KINESIS: THE ANCIENT DEPICTION OF GESTURE, MOTION, AND EMOTION

Ed. by Christina A. Clark, Edith Foster, and Judith P. Hallett

Michigan (2015) h/b 323pp £75.50 (ISBN 9780472119592)

This volume is a Festschrift of papers written in honour of the ‘inspiring scholarship and generous friendship’ of Donald Lateiner, author of The Sardonic Smile, who taught and researched a wide range of Classical subjects during, and since, his thirty-four year career at Ohio Wesleyan University. It begins with a biography of L. by Judith Hallett and ends with a bibliography of his published works to date. The body of the book falls into two halves, arranged according to the main thrusts of L.’s versatile output: Ancient Greek historiography, emotion and nonverbal behaviour.

The first half includes essays on Thucydides’ use of the word kinêsis; the physical world as a ‘sender of signs’ through natural events and disasters; Thucydides’ use of the historical present tense in Book 8; the emotional bases on which political actors like Croesus or the Athenians take important decisions; a comparison between the silent characters of Herodotos and Sophocles; herald murder in Herodotus and Thucydides; Gorgianic figures in Thucydides’ speeches of Hermocrates; and Polybius’ castigation of the historians Phylarchus and Timaeus as ‘ignoble and womanish’.

The second half explores non-verbal behaviour such as blushes, pallor and tears in ancient literary texts and includes essays on Lucan’s treatment of Pompey’s death; the confrontation between Phaedra and Hippolytus in Seneca’s Phaedra; the representation of animal emotion in Aelian and Pliny the Elder; the comic but sympathetic depiction of the life of hetairai in Lucian’s Dialogues of the Courtesans; the key concepts of love and resistance, art and movement, and the theme of duality and doubling in Ovid’s Apollo and Daphne episode in Metamorphoses 1; the meaning behind the repetitive verbal behaviour recorded by Homeric poets; the similarities in the presentation of shipwreck stories in Homer’s Odyssey and J. M. Coetzee’s Fox; the network of relationships between Aristophanes’ Clouds and Plato’s Symposium; depictions of Hephaestus in black figure vase scenes of the Birth of Athena; and the creative adjustments made to significant objects like papyrus, pepper and cheese in the Alexander Romance throughout the 4th-17th centuries.

The volume is very diverse, in authorship, subject matter and time span. Because of its highly specialist nature, it is aimed chiefly at scholars of Greek and Roman society and literature, as well as of classical reception, although all passages have been translated so that it is accessible to advanced undergraduates. It would be a more suitable purchase for a university rather than a school library.

Claire Gruzelier—King Edward VI High School for Girls, Birmingham

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s