted in the body of the text; for example, I use Martin West’s Loeb edition for the Lives of Homer because this is the only text of those materials that includes an English translation for the nonspecialist.

Page numbers are only offered for citations from the commentary on the Songs when the commentary is discussed separately from the poem itself, because the main commentary entry will always immediately follow the Song title. Quotations from the Zuozhuan are cited by duke and year as well as by page number. Editions of other Chinese texts are identified as necessary. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own. In transliterating from Greek, I have generally used the more familiar Latinate forms for proper names (Aeschylus for Aiskhulos), although preferring more direct transliterations for lexical items left untranslated (psukhˆe rather than psyche), in the hopes that the former will be more accessible, and the latter will usefully defamiliarize Greek words whose 40 41 Nylan (2001) offers an excellent and highly readable introduction to the Confucian classics.

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